Oliver C. Spoor Papers, 1847-[1861-1865]-1900

Manuscript Collection #308

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

Title: Oliver C. Spoor Papers
Creator: Spoor, Oliver C.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1847-[1861-1865]-1900) of a Civil War soldier who served in the 3d Regiment NY Cavalry Volunteers, consisting of correspondence, newspapers clippings, camp life, murder, robbery, marriage.
Extent: 0.143 Cubic feet, 28 items , copies, consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous documents.

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

Accessions Information

May 13, 1976, 28 items, copies; Papers (1827-1900) consisting of correspondence and miscellaneous primarily of a Civil War soldier. Loaned for copying by Reverend R. Graham Nahouse, Greenville, N.C.

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

Oliver C. Spoor Papers (#308), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Loaned by Reverend R. Graham Nahouse

Processing Information

  • Processed by D. Lennon, March 1977

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


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

The bulk of the correspondence (1861-1864) is written by Oliver C. Spoor and his brothers James W., Joseph, and Phillip L. Spoor who enlisted in the Union army and were stationed at various points. The letters are addressed to their parents, Reverend and Mrs. J.W. Spoor of Rochester, New York. Oliver C. Spoor enlisted in the 3rd Regiment New York Cavalry Volunteers and rose to the rank of captain before the war ended.

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

The bulk of the correspondence is addressed from camps in Eastern North Carolina, east central Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C. area. Other letters are written from northern locations where the brothers were stationed prior to being sent south.

Of particular significance are letters written from New Bern, N.C. (1862) in which descriptions are made of the town and its environs; battles around Washington, N.C.; raids on Hamilton, Williamston, and Tarboro; the burning of Hamilton and Williamston; stealing of livestock; and encounters with guerrilla forces.

Also of note are commentaries (1862) concerning duty in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland; troop movements around Manassas, Winchester, and Front Royal, Virginia; ineptness of Union generals; plundering of farms; and the victory of Confederate forces under General Thomas J. Jackson over Union troop of General Nathaniel Banks in western Virginia. An 1864 letter from Newport News, Virginia, comments on the possibility of a Naval engagement involving ironclads; gunboat problems; an explosion at Smithfield, Virginia; and news of the "Nigger Brigade" raiding parts of eastern Virginia and North Carolina and their inclination to rob, murder, and pillage.

General topics relate to the rigors and general conditions of camp life. Commentaries touch upon sanitary conditions, foul weather, the problem of finding adequate provisions, and disease and sickness among the troops.

Also included are references to communications, the general ability of the Officer corps, plundering of farms in search of food, condition of the streets of Washington, and architectural features of Southern homes.

An early letter in the collection is dated April, 1827 and addressed from Hood Valley, Oregon. This correspondence discusses the chronic need for more women and clerics in the Oregon territory, the marriage of white men and Indian women, and the rowdy drunken conditions which were prevalent. The letter also contains an extensive geographical and climatological description of the Hood Valley. Included is a listing of the various small fruits and trees, both indigenous and those which had been introduced to the valley, and the wildlife and fish of the valley forest. A list is furnished of the jobs available for women and the salaries of these jobs.

Several later letters are of general miscellaneous nature between members of the Spoor family.

Documents in the collection include copies of the muster papers of Captain Oliver Spoor enrolling him for duty at Norfolk, Virginia (January, 1865), to serve his unexpired term of service. Other documents include copied newspaper clippings dealing with the deaths of several of the Spoor brothers while serving with the Army; news of the marriage of a relative of the Spoor family; death of a relative; and other miscellaneous items.

Subject Headings 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 Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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