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Jacob S. Kiester Papers, 1854-1865

Manuscript Collection #72

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Jacob S. Kiester Papers
Creator: Kiester, Jacob Shaffer, 1835-1864
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1854-1865) including typescripts, correspondence, photocopies of army muster rolls, enlistment contract and discharge, letters comment on destruction of standing crops of Virginia, the demolition of Hampton, etc.
Extent: 0.044 Cubic feet, 61 items , typescript copies of correspondence and photocopies of army muster rolls, enlistment contract and discharge.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

December 3, 1968, 61 items, typescripts and photocopies; Correspondence (1854-1864), muster rolls (1862-1865) and enlistment record. Gift of Dr. William White, Greenville, N.C. Originals in possession of Mrs. Emma Louise Holtz, Harrisville, PA.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Jacob S. Kiester Papers (#72), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Processing Information

  • Processed by T. Sloan, December 1968

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Jacob S. Kiester (1837-1864) was a native of Pennsylvania, who prior to the Civil War was a laborer, sawyer, teamster, and farm worker in Iowa and Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Union army and rose to the rank of sergeant prior to his capture in the battle of Plymouth, N.C., 20 April 1864, and his subsequent death in a military prison at Florence, S.C., 23 November 1864. Sgt. Kiester was a participant in the Peninsular Campaign, the Seven Days Battles (Fair Oaks and Seven Pines, Harrison's Landing, Savage Station) and several minor engagements near Franklin, Va., and Kinston and Goldsboro, N.C.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Sergeant Kiester's comments in letters to his family include several that are of interest in relation to warfare innovations introduced during the Civil War. Notable are comments concerning anti-personnel land mines and a rocket battery, both of Confederate origin; a balloon ascent by General McClellan at Yorktown; and the ironclad Monitor (1862).

Other comments include complaints over Abraham Lincoln's supposed preoccupation with emancipation as a war goal rather than preservation of the Union, the $300 exemption price for draftees, the removal of General Burnside, and the involvement of Generals Meigs and McClellan in Burnside's military reverses.

On the soldier's level, Sgt. Kiester's letters comment on the destruction of standing crops in Virginia, the demolition of Hampton, Va., cowardice in battle, the conduct of Negro troops, voting for election of officers, and the shift from Austrian muskets to U.S.-made Springfield rifles by Kiester's regiment, the 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteers. The unpopularity of a new commanding officer and enlistment bounties also are mentioned.

Battles and skirmishes described in some detail include Williamsburg, Savage Station, and Franklin, Va., and Kinston, N.C. Numerous regiments are mentioned, especially those from Pennsylvania and New England.

Other letters enumerate supplies and clothing wanted for winter bivouac, and in the sole letter written from the Confederate prison in which he died, Sgt. Kiester appeals for funds.

Prior to military service, the correspondence comments on wages and prices on the Soo Canal in Wisconsin; and "hard times," prices, horse thieves, and lynch mobs at Ft. Dodge, Iowa (1854-1858).

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. To see what's been digitized in this collection, please click on the "View Digitized Objects" link, or look for hyperlinks in the container list
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