Union Army General George Cullum’s handwritten letter, sent from New York and dated November 14, 1861, is addressed to ‘My dear Colonel’ and discusses Cullum’s recent promotion to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers and his assignment to serve under General Henry Halleck, with orders to leave immediately for Missouri. He also reflects on his current situation and that of several other officers (including his correspondent), discusses his immediate travel plans, and inquires about family members.
Permission to publish from the General George Cullum Civil War Letter, 1861, MS 112, must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
George Washington Cullum was born Feb. 25, 1809, in New York City. He graduated from the Military Academy at West Point in 1833 with a commission in the Corps of Engineers and worked for some years on a wide range of engineering projects. He was promoted to major in 1861, served as aide to Gen. Winfield Scott and rose to colonel, and on November 1, 1861 (shortly before writing the letter in this collection), was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers and assigned to serve under Gen. Henry Halleck as chief of staff and chief engineer. After participating in the Corinth campaign in Mississippi, he returned with Halleck to Washington, D. C. and remained there until September 1864, after which he served for two years as superintendent of the Military Academy, later returning to engineering activities until his retirement in 1874. In 1875 he married Gen. Halleck’s widow, Elizabeth Hamilton Halleck (Cullum’s first marriage), and spent his retirement in New York, where he was active in scientific and philanthropic work. He is best known for his work on the Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy, in which he summarized the careers of all of the graduates of West Point from its founding until 1889. He died February 28, 1892, in New York City.
A letter written during the U.S. Civil War on November 14, 1861, from New York by Union Army General George W. Cullum to a close friend (‘My dear Colonel’) concerning Cullum’s recent promotion to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers with assignment to serve under General Henry Halleck; Cullum also reflects on army politics and inquires about family members.
General George Cullum’s Civil War Letter of November 14, 1861 was purchased in 1972.
This collection is available online at: https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/21720
Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University 6100 Main St.
General George Cullum, Civil War Letter, 1861, MS 112, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. https://archives.library.rice.edu/repositories/2/resources/99 Accessed February 21, 2024.