Scope and Contents
In September of 1862 Walter Chapman, of Charlestown, Massachusetts, joined the 36th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers, which served under General Burnside through Grant 's western campaign of 1862-1864. In these years Chapman fought and described the fighting at Fredericksburg, Champion's Hill, Black River, Vicksburg, Campbell's Station, Knoxville, the Battle of the Wilderness, and others. He recorded at the same time in a lively fashion his lire in camp and on campaign, and his daily foraging and other means of supplementing his inadequate diet and wardrobe, and his opinions, of the conduct of the war. His diary includes a list of prices for clothing and equipment in camp in 1862, and he makes frequent note of the price of food and other necessities.
Chapman was sent home in March of 1864 on recruiting service and afterwards rejoined the army, serving as sergeant and later lieutenant in a brigade of black troops fighting in the deep south. At first sceptical about the troops, after battles such as that at Blakely, Alabama, in April of 1865, he was convinced that the black soldier "has shown himself, on the battlefield, to be the equal of the best soldiers that ever stepped" (1865 Apr 16).
Chapman was killed on May 25, 1865, in an explosion of a warehouse in Mobile, Alabama.
Aside from his letters and diary, Chapman's Civil War papers include a newspaper clipping of his letter to his parents about the siege of Knoxville and a list of battles fought by the 36th Regiment and a list of the men in his company. Also in the collection are a few 1859 letters from a Charlestown friend discussing local news, a poem and essay about religion written by Chapman, and several receipts and other miscellaneous items.
These papers were donated to Yale University by S. W. Chapman in 1944.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
0.25 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
- African American soldiers
- Chapman, Walter A., d. 1865
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Participation, African American
- United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 36th (1862-1865)
- Guide to the Walter A. Chapman papers
- Under Revision
- July 2008
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository
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