Sallie Lightfoot Tarleton Papers

Manuscript Collection #71
Tarleton, Sallie Lightfoot
Physical description
0.11 Cubic Feet, 178 items , correspondence, photocopies of typescripts.
Preferred Citation
Sallie Lightfoot Tarleton Papers (#71), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1861-1868) including correspondence, information on defense, wartime letters written to his future wife, assorted incidents.

Biographical/historical information

Robert Tarleton (1838-1868) was a member of a wealthy Mobile, Alabama, family. He was educated at Princeton University and later studied medicine in New York City. Upon returning to the South on the eve of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate army as a private and served as clerk in Gen. Braxton Bragg's headquarters. He was commissioned lieutenant in Smith's Battery and stationed at Fort Morgan on Mobile Bay. Tarleton was captured with the surrender of the fort in 1864, but he escaped. He turned to cotton farming in Louisiana before returning to Mobile (1868) to enter the produce business. He had married Sallie Lightfoot in 1864, shortly after his escape.

Scope and arrangement

The correspondence is largely concerned with personal affairs, but it contains considerable information on defense and military activities prior to the fall of Mobile.

Numerous comments describe the federal blockading and invasion fleet, including ironclads; the activities of the Confederate defending fleet and the C.S.A. ironclad Tennessee; picket duty; the grounding and defense of two blockade running vessels at the Mobile Bay entrance; and the siege of Mobile.

The wartime letters, written to his future wife, also have candid descriptions of camp quarters, travel on steamers, camp fare and delicacies from home, fortifications, Yankee conscription of ex-slaves for labor, and assorted incidents. The military activities at Fort Morgan, Tarleton's duty post at Mobile, are also closely described.

Tarleton's postwar letters reflect the problems in securing reliable Negro farm labor in the face of propaganda by Federal forces that ex-slaves would benefit from a division of land. A quasi-belief in the restoration of slavery among white landowners is also mentioned.

Administrative information
Custodial History

December 3, 1968, 178 pages; Correspondence 1861-1868, loaned for copying by Dr. William N. Still, Jr., Greenville, N.C. Originals in the possession of Mrs. Frank L. Duvalle, Mobile, Alabama.

Processing information

Processed by T. Sloan, December 1968

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
Tarleton, Robert, 1838-1868--Correspondence
Corporate Names
Confederate States of America. Army. Alabama Infantry Regiment, 21st
United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
Mobile Bay, Battle of, Ala., 1864
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Louisiana
Alabama--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Alabama--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories
Fort Morgan (Ala.)
Louisiana--Politics and government--1865-1950
Mobile (Ala.)--History--19th century
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Blockades
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Equipment and supplies
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Transportation