William & Mary | Earl Gregg Swem Library Special Collections Database


William Taylor Correspondence, 1862-1864

William Taylor Correspondence, 1862-1864
Mss. Acc. 1992.18
0.6 Cubic Feet
Scope and Contents

Letters, September 1862 through October 1864, from Captain William Taylor, a soldier in the Pennsylvania Regiment during the American Civil War. The letters were written from camps in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, and Maryland to his wife Jane McKnight Taylor. Included are his descriptions of the Battle of Fredericksburg, the shelling of Vicksburg, the fighting, retreat, and siege outside of Knoxville, the siege of Petersburg, and the Petersburg mine explosion and assault.

Ralph G. Poriss transcribed the letters prior to 1997. According to the processor of the collection, there are small errors in the transcriptions and users should verify items of crucial evidence against the original letters. Further information from the transcriber is available in the finding aid/inventory linked below. The transcriptions are available online with links to PDF versions (below) and Taylor's letters are arranged on a map available at:


A note included with the collection of letters from Taylor's nephew notes that these letters were written to Jane Morrison Taylor, William's wife. In another place, her maiden name is denoted as McKnight. The note also states that John Wallace Morrison started a book from these letters, but never finished it.

Taylor often numbered his letters in order to keep track of them. Number 114 (Box 3, Folder 4, letter 142) is dated March 22, 1864, but probably dates from April 22, 1864. Had this letter been written on March 22, it logically would have been numbered No. 109. Taylor also dated several letters 1865, but their context and content indicate that they were written in 1864.

Additionally, in a letter written on July 4, 1864 (Box 3, Folder 5, letter 147), Taylor indicates that he is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. However, he also states that his position has not changed since his last letter (Box 3, Folder 5, letter 146), which was written in Petersburg, Virginia.

Unfortunately at the present time, user-contributed information or description cannot be accepted via this database. Any users wishing to share further description, subject headings, or other information about the individual letters transcribed from the William Taylor Correspondence should contact the Special Collections Research Center at spcoll@wm.edu. This information may then be added to the database and available to the public in the future.

On-line Images/Records
View associated digital content.
Other URL
William Taylor (1826-1890)
Fredericksburg (Va.), Battle of, 1862
Siege of Petersburg, Va. (Richmond-Petersburg Campaign), 1864-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Detailed Description

Full Finding Aid/Box List

Administrative Information

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.
Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.
Acquisition Note
Other Formats
Users are required to use the transcriptions for most research needs. Consult a staff member for details.
Related Materials

The transcriptions of Taylor's letters arranged on a map are also available online.

Floppy disks from this collection have been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

For more information please see http://www.communitywalk.com/william_taylors_civil_war_correspondence/william_taylors_civil_war_correspondence/map/436410.
Related Publications
John C. Harper, "Uncommon Devotion: The Character of One Union Soldier," Honors Thesis, College of William & Mary, 1993. Call number: Archives LD6051 W5m Hist 1993 H37
Preferred Citation
William Taylor Correspondence, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
Collection Material Type:
Other Note
A PDF document of this inventory is available online.
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