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Confederate States of America collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 463

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence and official documents originating from various CSA government departments and from individual Confederate states, 1861-1865. The bulk of the material is bureaucratic in nature (e.g. reports and official correspondence), but there are a few letters from private citizens, and many of the documents, such as army discharge papers and medical certificates, concern particular individuals. Information about specific Civil War battles and events can be found throughout the collection in letters and reports. The papers are organized into three series: Correspondence, Documents, and Other Material.

Series I, Correspondence , is organized into two subseries: Correspondence of Jefferson Davis and Other Correspondence. The first consists of letters to President Davis, from members of his Cabinet and from citizens, and four brief letters of transmittal from Davis to the CSA Congress. Letters from Cabinet members include two detailed reports from Stephen R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy: one concerns a naval engagment at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in 1862; the other concerns the seizure of the CSS Florida in the neutral port of Bahia, Brazil, by the USS Wachusett on October 7, 1864. One of the three letters from citizens is from two women in Georgia who offer to undertake dangerous missions behind enemy lines for the Confederate cause.

The second subseries, Other Correspondence, consists chiefly of correspondence between cabinet members and congressmen concerning government business, but also contains letters from Army generals and other officers reporting on military actions, including the battle of Malvern Hill. Also included are letters from the Spanish and French Consuls, and a letter from Indian Agent Douglas Cooper concerning the Confederacy's relations with the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations.

Series II, Documents , consists of reports, estimates of expenditures and appropriations, petitions, forms, passes, receipts, certificates, orders, bonds, tax records, and other official documents issued or collected by the CSA and by individual Confederate state governments. It is organized into nine subseries: Army, Congress, Department of State, Medical Purveyor's Office, Navy, Treasury Department, War Department, Individual State Governments, and Other Documents.

Army documents concerning specific regiments or divisions include field returns from the Second Georgia Battalion and General R. H. Anderson's Division; Casualty and Capture reports from General William Mahone's Division (formerly Anderson's Division); a report on the actions of General Rode's Brigade at Seven Pines; and a guard report of the Thirty-Third North Carolina Regiment. Other Army papers include a "List of Ordnance left on Morris Island on the night of its evacuation," a "Ladies' address to the Soldiers of Longstreet's Corps.," and documents concerning prisoners of war and military hospitals.

Other CSA government documents include petitions to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Senate to raise the salaries of government employees due to rapid inflation of Confederate currency; special orders suspending Habeas Corpus in Salisbury, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia; documents from Mississippi and South Carolina concerning the use of slaves in the CSA Army; resolutions passed in Pocahonta County, Virginia, concerning the inadequacy of defenses provided by the Confederacy against invasion; and several proposed designs for an alternate Confederate flag.

Other Documents contains a statement or appeal by former United States Acting Secretary of War William R. Drinkard regarding his neglected application for the post of Chief of the Bureau of War in the Confederate Government, and a pass issued by the United States Army in 1867, granting a North Carolina citizen permission to carry a gun.

Series III, Other Material , contains paper and envelopes said to have been taken from the Confederate Congress Hall during the seizure of Richmond, and two canvas letter or money bags.


  • 1861 - 1865


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Confederate States of America Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection of papers acquired by gift and purchase from various sources, indicated on individual folders where known. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.


2.3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence and official documents originating from various CSA government departments and from individual Confederate states, 1861-65. Includes correspondence of Jefferson Davis, Confederate cabinet members and congressmen, and other officials, as well as official reports of Civil War battles and events, estimates of expenditures and appropriations, petitions, special orders, forms, passes, receipts, bonds, tax records, and other documents. While the bulk of the material is administrative in nature, many of the documents, such as tax records and discharge papers, concern particular individuals, and there are a few letters from private citizens, such as one to President Davis from two women who offer to go behind enemy lines. The collection also includes designs for an alternate Confederate flag.

Processing Information

This finding aid will be updated periodically to account for new materials that may be added to the collection. The date of the most recent update is noted on the title page. For information on material that may have been added since the last update, please consult the Public Service Desk.
Guide to the Confederate States of America Collection
by Ellen Doon
January 2000
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.