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The Calvin Shedd papers consists of approximately fifty letters and documents of a Civil War soldier stationed in Florida from 1862-1863. Calvin Shedd served with Company A and Company C of the 7th New Hampshire Regiment. Shedd and his family, a wife and three daughters, were frequent correspondents. The documents consist only of Calvin Shedd's letters, with no responses from family members available. The letters comprise a fascinating, thoughtful summary of one man's experiences during this tragic era of American history. The lengthy, detailed letters offer an insightful view of Shedd's military activities, observations on life in Florida, and his concerns for the wife and three daughters he left behind in New Hampshire.
The Seventh Regiment left New Hampshire on January 14, 1862, and traveled to New York where soldiers passed a month of relative inactivity. On February 13, 1862, orders directed the troops to the Dry Tortugas in Florida. Six companies under the command of Colonel Putnam embarked on the S.R. Mallory, and four companies under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Abbott left on the barque, Tycoon. The Tycoon reached the Dry Tortugas in sixteen days, the S. R. Mallory arrived six days later. Two men died of an outbreak of yellow fever on the Tycoon, a sampling of things to come in the weeks and months ahead.
The Dry Tortugas, located at the far end of the Florida Keys, served as a principal depot for the distribution of rations and munitions to union forts and military posts in the area. The Seventh Regiment was stationed at Fort Jefferson, where "good quarters were arranged and other preparations made for the comfort of officers and men." Primary duties for soldiers consisted of garrison and fatigue duty, with military drill in infantry and heavy artillery.
On June 16, 1862, the regiment embarked for Port Royal, South Carolina, and arrived safely on July 22, 1862. Troops remained here, engaged primarily in picket and guard duty, until a September 15, 1862, re-assignment to st. Augustine, Florida. In st. Augustine the major effort was on recruitment, as the regiment lost some two hundred men to death and discharge since leaving New Hampshire. The regiment remained in st. Augustine until May, 1863, when it was ordered to Fernandia, Florida, to relieve the Seventh Connecticut Regiment, and then to Hilton Head, South Carolina, in preparation for efforts to attack Charleston. ln June, 1863, fortified with approximately one hundred new recruits, the regiment headed to Folly Island, to prepare the batteries that would support the landing of forces.
The unsuccessful assault on Fort Wagner cost more than two hundred lives, including many important officers. The regiment remained stationed on Morris Island for five months of intensely warm weather, serving duty in trenches, on picket and in fatigue. On December 20, 1863, the regiment left Morris Island, and prepared for a return trip to Florida.
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Selected materials from this collection have been digitized.
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Online exhibit, "The Calvin Shedd Papers. The Civil War in Florida: Letters of a New Hampshire Soldier"
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- Shedd, Calvin, 1826-1891 (Creator)