Campbell family papers, 1860-1886


Encoded Archival Description

Biography or History: The five siblings of the Campbell family immigrated to the United States from Scotland in the early 1850s. Alexander Campbell put down roots in New York, while his brother James moved to South Carolina. Both joined military units in their respective states at the outbreak of the Civil War, with Alexander joining the 79th New York and James joining the Union Light Infantry of Charleston. In March 1862, James joined the first South Carolina Battlation (the "Charleston" Battalion). Eventually, the brothers unknowingly fought each other on opposing sides during the Battle of Secessionville on June 16, 1862. Alexander continued to serve with Union forces until resigned his commission in April 1863, partly due to the poor healing of a wound he received in the Battle of Chantilly. James was captured during the First Battle of Fort Wagner on July 11, 1863; he spent the balance of the war in Union prisoner-of-war camps.

Custodial History: Donated to the repository free of restrictions in 1961 by Mrs. Mary Turner of Tryon, North Carolina.

Acquisition Information: Turner, Mary

Scope and Content: This series consists of original correspondence between Alexander and James Campbell, mainly during the Civil War. The bulk of the letters are Alexander writing to his wife Jane about his brother, his children, combat and camp life. Letters from James to Alexander primarily begin in 1863 when he was captured and imprisoned. There is little discussion of his time in combat, likely because of censoring of prisoners' correspondence by Union officials. There is one letter from September 1860 in which James discusses the upcoming presidential election, and a handful of correspondence after the war. Included in the series are transcriptions of some correspondence by J. Tracy Power. Letters primarily dealing with family matters were not transcribed, only those pertaining to politics or the war. There are also two photographs of James Campbell, one during the war in Confederate uniform, and one in the 1870s when he owned a headstone carving business.

Appraisal Information: unspecified

Accruals: no

Arrangement: Series arranged by date of correspondence.

Conditions Governing Access: none

Conditions Governing Use: none

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: none

Other Finding Aid: This series is briefly described in "Guide to Civil War Records" by Patrick McCawley, published by the repository. The series also contains a partial chronological list of the Civil War-era letters that also specifies the author and recipient of each letter. An index to the correspondence is also available through SCERA at: http://e-archives.sc.gov/file/sdb%3AdigitalFile%7Cb0c319b8-ef0f-4984-b7f6-2fe1f3d9958b/.

Location of Originals: South Carolina Dept. of Archives and History, 8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC 29223

Alternative Form Available: The letters in this series have been published in Terry A. Johnston, Jr., editor, "Him on the One Side and Me on the Other"" The Civil War Letters of Alexander Campbell, 79th New York Infantry Regiment, and James Campbell, 1st South Carolina Battalion (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998).

Related Material: none

Bibliography: none

Other Descriptive Data: This series provides the principal source for J. Tracy Power, "'Brother against Brother': Alexander and James Campbell's Civil War," South Carolina Historical Magazine 95 (1994): 130-41.

Processing Information: None


Encoded Archival Description - Identification

Unit Title: Campbell family papers, 1860-1886

Accumulation: 1860-09-28T12:00:00.000Z

Created: 1886-10-20T12:00:00.000Z

Creator: Campbell, Alexander

Creator: Campbell, James

Physical Description: 0.66 cubic ft. (1 off)

Language: English


Encoded Archival Description - Header

Identifier: P900150

Title Proper of the Finding Aid: Campbell family papers, 1860-1886

Creation Date: 2016

Descriptive Rules: DACS


Campbell family papers, 1860-1886

Object Type: Collection

In Collection: Private Records

Campbell family papers, 1860-1886
Campbell family papers, 1860-1886