Alexander Beveridge
Papers, 1862

SC22957

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase: Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts & Archives, August 2006
Processed By: Sharon Wolff, Student Assistant (University at Albany), Manuscripts and Special Collections, July 2014

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Biographical Note:

Alexander Beveridge Jr. (ca. 1831-1862) was the son of Alexander (1793-1874) and Sarah (McClellan) Beveridge (1794-1888) of Hebron, Washington County, New York.  He had four siblings:  Nancy, Mary Ann, John, and Robert. In August 1862 he mustered into military service as a private in Company E of the 123rd New York State Volunteers. He never saw action, traveling with his company until December 18, 1862, when he died of pneumonia in a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.

Scope and Content Note:

This series of letters, sent from Alexander to his sister Nancy, detail his experiences while marching from New York to Virginia. The first item is a note on a sealed envelope in which he tells his sister that the envelope contains “directions concerning a few of my things, which I have given in case I should be taken away by death before I return to my home. Unless I am taken away, perhaps it would be as well not [underscoring his] to open it.” The item enclosed in that envelope was dated August 23, 1862.

His letter of September 17 mentions he is including his “likeness” but he notes he “could not get it taken standing as I wished” and that it cost him “50 cents.” Unfortunately, the original “likeness” is not with the letter, a color photocopy of the original is in the folder. His letter of September 23 contains a hand-drawn map of the layout of his camp. The collection includes two letters from a fellow soldier, William Whitlock, and another from Ed. E. Reynolds, to Alexander’s parents detailing his sickness and death. Also included is a photograph of a woman, presumably his sister, Nancy Beveridge.

Each folder contains the original letter along with a complete typewritten transcript.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1 Letter, Salem, [N.Y.], August 23, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He encloses instructions regarding his estate should he be killed in battle.
1 2 Letter, Philadelphia, [Pa.], September 8, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He details his arrival at Philadelphia and his disapproval of some of his comrades’ drinking habits. He ends by giving the next expected destination: Washington.
1 3 Letter, Washington, [D.C.], September 9, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He tells of his departure from New York and his travels to his current location. He concludes the letter on the next day, discussing the camp situation and a battery testing range nearby.
1 4 Letter, Arlington Heights, [Va.], September 17, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He talks of his company’s movements and current equipment situation, of the photograph he is enclosing, of the capture of a rebel spy, and of a meeting with an escaped slave. [The original photograph is not with this letter; only a blurry, blown-up color photocopy of the original is in this folder.]
1 5 Letter, Arlington Heights, [Va.], September 23, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He details his activities since his last letter, describes the artillery stored at the camp, tells of his visit to a nearby fort and his encounters with other soldiers who have seen action. On the back of one of the pages of the letter is a drawing he made of the layout of his camp.
1 6 Letter, Frederick City, [Va.], October 1, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He initially discusses drilling; continuing the letter the next day, he writes about the company’s move from Arlington Heights. He concludes the letter on October 3, saying that his company has arrived at Sandy Hook.
1 7 Letter, Sandy Hook, [Va.], October 8, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He writes about drilling, inspections, and reviews that have been occupying him since his last letter; he also relays some battlefield stories and rumors.
1 8 Letter, Sandy Hook, [Va.], October 17, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He writes about guard duty and some recent fighting in his area. He mentions the eventual arrival of the company’s knapsacks, and concludes the letter the next day, writing about a recent battle near his camp.
1 9 Letter, Maryland Heights, [Va.], October 29, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He writes about guard duty, traveling, and drilling. He continues the letter the next day, writing about more marching and describing some events along the way. He finishes the letter on October 31, speculating as to what their purpose in moving is.
1 10 Letter, London Valley. [Va.], November 4, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He writes about the irregular travel times with the company; continuing the letter on November 10, he asks for a pair of mittens with one finger and a pair of boots, for use during the cold months ahead.
1 11 Letter, London Valley, [Va.], November 25, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He writes about the recent cold weather and his activities since his last letter; continuing the letter on November 27, he writes about the holiday and drilling, and describes heating for the officers. He also requests butter, if food is sent to him.
1 12 Letter, London Valley, [Va.], December 3, 1862. To Nancy from Alexander. He again requests butter, suggesting casing it in cans, and writes that he has received his boots and a blanket liner, both of which are satisfactory.
1 13 Letter, Alexandria, [Va.], December 16, 1862. To Mr. Beveridge from William Whitlock. Whitlock writes that Alexander has fallen ill and he asks that the family come down to see Alexander as he anticipates having to leave him to meet with his regiment.
1 14 Letter, Alexandria, [Va.], December 18, 1862. To Mr. and Mrs. Beveridge from Ed. E. Reynolds. Reynolds writes of Alexander’s death, stating time and cause of death and expected burial plans.
1 15 Letter, Fairfax Station, [Va.], December 22, 1862. To Mr. Beveridge from William Whitlock. Whitlock sends his condolences over Alexander’s death and details his last few days with him, covering his illness and passing.
1 16 Portrait of [Nancy Beveridge?]. 1 carte-de-visite.  (Knowlton & McGregor, Photographers, 255-357 Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Last Updated: November 28, 2014