New York State Library
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Alfred Neafie
Papers, 1852-1947


Quantity: 9 boxes (3.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift of Anne Gay Hartman, West Simsbury, Connecticut, 29 April 2005
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, May 2006

View catalog record

Biographical Note:

Alfred Neafie was born in Walden, New York, on 8 January 1832, the fourth child of Cornelius and Rhoda Lynn Neafie. The Neafie family later removed to Ellenville, New York, to establish a cotton mill.  At the age of 19, Alfred Neafie made a well-documented journey from New York around South America's Cape Horn to California where he spent a two years prospecting for gold.  Returning home in 1854, he remained in Ellenville until the out break of the Civil War. He helped raise a militia comprised mostly of troops from Ulster County, New York, that was later organized in the Union Army as the 156th New York Regiment of Infantry. This regiment, known as the Mountain Legion, was involved in campaigns and battles at Port Hudson, Louisiana, Fisher's Hill, Winchester, and Cedar Creek, Virginia. Towards the end of the war and shortly thereafter, Neafie served as chief of Major General Couvier Grover's staff at Savannah, Georgia. During this time, he received, on behalf of General Grover, the surrender of Jefferson Davis. Neafie mustered in as a captain, was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and later was brevetted to colonel, and then brigadier general. After mustering out of service Neafie returned to Ellenville to work in the glass factory which was operated by his father-in-law, A. B. Preston.  During the 1870s, Neafie was part of a group of investors that reorganized the Ulster Knife Company. In 1879, he moved to Goshen, New York, where he conducted a successful real estate and insurance business. Neafie died in 1917.  He was married to Anne Preston, who bore three daughters, Jessie, Alice, and Ethel.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of Alfred Neafie consist chiefly of materials related to his military service during the Civil War and his post-war endeavors to chronicle the history of the 156th New York Infantry Regiment. Included are many letters addressed his wife, Anne Preston Neafie, that provide details of his activities and experiences in the war. Of particular interest are the letter containing a  detailed account and a sketch map of the siege of Port Hudson in July 1863 and the letters and supporting documents related to his work as part of a military commission asked to provide information concerning a man on trial who was offered a million dollars to kill Lincoln. Neafie's papers relative to the history of the 156th Regiment include a chronology of battles and skirmishes, notes and writings on the regimental flag and song, and a printed story on the Battle of Cedar Creek.

These papers also include Neafie's detailed diary of his voyage from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn in the spring and summer of 1852, and in letters sent to his family discussing his subsequent adventures in California prospecting for gold. Neafie's post-war business ventures are documented, too, particularly his involvement with the Ellenville Glass Works and the Ulster Knife Company.     

Provenance Note:

