A Guide to the Fenwick Civil War Materials Collection c.1863-1865 Fenwick Civil War Materials Collection, c.1863-1865 MS 2001-042

A Guide to the Fenwick Civil War Materials Collection c. 1863-1865

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number MS 2001-042


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2002 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Collection number
MS 2001-042
Fenwick Civil War Materials Collection c. 1863-1865
Physical Characteristics
1 container; .2 cu. ft.
A small collection of Civil War-related materials, containing the correspondence of John Newton Smith, a private in Company I, 13th Virginia Cavalry and the sketchbook of Charles Gulager, a private in Company A, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Administrative Information


The collection is without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Fenwick Civil War Materials Collection, MS 2001-042, Special Collections, University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Fenwick Collection was donated to Special Collections at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2000. The Gulager sketchbook had been inherited by Mr. Fenwick; Smith's letters had belonged to Mrs. Fenwick.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Fenwick Collection commenced in July 2002 and was completed in August 2002.

Biographical/Historical Information

John Newton Smith, a Confederate cavalryman, was born in Nansemond County, Virginia on March 5, 1843. He was the oldest child of Burwell Riddick and Sarah Marie Cross. On June 4, 1861, "Newt" Smith enlisted at Suffolk in what would eventually become Company I of the 13th Virginia Cavalry. Smith died from typhoid fever at Hanover Courthouse military hospital (Virginia) on June 9, 1863.

Charles Gulager, an artist and Union cavalryman, was born on August 7, 1826. Best known for his paintings of naval and coastal subjects, Gulager lived in Philadelphia prior to the Civil War, and his paintings were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1860. During the Civil War, Gulager was a private in Company A, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He died on December 1, 1898, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Falls Church, Virginia.


Balfour, Daniel T., 13th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, 1986).

Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace, The New-York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564-1860 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957).

Miltier, Kelly, comp. "Tom Smith Camp: the Family of Thomas Washington Smith." http://www.tomsmithcamp.com/genealogy/ (25 July 2002).

Scope and Content Information

This collection contains Civil War materials which had been inherited by Edward G. and Dorothea Little Vanderslice Fenwick. The collection is divided into two series: the Charles Gulager sketchbook and the John Newton Smith correspondence.

The Charles Gulager sketchbook (measuring approximately 5 x 7 inches) contains more than 30 sketches drawn by Gulager while he served in Company A of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Many of the sketches depict war-related scenes, such as camps, soldiers and ships. Also among the sketches are illustrations of such historic structures as Mount Vernon and the Chain Bridge at Washington, D. C. (Selections from the sketchbook were published by Mr. Fenwick in 1987 under the title The Civil War Sketches of Charles Gulager [call number: NC139.G85 A4 1987 Civil War Spec]). The sketches may also be viewed by searching "Gulager" on Special Collections' ImageBase (http://imagebase.lib.vt.edu/). While many of the sketches are titled, some are either untitled or have titles which are illegible.

The John Newton Smith correspondence contains letters written by Smith while serving with Company I, 13th Virginia Cavalry. The letters span the first half of 1863 and are written mostly from Essex County, as well as other points in northeastern Virginia. Smith's letters are devoted largely to personal matters (especially his need for a hat, the illness and death of his horse, war-time prices and family affairs), but he also writes of military matters (especially the Chancellorsville campaign). The correspondence concludes with letters from Smith's cousin, Charles Croft, regarding Smith's severe illness and subsequent death, as well as documents related to the military pay due Smith's estate. The series also contains a set of transcriptions made-probably in the early twentieth century-from the original letters.


Charles Gulager Sketchbook, c.1861-1865: This series contains a sketchbook kept by Gulager during the Civil War. The sketchbook is self-contained, and the illustrations are arranged in no particular order.

John Newton Smith Letters, 1863-1864: This series contains letters written by Smith from various points in northeastern Virginia during the first half of 1863. It also contains letters from Charles Croft regarding Smith's illness and death, as well as official communications regarding the military pay due Smith's estate. The letters, which are arranged chronologically, are followed by a set of transcriptions, also arranged by date of original letter.

Index Terms

Contents List

Charles Gulager Sketchbook c.1861-1865
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John Newton Smith Letters 1863-1864
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Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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