A Collection in
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityContact Information:
P.O. Box 90001
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia 24062-9001
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Processed by: Josh Howard, Special Collections
2010 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Collection is open to research.
Permission to publish from the John W. Jellison Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: John W. Jellison Papers, Ms2010-057, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
The John W. Jellison Papers were purchased by Special Collections in March 2010.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the John W. Jellison Papers commenced and was completed in July 2010.
John W. Jellison was a private in the 27th Maine Infantry, Company E, on September 30, 1862. He mustered out in June 1863.
The 27th Maine was notable for soldiers voluntarily staying beyond their original enlistment period in 1863 to guard Washington D.C. against Lee's offensive into Pennsylvania. However, these volunteers only remained in defense of the capitol for four days and returned to Maine in time to muster out with the rest of the regiment. Still, Congress awarded the entire regiment of more than 850 men the Medal of Honor. The awards were purged by Congress in 1917 as the "actions of the regiment did not meet the criteria for receiving such a medal." Although the medals were not taken away, the names of the recipients were stricken from the roll.
The collection contains seven letters written by Jellison to his wife and his mother. In addition, the collection includes Jellison's his discharge papers.
Despite the short duration of his service, Jellison's letters were written from a variety of locations in Virginia, Washington, DC, and aboard the gun boat St. Louis. All the letters are dated, but not all include the year, so the sequence is unclear. For the most part, Jellison writes of his regiments marches and camps, and news of the war from nearby regions.
Excerpt from December 15, 1862, Camp Vermont Near Alexandria: "...We had a pleasant time on picket we took three prisoners we had to shoot one. It was hared to stand and see a man shot down it was on my post and I ordered it was my duty to do so..."
The correspondence is arranged in its likely chronological sequence, based on the movements of Jellison's regiment in 1862 and 1863. Discharge papers are filed after the letters.