This collection consists of three types of material; correspondence (1811-1888), a memoir (1863-1865), and genealogical and miscellaneous material.
A major portion of the correspondence is that between A.D. Peace and Samuel Peace primarily concerning school life at Trinity College, North Carolina (1859-1860). Discussed are tuition costs, length of college sessions, attendance, and other facets of school life. An interesting early letter from Matt Hankins to his son in Wilmington contains commentary on health, illness, and advice on life (1811). Other interesting correspondence is by Civil War soldiers. Of note are accounts of the fighting in Washington, N.C. (1863), a description of the Battle of Rappahannock Bridge and Kelly's Ford, Va. (Nov. 7, 1863), and information on the condition of the troops.
The major portion of the collection is the memoir of Sylvanus M. Hankins. S.M. Hankins (1847-1918) was a member of the Hankins family of Madison County, Florida and descended from Dennis Hankins of Wilmington, N.C. S.M. Hankins was drafted into the Confederate army at the age of 16 and served in Company D 11th Florida Regiment which fought in North Florida. Hankins' memoir is a description of his service as a Confederate soldier but includes valuable information on civilian as well as military life during this troubled period. Hankins comments on the problem of deserters; their thefts, vandalism and terrorism; and the Confederate Army's methods of dealing with such men, describing executions of soldiers and the civilians who aided them. Also noteworthy are Hankins' descriptions of the guarding of a blockade runner at Deadman's Bay; the Battle of St. Marks (Natural Bridge) (1865); and a description of a journey to Andersonville Prison to deliver captured Union soldiers. Hankins describes in detail Confederate treatment of captured enemy soldiers and runaway slaves.
The final portion of the collection consists of genealogical material for the Hankins family and a miscellaneous group. Included are the muster roll of Company D 11th Florida Regiment; a financial account of the schooling of Marie Hankins (1890); family Bible records; an example of amateur verse; an indenture contract; and an account of expense including medical services (1891).