13 January 2013

New Series: Palmer B. Holdridge Civil War Letters

Palmer B. Holdridge's letters from the Civil War, written home to his wife, are a significant historic source. My interest was peaked because he is my 3x great grand uncle, and died in the war.

My plan is to post one letter at a time until I have transcribed and posted my complete photocopy. This source, to my knowledge, is not available anywhere online. Copyright status is unknown, but permission was acquired according to the policy of the repository.

The following is a good introduction to Palmer B. Holdridge, taken from: William L. Clements Library - Manuscripts Division, University of Michigan, Finding aid for Palmer B. Holdridge Letterbook, 1862.

Biography
Holdridge, Palmer B., ca. 1838-1862
Rank : Private
Regiment : 114th New York Infantry Regiment. Co. D (1862-1865)
Service : 1862 August-1862 December 16
Palmer Holdridge was the adopted son of Levi Keith of Nelson, N.Y., and a volunteer in Company D of the 114th New York Infantry. Leaving his wife, Kate, and infant son Freddie in Nelson, Holdridge accompanied the 114th Regiment to Baltimore in September, 1862, where they were stationed on guard duty. Baltimore, still bearing the scars of the 1861 riots, was relatively quiet during the fall, and while Union flags were in evidence throughout the city, anti-Union activity was common, including the poisoning of soldiers and the theft of Union provisions. At the end of October, the 114th were attached to Banks' Louisiana forces, and were shipped, after innumerable delays, from Fortress Monroe to Ship Island, La. Holdridge died of diarrhea at Ship Island on December 2nd, 1862. His younger brother, Hira, a soldier in the 9th Iowa Infantry, also died in the "iron grasp" of disease.
From their arrival in camp, and through their duty at Baltimore and the trip to Ship Island, the 114th Regiment were afflicted with diarhhea, measels, and diptheria, and saw more than their share of mishaps. Almost as soon as they arrived in camp as recruits, nearly every member of the regiment was stricken with diarrhea, and one older recruit, a veteran of the Mexican War, collapsed on the parade ground from its effects. Alcohol was also rife in camp; one recruit was thrown from a window while drunk, while another was struck with a stone and nearly killed. Once under way, however, the regiment experienced only slight problems with discipline, including a man caught sleeping on guard duty (he was pardoned, rather than executed), and two who were caught attempting to desert. The regiment performed well in its duty in Louisiana and in Virginia during the closing stages of the war.
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DISCLAIMER FROM AUTHORIZED PHOTOCOPY:
    PHOTOCOPIED FROM ORIGINAL IN WILLIAM L. CLEMENTS
    LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, PERMISSION OF
    LIBRARY DIRECTOR REQUIRED FOR REPRODUCTION, USE, OR
    PUBLICATION. DEPOSIT OF THIS COPY IN OTHER
    INSTITUTIONS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
DISCLAIMER FOR TRANSCRIPT:
This copy originally authorized to be kept in “family genealogy holdings”
as per permission from Janet Bloom, Research Specialist
William L. Clements Library - 19 February 2009.
In August 2011 permission to publish "a typed transcript... to my publicly accessible ... family tree websites" and "Provide copies of my photocopy to any interested relatives" was granted.

PHOTOCOPY ACQUIRED, TRANSCRIBED, AND SHARED WITH PERMISSION.
COPYING OF TRANSCRIPT REQUIRES PERMISSION OF TYPIST,
MICHAEL W. MCCORMICK, AND MUST FALL WITHIN NON-COMMERCIAL
FAMILY HISTORY PURPOSES. OTHERWISE CONTACT THE ORIGINAL REPOSITORY.

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