A Guide to the Oscar Van Houten Letter, 1863 Van Houten, Oscar Letter Ms2011-102

A Guide to the Oscar Van Houten Letter, 1863

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2011-102


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/

© 2011 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Andrea Ledesma, Student Assistant, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Oscar Van Houten Letter, 1863
Physical Characteristics
0.1 cu. ft. 1 folder
Van Houten, Oscar, 9th Regiment, New Jersey Infanry
The letter describes Van Houten's Civil War camp and war experiences as of May 17, 1863, including details of the wounded and death of several friends.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Oscar Van Houten Letter must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Oscar Van Houten Letter, Ms2011-102, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

Special Collections purchased the Oscar Van Houten Letter in September 2011.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Oscar Van Houten Letter was completed in October 2011.

Biographical Note

Oscar Van Houten was born about 1836 in New Jersey. He married Julia Louisa Chandler(?). During the Civil War, he fought with the 9th New Jersey Infantry, first as a private. He was later promoted to and mustered out as Quartermaster Sergeant. After the war, he returned to New Jersey and worked for some time as a book keeper. He and his wife had at least two children: Jessie Francis (b. 1872) and George Dexter (b. 1873).

Scope and Content

The collection consists of a letter, dated May 17th 1863, written to Van Houten's father. He begins letter with a description of his "splendid camp" located "about 1/2 mile from the [Potomac Creek]." Altogether Van Houten surmises that "Virginia is a beautiful country...[but] in this winter is the most dreary place." Following the musings on scenery and camp life, Van Houten relates the events of his "last battle." He and his regiment, on the 29th of April, "went down to the river a little below Fredericksburg and opened on the enemy." After days of fighting, Van Houten's group lost three men--one of which was his "old friend" Ralph Buckley. Van Houten includes a detailed description of the wounds of several fellow soldiers. In a faded addition to the letter, Van Houten explains why he thinks he is fit for a promotion.


The collection is arranged by material type.

Index Terms

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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Contents List

Folder 1
Letter and envelope, 1863