Collection Facts

Extent: 
66 items
Dates of Original: 
1861-1864
Collection Owner:
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

Hiram S. Wilson was born in 1815 to Henry and Nancy Wilson. He married Elizabeth Wickes in 1839 in Sandy Hill (now Hudson Falls), New York. They had seven children. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, the Wilson family moved to Bolton, NY where Wilson was the proprietor of the Mohican House, the oldest hotel in the town. He enlisted in the United Sates Military on November 1, 1861 and was commissioned as captain in Company H of the 93rd New York Voluntary Infantry. His regiment was present at the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Wilderness Campaign, and Cold Harbor. Wilson died suddenly on March 24, 1864 of erysipelas while stationed in New York City. At the time, he was in command of a detachment of troops who were responsible for escorting new conscripts to the seat of war. He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, NY.

Scope of Collection

This collection contains letters written by Hiram S. Wilson to his wife, Elizabeth, from 1861 to 1864 with the majority of the letters dating between 1862 and 1863. While most letters were addressed to his wife, there are a few letters written to other family members including his daughter, Stella. Most of the letters were written while he was stationed at various army camps in Virginia and Maryland. He writes about family and home issues but also talks about military activities. Wilson expresses confidence about the army’s abilities and writes about his trust in General McClellan and other Generals. He includes discussions about camp life, troop movement, and general war news. For instance, several letters discuss the passage by Congress of the Militia Act of 1862 and the Confiscation Act of 1862 that allowed the enlistment of African Americans. Additionally, Wilson frequently discusses the weather and his health. He often asks his wife and children to write him more letters. On one occasion, he offers to buy his daughter a new dress if she would write to him.