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COLLINGWOOD, JOSEPH W. (1822-1862) PAPERS 1784-1904
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Collingwood, Joseph W. Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1784-1904
    Creator: Collingwood, Joseph W., (1822-1862)
    Extent: 333 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    Collingwood, Joseph W. Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was donated to the Library by William C. Johnston in 1994.
    The collection numbers 333 pieces of letters and manuscripts. It has been fully cataloged and available for research.

    Biographical Note

    Joseph W. Collingwood, second son of William and Eleanor Harlow Collingwood, was born in 1822 in Nantucket, Mass. Shortly afterwards the family moved to Plymouth. In 1840-1850's, Joseph W. Collingwood owned a fish market and occasionally went out with a fishing fleet to New Foundland. In Sept. 1848, he became engaged to Rebecca W. Richardson, a teacher of the Boston Female Asylum. A short marriage notice in The England Washingtonian, the organ of Sons of Temperance, reported that the couple was married at the Female Orphan Asylum, Boston, Oct. 12, by the Rev. F.D. Huntington.
    Both Joseph and Rebecca were active in charitable works and temperance and abolitionist movement. Their son Herbert Winslow recalled that I had for my chief playmates... two colored boys - the children of a fugitive slave, who had been captured in Plymouth just as he was to step aboard a fishing boat, bound for Canada. Rather than let him go back to Slavery the town people raised a fund and bought him from his southern owner. They then set him free. He sent back South for his wife, who was a slave, and they lived in Plymouth, held as an object lesson during the Lincoln campaign. Joseph W. Collingwood was also an active member of the Standish Guards, Plymouth Home Guards established to for the purpose of quelling riots, tumults and invasions and not to be sent out of state. According to Collingwood, the Guards had been established primarily for fear of Nativist riots similar to one four years ago in Filadelfia (sic!). Later he was an officer of the 3 rd Regiment of Light Infantry of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, company B.
    On Aug. 21, 1861, Joseph W. Collingwood was commissioned Lieut. of the Company H of the 18 th Infantry regiment of Massachusetts. His regiment was first attached to Fort Corcoran, the defenses of Washington, and then to the Army of the Potomac. Until March, 1862, the regiment remained in camp at Hall's Hill, Va., and then took part in the Peninsular Campaign, 2 nd Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg campaigns. After Antietam, Collingwood was detailed as Provost Marshall to Keedysville, Md. He then joined the regiment in its movement to Falmouth and Fredericksburg, Va. Collingwood was mortally wounded in the Battle of Fredericksburg, and died of wounds on Dec. 24, 1862. He was buried in Plymouth, next to his brothers, John B. and Thomas, who served in the 29 th Infantry Regiment and also perished in the Civil War.
    Collingwood, Herbert Winslow, My Autobiography, Bulletin 6 Department of Agricultural Journalism. College of Agriculture. University of Wisconsin Madison (1935).
    Joseph Collingwood's daughter, Eleanor Wyman Collingwood accompanied Benjamin Apthrop Gould (1824-1896) and his family during his work at the national observatory in Cordoba, Argentina in 1870-1874. In 1878 she was a teacher at Hampton Institute founded by Samuel Chapman Armstrong. His son Charles Barnard Collingwood (1860-1937) married Harriet Thomas; he was a circuit judge in East Lansing, Michigan. His other son Herbert Winslow became a prominent agricultural journalist and the editor of the Rural New Yorker.

    Scope and Content Note

    Letters, chiefly 1861-1862, from Joseph W. Collingwood to his wife Rebecca. Most letters were written over two or three days. The remarkably detailed and candid letters cover various aspects of the campaigns and battles Peninsular Campaign (March-July, 1862): the siege of Yorktown, battle of Hanover Court House, Seven Days Battles (June 25-July 1), operations around White House Landing (June 26-July 2); 2 nd Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Sheperdstown Ford, and the Fredericksburg Campaign. His letters provide detailed accounts of camp life of a Civil War soldier payments, uniforms, rations, foraging and procurement, diseases, firearms, drills and inspections, picket duty; roads, recreations, hospitals, and medical care. Collingwood also at length discussed lady nurses and surgeons; Confederate prisoners; socializing with Confederate soldiers; encounters with Confederates and Unionists of Virginia and Maryland, and recounted news from other regiments, especially 29 th and 32 nd Massachusetts.
    Collingwood, an avid admirer of George B. McClellan, filled his letters with discussion of commanders McClellan, Martindale, Barnes, Porter, Pope, and others, together with quite emotional reaction to the dismissal of McClellan and Porter, as well as news of the officers of Massachusetts regiments, including the scandalous reputation of Ebenezer W. Peirce of 29 th Mass. Of special importance is his take on political news and home front: abolitionism, congressional elections of 1862, charity works and recruitment in Massachusetts.
    The collection also includes records (general, brigade, division, regiment and company orders, rolls, and correspondence) of Company B, 3 rd Regiment of Light Infantry of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Most letters and orders are addressed to Sylvanus H. Churchill.
    The collection contains letters from Rebecca Collingwood to Ann C. Wheeler, her Boston friend, and a few items documenting Mrs. Collingwood's teaching in the Boston Female Asylum, correspondence of Eleanor Wyman Collingwood with her friends and family, including her letters written from Cordoba, Argentina, and Hampton Institute.
    Ephemera consist of photographs of the Civil War era by Matthew Brady and R.W. Addis, including snapshots of various members of the 18 th Massachusetts, family pictures, miscellaneous printed orders relating to Company B of 3 rd Regiment of Massachusetts Militia, an issue of New England Washingtonian. Organ of Sons of Temperance (Boston, Mass.), copies of the Old Colony Memorial (Plymouth, Mass.), newspaper clippings, Masonic documents of Charles B. Collingwood, and miscellaneous post cards and envelopes of the Civil War era.