Nathan R. Frazier Papers

1862-1899, 1931-1938
Manuscript Collection #390
Frazier, Nathan R.
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 113 items , consisting of correspondence (1862-1899, 1938, undated), court records, receipts, and miscellaneous items.
Preferred Citation
Nathan R. Frazier Papers (#390), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1862-1899, 1931-1938) consisting of correspondence, court records, receipts, Census of white children.

Biographical/historical information

In March of 1862 Nathan R. Frazier of Guilford County, N.C., enlisted in the Confederate Army as a substitute for Joab Knight in exchange for a tract of land. He remained in the CSA Army at least through March of 1865. He was a member of Company B, the 45th Regiment North Carolina State Troops. The 45th Regiment was stationed at Camp Mangum in Wake County, N.C., (Mar.-April, 1862), Goldsboro, N.C. (May, 1862), Halifax County, N.C. (May-June, 1862), and at Petersburg and Drewry's Bluff in Virginia (July-Dec., 1862). The 45th Regiment subsequently camped in Wayne County, N.C. (Dec., 1862-Jan., 1863), the Kinston, N.C., area (February-May, 1863), and Jones County, N.C. (Feb.-Mar., 1863). In May, 1863, the 45th Regiment moved to Fredericksburg, Va., and then took part in the Gettysburg Campaign (June, 1863), the battles at Hanover Junction and Mechanicsville (May, 1864), and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign (Aug.-Sept., 1864). They camped at Mount Sidney and at New Market, Va. (Oct.-Nov., 1864) and then participated in the Petersburg, Va., Campaign (Dec., 1864-Mar., 1865). After the war Frazier returned to Guilford County where he served as tax collector and deputy sheriff.

Scope and arrangement

The vast majority of the correspondence is from Frazier, while a Confederate soldier, to his wife, Elizabeth W. Frazier, and to his brother, Hiram Millis. Civil War correspondence covers the years March, 1862 to June, 1863 and May, August, 1864 to March, 1865.

Major battles and campaigns described include two of the Seven Days Battles, Malvern Hill and White Oak Swamp (June 30-July 1, 1862); the battle at Washington, N.C. (April, 1863); the battles of Bundy Station and Winchester, Va. (June, 1863); battles at Hanover Junction and Mechanicsville, Va. (May, 1864); the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in the Fall of 1864; and the Petersburg, Va., Campaign in late 1864 and early 1865. Troop movements and skirmishes are mentioned in the area of Halifax County, N.C. (May, June, 1862), Goldsboro, N.C. (May, Dec., 1862, Jan., 1863), Kinston, N.C. (Feb., April, May, 1863), Federicksburg, Va. (May, 1863), and Mount Sidney and New Market, Va. (Oct., Nov., 1864).

Frazier's letters cover many aspects of camp life such as wages, furlough policies, rations drawn, frequent diseases, camp facilities, lengthy marches, winter quarters, and the dangers of being a picket. Specific camps described are Camp Mangum in Wake County, N.C. (1862); a camp near Drewry's Bluff (1862); a picket camp in Jones, Co., N.C. (1863); a camp in Halifax Co., N.C. (1862); camps near Goldsboro and Kinston, N.C. (1862-1863); Camp Holmes in Raleigh, N.C. (1864); and a camp near Hamilton's Crossing at Fredericksburg, Va. (1863).

Letters touch on many subjects related to a soldier's life such as speculation, military equipment, diseases, prisons, discharge, desertion, exemption, conscription, the peace movement, and problems in the life of the soldiers' families. Diseases such as smallpox, measles, pneumonia, mumps, and brain fever were prevalent in the camps (1862-1863) and many soldiers died or had their arms amputated because of reactions to the smallpox vaccination. Rations were usually lacking in quantity and had to be supplemented with food bought at high prices from farmers in the area (1862-1863). Letters mention attempts to obtain a discharge (1862), and numerous examples of desertion (June, 1862; May, 1863; May, 1864; 1865) which were punished by execution (May, 1863) or by imprisonment with subsequent combat duty on a front far from home (May, 1864). Rumors concern laws that would allow alternative service in the army after the war in exchange for immediate discharge for men over thirty-five (July, 1862) and that would allow the drafting of all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty (Feb., 1865). Other letters provide soldiers' views of fighting alongside Negro soldiers (Feb., 1865).

Some of the military equipment mentioned were Enfield rifles (May, 1862) and pontoon bridges (April, 1863) used by the Confederates, and balloons (July, 1862; May, 1863) and a railroad engine with mounted guns (May, 1863) used by the Yankees. Hopes for peace were bolstered by a camp rumor that President Lincoln had offered to have both sides stop fighting for six months and try to make peace (Jan., 1863).

On the homefront, soldiers' wives dealt with shortages (Oct., 1862; Dec., 1864) and requested the county governments and wealthy neighbors for food (May, 1863). In the letters Nathan Frazier instructs his wife on the particulars of the tenancy agreements they're involved in (October, 1862; October, 1964; undated).

Post-war letters (1866 and 1869) were written by relatives of the Frazier family who migrated to Clay County, Indiana. These mention crop prices, the weather, wages paid to male and female laborers, and the desire to move on due to the influx of foreign population. These two letters plus one dated 1899 and a page of family notes give genealogical information concerning the Frazier family.

The remainder of the collection includes miscellaneous items such as a deed (1862), Guilford County delinquent tax lists (1881-1884), promissory notes (1880s), tax receipts (1880s), subpoenas and summons (1880s), receipts (1930s), and a chattel mortgage (1911). Undated miscellaneous papers include cures for horse ailments such as colic and gripe, bots or grubs, and scratches on the legs; and a census of white children between the ages of six and twenty-one years old in District No. 3 in Deep River Township, Guilford County, N.C.

Administrative information
Custodial History

September 7, 1979, 118 items; Guilford County, N.C., family papers (1862-1867, 1876-1899, 1931-1938), including correspondence, court records, and receipts. Deposited by Mr. Gary Rayle, Greenville, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Gary Rayle

Processing information

Processed by M. Elmore, February 1980

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

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

Key terms
Personal Names
Frazier, Nathan R.
Corporate Names
Confederate States of America. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 45th. Company B.
Malvern Hill, Battle of, Va., 1862
Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1864 (August-November)
Soldiers--North Carolina--Guilford County--Correspondence
White Oak Swamp, Battle of, Va., 1862
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Petersburg (Va.)--History--Siege, 1864-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Desertions
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Equipment and supplies
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspects
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African American
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865