John McGraw Civil War Letters

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Collection Overview
Title: John McGraw Civil War letters
Call Number: D.528
Dates: 1860-1991 ; 1863-1865 [bulk]
Physical Description: .25 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
John McGraw (1835-1875), born in Canada to Irish parents, was a stonecutter living on Reynolds Street in the 8th Ward of Rochester, NY. Though newspaper clippings refer to McGraw as a "conscript who volunteered", later writings refer to him as being drafted. He was a private in the Union Army during the US Civil War, serving in Company E of the 140th NY Volunteer Infantry. While in the army, McGraw wrote many letters to his wife, Mary, sent money when he could, and yearned to be at home. In one of his last letters before returning to Rochester, sent from a hospital in Philadelphia, John writes "I am shure that they do not intend to discharge me at least I think so but God only knows I am pretty lonsome since I came back, more lonsome then ever I was I wish I was out of the army thay would never ketch me again." He returned home to his wife Mary, their daughter Annie, and extended family with a paralyzed arm shortly after that letter was sent in 1865.

Scope and Content
The bulk of this collection consists of letters from John McGraw to his wife Mary from September, 1863 - March, 1865 while he was serving in Company E of the 140th NY Volunteer Infantry. The letters discuss McGraw's unit's movements and where they made camp, his feelings about the war, things he witnessed in battle and at the hospitals he was a patient in, news of fellow soldiers from Rochester, the death of two of his young sons at home, his own illnesses and injuries, along with more mundane topics like sending money home, the weather, and food. Most letters contain a plea for more letters from Mary and more news of home. The collection also contains research the McGraw family compiled about John McGraw, including a McGraw family tree, photocopies of his military service records, and transcriptions of the letters.

New York (State)--Rochester
American Civil War (1861-1865)
United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 140th (1862-1865)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Peter McGraw and Dr. Julie K. Brown on behalf of the McGraw family, 2018.Access
The John McGraw Civil War letters is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], John McGraw Civil War letters, D.528, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterDigitized Materials
See: John McGraw Civil War Letters for the digital collection of McGraw's letters and personal materials.

Administrative Information
Author: Autumn Haag
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055

Finding aid publication date: June, 2018
Content List
Series I: Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 1John McGraw to Mary McGraw, 1863
Box 1, Folder 2John McGraw to Mary McGraw, 1864
Patterson Park Hospital, Baltimore, MD, July 13, 1864
This letter appears to have been sent with the program of the 4th of July celebration McGraw mentions this letter. The program has an additional note to his wife on the back.

Box 1, Folder 3John McGraw to Mary McGraw, 1865
Box 1, Folder 4General
John McGraw to unidentified recipient, undated
This letter appears to have been written to Mary McGraw in 1863 or 1864.

Box 1, Folder 5Envelopes of letters sent to John and Mary McGraw, circa 1863-1865
Series II: Miscellaneous Civil War records
Box 1, Folder 6Civil War records
Handwritten furlough request template, 1864
Form asks for permission to leave a Washington hospital to return to New York State to vote for President Lincoln in the "approaching election".

Thomas Sullivan furlough paperwork, March 3, 1865
This is a furlough order for Private Thomas Sullivan, Company E of the 98th NY Volunteers, 1st Brigade.

Order for transportation, March 16, 1865
This document, from the Assistant Quartermaster's Office, gave John McGraw free transportation from Philadelphia to Rochester. McGraw is described as "a discharged soldier" on it.

Series III: Biographical material
Box 1, Folder 7Research material
Register Report for William McGraw, 2012
A list of William McGraw's descendants, including John McGraw. Includes sources. Created by Ted McGraw.

Box 1, Folder 8Image of John McGraw
Original frame with surrogate tintype inside, circa 1864, 2019

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