This gift of papers related to the life and career of Alfred Neafie also included several three-dimensional artifacts that were transferred to the New York State Museum.  Also, broadsides and other printed materials found in these papers were removed and catalogued separately as part of the library's holdings.  Complete information regarding materials separated from the papers as well as the custodial history of the collection is found in the accession file.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
    Civil War Letters, 1862-1865
1 1 September-December 1862 (includes letters related to a dress sword)
1 2 January 1863
1 3 February 1863
1 4 March-May 1863
1 5 June 1863
1 6 July 1863 re: Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana
1 7 July-August 1863
1 8 September-December 1863
2 1 January-March 1864
2 2 April-June 1864
2 3 July-August 1864
2 4 September-October 1864
2 5 November-December 1864
2 6 January-March 1865
2 7 April-May 1865
2 8 June-August 1865
2 9 September-December 1865
    Civil War Papers, 1862-1865
3 1 Military service and pension records, 1864-1885
3 2 Letters of recommendation on behalf of Alfred Neafie for promotion in rank by brevet and related correspondence, 1865-1869
3 3 Letters and notes relative to the post at  Savannah, 1865
3 4 Letters relative to Civil War veterans' reunions, 1880-1889
3 5 Piece of the 156th New York Infantry Regiment Flag carried  in several battles, 1863-1865; invoice from Tiffany & Company for the regimental flag, March 2, 1865, and other papers related to the regimental flag, 1864-1865 (See also Box 4, Folder 3: History of the Regimental Flag)
3 6 Orders, reports, etc. of 156th New York Infantry Regiment, 1864-1865
3 7 Accounts, vouchers, etc. of  156th New York Infantry Regiment, 1863
3 8 Roster, 156th New York Infantry Regiment, 1862-1865 (printed)
3 9 Reports, etc. Casualties of  the 156th New York Infantry Regiment, 1862-1865
3 10 Reports, etc. Casualties of  the 156th New York Infantry Regiment, 1862-1865
3 11 Report: Battle at Fort Bisland, Louisiana, 1863
3 12 Papers related to the Battle of Fisher's Hill, Virginia, 1864
    Civil War: History of the 156th New York Regiment of Infantry, 1880-1914
4 1 Chronology of the battles and skirmishes, manuscript, ca.1880
4 2 Chronology of the battles and skirmishes, typescripts, ca.1911
4 3 History of the Regimental Flag, 1908
4 4 Papers relative to displaying the regimental flag "colors" at the ceremony for 250th Anniversary of the founding of Kingston,  30 May 1908
4 5 "Some Personal Recollections" and other writings of Neafie, 1908-1913
4 6 Papers relative to celebration commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek, 19th October 1914, printed materials, ca.1911-1914
4 7 Letters relative to history of the Battle of Cedar Creek, 1911-1914
4 8 Letters and papers of Charles Kennedy, former officer of 156th N.Y.S.V., 1914
4 9 Favorite songs of the 156th N.Y.S.V., newspaper clippings and notes, ca.1915
5 1 Letters relative to veterans' affairs, 1890-1900
5 2 Letters from E.J. Bailey, 1893
5 3 Letters from Benson J. Benson, 1888
5 4 Recollections and commentary relative to the Confederacy and surrender of Jefferson Davis, 1911
5 5 Newspaper clippings: dedication of the 156th Regiment Battle Monument, 1908, Highland, N.Y.
5 6 Newspaper clippings: history of 156th N.Y.S.V., ca.1868-1912
5 7 Newspaper clippings: history of the Battle of Cedar Creek, 1886-1890
5 8 Newspaper clippings: Port Hudson Campaign, 1863-1912
5 9 Newspaper clippings: veterans reunions, monuments, etc., ca.1880-ca.1916
5 10 Newspaper clippings: miscellaneous, ca.1865-ca.1890
5 11 Patriotic songs and poems, papers, ca.1914-1916
    Personal and Business Papers, 1852-1874
6 1 Diary of  a voyage to California via Rio de Janeiro, Cape Horn, and Palcahuano, leaving New York, 2 March 1852, arriving San Francisco, 11 August 1852 (original manuscript and transcription)
6 2 Letters and papers relative to business ventures in California, 1852-1858; includes commercial receipts from Wells, Fargo, & Company documenting his gold findings and related expenses
6 3 Letter of A.B. Preston to Alfred Neafie relative to the reorganization of the Ellenville Glass Company, June 11, 1865.
6 4 Deeds, etc. relative to Ellenville Glass Company, 1865-1870
6 5 Ulster Knife Works: canceled checks of Home National Bank, Ellenville, 1873-1874
6 6 Ulster Knife Works: canceled checks of First National Bank, Ellenville, 1873-1874
6 7 Ulster Knife Works: canceled checks from various banks, 1873-1874
    Family Papers, 1865-1920
7 1 Anne Preston Neafie letters, January-March 1865
7 2 Anne Preston Neafie letters, April-June 1865
7 3 Anne Preston Neafie letters, July-December 1865
7 4 Family letters, 1865-1871
7 5 Family letters, 1891-1895
7 6 Family letters, 1914-1917
7 7 Letter of  A.B. and C.S. Preston relative to a Bible presented to Anne Preston Neafie, 1885 (the Bible was not retained with the papers)
7 8 Genealogy and family history, notes, etc. ca.1870-ca.1920
7 9 Genealogy and family history, notes, etc. ca.1870-ca.1920
7 10 Obituaries of Alfred Neafie, 1917
7 11 Writings and articles relative to the history of the Ellenville Glass Works, ca.1936-1947
8 1 Alfred Neafie (3 items)
8 2 Anne Preston Neafie (3 items)
8 3 Jessie, Alice, and Ethel Neafie (3 items)
8 4 Jessie Neafie Straight (3 items)
8 5 Jessie Neafie Straight (2 items)
8 6 Neafie Family (8 items)
8 7 Alice Neafie (1 item) and [Neafie Family?] (1 item)
8 8 Portraits of Alfred Neafie and Anna Preston Neafie (Photograph of original wall portraits)
    Photographs (Glass) and Artifacts
9 1 Alfred Neafie
9 2 Anne Preston Neafie
9 3 Ribbon: 156th New York Volunteers
    Commissions and Certificates (extra-large documents)
EL 1 Colonel by Brevet, United States Army, 1865
EL 1 Colonel, New York Militia, 1867
EL 1 Officer (Brvt. Brig. General/Lieut. Colonel) in the Society of the Army and Navy of the Gulf, n.d.
EL 2 The Southern Sentinel (Alexandria, La.): issues dated June 13, August 1, and August 22, 1863 (wallpaper newspapers:  issues printed on obverse of wallpaper samples of different patterns)
Last Updated: February 24, 2022