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William Pettit Correspondence, 1864-1865

view William Pettit Correspondence, 1864-1865 digital asset number 1
Author:
Pettit, William (civil servant)
Collector:
Gordon, Gertrude Durrie
Durrie, Paul -1985
Donor:
Dibner, Bern Dr.
Subject:
Grant, Ulysses S (Ulysses Simpson) 1822-1885
Lincoln, Abraham 1809-1865
Pettit, Hannah
Pettit, Mary
Pettit, Agnes
Pettit, Lucy
Lincoln, Mary Todd
United States Congress
Smithsonian Institution
Physical description:
0.15 cubic feet, 1 box
Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Collection descriptions
Correspondence
Place:
United States
White House (Washington, D.C.)
Washington (D.C.)
Elkhorn (Wis.)
Date:
1864
1864-1865
Civil War, 1861-1865
1860-1920
1860-1870
1840-1930
Notes:
Pettit came to Washington, D.C. from Elkhorn, Wisconsin in summer 1863 to work as a clerk in the War Department, leaving his wife Hannah and daughters Mary, Agnes, and Lucy at home. His main duties as a clerk were to answer letters received by the Department. He wrote many letters to his wife describing his activities and his thoughts related to wartime Washington.
He took advantage of many opportunities available to a civil servant of the period in the nation's capital. He occasionally attended fortnightly openhouse at the White House, lectures at the Smithsonian Institution, and sessions of Congress and the Supreme Court. Since the letters in this collection are from Jan. 2-Mar. 30 and Oct. 5- Dec. 30, 1865, the six summer months' activities are unknown. Pettit was killed while riding horseback in Washington the day after the last letter was written.
Summary:
38 letters by Pettit to his wife; a letter from Pettit's wife soon after Lincoln's assassination; a letter from Lucy, Pettit's daughter, to her grandparents describing her birth (?) on February 2, 1843; and a first draft of "my family reminiscences"--seventeen manuscript pages describing the family's genealogy from the mid-1600s when they first arrived in this country.
Pettit's letters describe Washington concerts and performances, visits to and observations about White House open houses, well known-personages, church leaders, his co-workers, and opinions on the United States and war, bureaucracy, politics, and slavery. Pettit's anti-slavery sentiments are expressed. Other topics in the letters include Lee's surrender, the 1864 election, etc.
Cite as:
William Pettit Correspondence, 1864-1865, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Topic:
Genealogy
Civil service
War Department
Slavery
Army of the Potomac
Supreme Court
History
Data Source:
Archives Center - NMAH

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