A Collection in
Collection Number Ms1997-007
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversitySpecial Collections
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, Virginia 24062-9001
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
2009 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Processed by: Danielle Morrison and Brad Shearer, student assistants, and Laura Katz Smith, Manuscripts Curator, Special Collections
Collection is open to research.
Permission to publish from the William Latham Candler Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: William Latham Candler Papers, Ms1997-007, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
The William Latham Candler Papers were purchased by Special Collections in April 1997.
Alternate Form Available
Transcripts and images (jpgs) of the letters are available online. See the "Contents List" section of the finding aid for links.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the William Latham Candler Papers commenced and was completed in 1997. Additional description was completed in October 2009.
William Latham Candler of Brookline, Massachusetts, served in Company A of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment, Army of the Potomac, during the Civil War. He enlisted on May 25, 1861, as a 1st Lieutenant, and was promoted to Captain and Aide-de-Camp, U.S. Volunteers, in November 1862. He served as a captain in General Joseph Hooker's staff from November 10, 1862, until his resignation from service in May 1863.
For more information see: Cudworth, Warren H., History of the First Regiment (Massachusetts Infantry), from the 25th of May, 1861, to the 25th of May, 1864; including Brief References to the Operations of the Army of the Potomac (Boston, Walker, Fuller, and Company, 1866). Spec Civil War E513.5 1st .C88 1866
For brief biographical notes on some of the Civil War figures Candler mentions in his letters, see the list of supplemental infomation.
The collection consists of fourteen letters, dating from September 8, 1861, to February 15, 1863, from Candler to his uncle Charles [probably maternal uncle Charles Henry Wheelwright] and his brother, John W. Candler of Boston.
The letters are articulate and descriptive, replete with Candler's strong opinions about the state of the Union, the abilities of the generals (Union and Confederate) who were running the war and the politicians who were running the country, and his own ambitions for advancing in rank and status in the army. On May 10, 1862, he writes from Williamsburg, Virginia, about the engagement with the Confederates and their sharpshooters. His June 24, 1962, letters from Fair Oaks, Virginia, and his July 7, 1862 letter from Harrison's Bar, Virginia, describe his units participation in the Battle of Mechanicsville, which was part of the Seven Days Campaign.
Candler's November 6, 1862, letter, written from Washington, D.C., has much about General George McClellan's political troubles, written soon before McClennan was removed from command of the Army of the Potomac and replaced by Ambrose E. Burnside. His December 21, 1862, letter disparagingly comments on the Union army's performance at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, on December 13.
Candler interspersed the letters with his concerns about the well-being of his fiance, and later, wife, Fannie, and his fear that his brother John will join the army and leave no one to care for their mother or John's children. Candler often asks his brother, a businessman in Boston, to send money.
The collection is arranged in chronological order.