The letters of H.H. Wilson consist of 21 autograph letters with 7 drafts for the letters. In addition, a letter of January 3-4, 1864, is preserved in an undated newspaper clipping, and there is a letter of 1874 written to Mrs. Wilson on the death of her child by Betty M. McLeod. With the exception of one letter, written in 1868, all of Wilson's letters cover the period from 1862-1864.
Many of the letters are courtship letters. They contain much information on the aspirations and attitudes of people in South Carolina whose wealth was based on the stolen labor of enslaved people . In addition, Wilson pays special attention to hospitals and medicine, schools, and cemeteries. Some material is contained in the letters which pertains to camp life and the military. Much of the material concerns the problem of conscription.
Permission to publish material from the Hugh H. Wilson U.S. Civil War papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Hugh H. Wilson was a resident of Sumter District, South Carolina. He enslaved multiple people and used their stolen labor to run a farm. In the summer of 1862 he began to court Mary Grier (or, at least, one letter has a pencilled-in notation by the name "Mrs. Grier": "Our grandmother"), a resident of Cheraw. In October, Mary and Hugh were married.
In the meantime, Hugh Wilson was searching for a safe position in the South Carolina army. Concerned with various possibilities of the Conscription Act and its Exemption Bill, Wilson sought a position either in medical or commissary work. Exploiting a family connection with the Witherspoon family, he finally became quartermaster sergeant on the staff of Col. James H. Witherspoon, 8th Regiment of the South Carolina Reserves, assigned to coastal defense.
That Wilson survived the war is attested by a letter written in 1868. An oblique reference in a letter written in 1874 seems to indicate he was living in that year. The course of his subsequent life is unknown.
Many of these letters are courtship letters to Wilson's future wife, Mary Grier, containing information on the aspirations and attitudes of people in South Carolina whose wealth was based on the stolen labor of enslaved people during the U.S. Civil War period. Wilson also relays information about hospitals, medicine, schools, cemteries, camp life and the military, and the issue of conscription.
Letters are in chronological order. In cases in which a draft letter is also present, the draft is filed after the letter, and in the listing is indicated by a "d" after the date.
Gift of Mrs. Hardin Craig, Jr. (granddaughter of Wilson), 1956.
This finding aid was reviewed for harmful, offensive, and aggrandizing language in July 2021. Published titles and names of organizations with this language are not edited. Legacy finding aids are available by request. If you have suggestions, please email email@example.com.
Antietam, Battle of 1862
Artillery Batteries n.d.
Benbow, Col. C.S.A.
Bleeding (Medical procedure)
Blockade of civilian traffic 2
Church Services (Presbyterian)
Civilian desertion of countryside on CSA occupation
Colzy, Sam 1862
Commissary Department (C.S.A.)
Conscript Law (in South Carolina)
Conscript Law (Exemption Bill)
Cooperation between Confederate and state government
Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University 6100 Main St.
Hugh H. Wilson U.S. Civil War papers, 1862-68, MS #125, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University] https://archives.library.rice.edu/repositories/2/resources/110 Accessed December 10, 2023.