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Henry Ward Camp papers

Call Number: MS 881

Scope and Contents

These papers consist of an assortment of correspondence, journals, printed matter, and memorabilia relating to Henry Ward Camp and his family, dating largely from the Civil War era.

Pre-dating the Civil War is Camp's Yale autograph album for the Class of 1860. This contains autographs, photographs, and engravings of Yale faculty and students, including Theodore Woolsey, Noah Porter, and William Dwight Whitney. There are also several photographs of Camp, and a leather wallet belonging to him.

Of the Civil War papers, the correspondence consists of fifty-five letters written by Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903) to the Camp family and one to his wife, all describing Camp's career with the Union Army, including his escape from a Confederate prison camp (1864 Jan 12; folder 1) and his death during fighting near Richmond (1864 Oct 13, 15). Trumbull also discusses his own experiences in the army, his sense of bereavement at Camp's death, and the biography that he wrote about Camp. Other items relating to Camp's Civil War service include military papers such as Camp's parole of honor that he would not try to escape from prison camp, letters from Camp to army officials requesting leaves of absence and so forth, his appointment as major, and other documents; a subscription book for a monument to him; and Connecticut newspapers giving accounts of his death. Materials pertaining to Henry Clay Trumbull include a draft editorial about him sent by Camp to the Hartford Courant, an advertisement for his biography, and a photograph.

The remaining items in the collection are a diary of Lizzie B. Camp, containing primarily financial records for 1887-1900, and a journal and a few miscellaneous papers of C. H. Camp.


  • 1851-1900
  • Majority of material found within 1861 - 1865


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased, 1940.


0.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, photographs, memorabilia and biographical materials relating to the Civil War make up the major part of these papers. Most important are the fifty-five letters from Henry Clay Trumbull, chaplain of Henry Ward Camp's regiment, to the Camp family, describing Camp's career in the Union Army and his death on the field. Among the biographical memorabilia are photographs of Camp and Trumbull, an autograph album from Camp's Class of 1860 at Yale College, military papers and newspaper clippings about Camp's death. Two nineteenth-century family diaries are also in the papers: those of Lizzie B. Camp and of C. H. Camp.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Ward Camp was born in Hartford, Conn., February 4, 1839, the son of Rev. Henry B. (Yale College, 1833) and Cornelia (Baldwin) Camp. After graduation he spent a few months in teaching and then commenced the study of law in the office of John Hooker, Esq., in Hartford. In December, 1861, he was commissioned as lieutenant in the Tenth Connecticut Infantry. He was afterwards appointed adjutant, and, on one occasion, was detailed as judge advocate of a general courtmartial [sic] on Seabrook Island. In July, 1863, he took part in the heavy fight on James Island, and also in the assault on Fort Wagner on the 19th of that month. In a cessation of hostilities for the burial of the dead and the removal of the wounded, he, with Chaplain H. C. Trumbull, was seized and carried as a prisoner to Charleston and thence to Columbia, S. C. He escaped at length from confinement, but, after a tramp of nearly a hundred miles was recaptured and held a prisoner till April, 1864. He made a short visit at home, but as soon as his exchange was effected, he hurried back to his regiment and shared with it, in the army of the James, five months of the most arduous and dangerous service. In September, 1864, while before Petersburg, he was commissioned as major.

On the 13th of October he fought his last fight. After skirmishing all day between the Darbytown and Charles City roads, about four miles from Richmond, his regiment was ordered to lead an assault upon the enemy's works. "Come on, boys! come on!" he shouted to his men, and the words were hardly uttered before he fell, shot through and through. His body was recovered next day and taken to Hartford for interment. The record of his beautiful heroic life has been written by the chaplain of the regiment, Rev. H. Clay Trumbull, under the title of "The Knightly Soldier: A Record of College, Field, and Prison." Champion wrote of him:

"Naturally retiring and modest, and ever esteeming others above himself, he needed some outside influence to cause him to display his powers openly. These modest and unassuming traits, joined to the greater dignity and boldness brought out by the war, united to render him one of the noblest of the many noble ones whom our class mourns for."

(Taken from Yale College Biographical Record, Class of Sixty, 1860-1906).

Guide to the Henry Ward Camp Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
February 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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