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Hugh H. Wilson U.S. Civil War papers

Identifier: MS 0125
Finding aid note: Stored on-site at the Woodson Research Center.

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1862 - 1868


Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Hugh H. Wilson U.S. Civil War papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Biographical Note

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.


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Language of Materials



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.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Hardin Craig, Jr. (granddaughter of Wilson), 1956.

Processing Information

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

Correspondence Index

Antietam, Battle of 1862
1862, 9-25
Artillery Batteries n.d.
Benbow, Col. C.S.A.
1862, 9-11
Bleeding (Medical procedure)
1862, 9-11
Blockade of civilian traffic 2
186, 9-11
Camp Hampton
1866, 12-5
Camp life
Charleston Mercury
1868, 7-3
Chesterfield Academy
1862, 8-22
Church Services (Presbyterian)
1862, 10-23
1862, 9-11
Civilian desertion of countryside on CSA occupation
1863, 5-22
Coit's Battery
Colzy, Sam 1862
Commissary Department (C.S.A.)
Conscript Law (in South Carolina)
Conscript Law (Exemption Bill)
Cooper, Eli
1862, 7-11
Cooperation between Confederate and state government
Corinth, Battle of 1862
1862, 8-22
Cox, Mrs. from Masiou
1863, 6-23
Crane, Dr. and Mrs. 1862
Crane, [Elizabeth] "Lizzie"
1862, 8-22
Deserters (C.S.A.) executed
Dick, J.H.
1862, 7-11
Edgeworth Seminary
1862, 7-21
8th Regiment South Carolina Reserves
1862, 8-22 and n.d.
English, T.R., Rev.
1862, 10-23
Family connections
1862, 6-30
Foreigners, attitudes toward
1862, 9-20
1863, 5-22
1862, 7-11
Gilmer, Congressman
1862, 7-21
Grier, Mrs.
Hollywood Cemetary
Human Nature
1862, 8-29
Jenkins, Micah Gen. C.S.A.
1862, 9-11
1862, 10-10
Joint stock companies
[K]no[w]-nothing Party
1862, 7-21
LaCaste, Miller
LaC[a]ste, Sam
1862, 8-6
Lee, Stephen Dill (?) Col. C.S.A.
1862, 7-11
Mayes, William (Dr.)
McBride, James
1862, 7-21
McCutcheon, George
1862, 9-8
Medical personnel
Methodist College
1862, 7-21
Mills, Mr. (H.H.W.'s neighbor)
Mills, Anderson
Mills, William
Molloy, T.
1862, 8-6
Montgomery, Mrs. (H.H.W.'s sister)
Montgomery, John
1862, 10-15
Montgomery, Sue (H.H.W.'s niece)
Moore, Hannah
1862, 9-25
Morehead, Governor
1862, 7-21
Moses, F.J. Col. C.S.A.
1862, 7-21
Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Mount Zion, S.C.
1862, 8-22
1862, 9-25
Negro Slaves
Passports, internal
Plantation management
Planter's Cotton Bank
1862, 8-6
1862, 12-5
Powder mills
1862, 8-6
Prices cloth
Prisoners, Confederate
1862, 8-22
Reserves, South Carolina
1862, 10-10
Rich and poor, conflict between
1862, 10-10
Richmond Cemetary
1862, 7-21
Richmond General Hospital
1862, 7-21
Roberts, Lt. Col. C.S.A.
1862, 9-11
Rutledge, Col. C.S.A.
Sanduskey, Ohio
1862, 8-22
Sasnasky (sic.), Madam, High School of 1862
1862, 9-20
Savannah, Georgia
1862, 9-20
1862, 9-20
Scott, Mrs. (H.H.W.'s sister)
Scott, John (H.H.W.'s nephew)
Scott, May (H.H.W.'s niece)
Scudder, "Sissie" 1862
"Second Revolution"
1862, 7-21
Servants (free)
1868, 7-3
Shaw, Dwight
1862, 9-8
Shaw, Mary
1862, 8-22
Smythe, Bob
1862, 9-20
South Carolina, invasion of, 1861
1862, 9-11
Sullivan Island, South Carolina
Sumter Gazette
1862, 9-8
Supply wagons
1862, 12-5
Taxes and tarriffs
1862, 7-21
Teachers (and Professors)
1862, 9-8
Thornwell, Dr. and Mrs.
V[arun], James
Virginia Campaign (1862)
1862, 9-11
Walker, William S. Gen. C.S.A.
Whilden, Maj. C.S.A.
1862, 9-11
White's Battery
1863, 6-23
Wilson, Dr.
1863, 6-23
Wilson, Clara
1862, 10-23
Wilson, Moultri
Wilson, R.E.
1862, 9-8
Wilson, W.W.
1862, 10-23
Witherspoon, Capt. C.S.A.
1862, 9-20
Witherspoon, A.J., Rev.
1862, 8-22
Witherspoon, Dunham, from Yorkville 1862
1862, 9-20
Witherspoon, James H. Col. C.S.A.
Witherspoon, J[ohn] E.
Word's Battery
1863, 6-23
Worley Battery
1863, 6-23
Guide to the Hugh H. Wilson U.S. Civil War papers, 1862-1868
John Fowler, 1978
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Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA