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William Judson Howe Papers

Identifier: MSN/CW 1015

Scope and Contents

The papers include 87 letters written by William Judson Howe from 8 August 1861 to 18 May 1865, mainly to his wife Jeanette. Nine of these were written by Howe before his enlistment and the rest date from his service in the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Also present are a few other items dating from Howe's years of service: five miscellaneous manuscripts, several pieces of ephemera, and a needle book sent to Howe by his wife. There are also postwar papers relating to Howe's G.A.R. activities and to his military pension, 11 family photographs, and an array of personal and family papers extending into the 20th century.


  • Creation: 1857-1993
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1861-1865


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

William Judson Howe was born on 18 December 1838 at Burlington, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Carolyn Scott Howe. In October 1859 he married Jeanette Knights, whose father owned a farm five miles east of Troy in Bradford County. Prior to the war Howe appears to have worked as an itinerant farm laborer, with a permanent residence at the Troy farm. In August 1862 he enlisted in the Union army, and the following month was mustered in a private to Co. C, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Howe served with this regiment for the duration of the war, attached to the Army of the Ohio (to January 1863); the Army of the Cumberland (January 1863 to November 1864); and the Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi (to July 1865). He was present with the regiment in Middle Tennessee during the Stones River campaign (December 1862-January 1863), and fought in a number of cavalry actions that winter and spring. He appears to have been present at Chickamauga (September 1863), and rode with the regiment on Wilson's raid through Alabama and Georgia (March to May 1865). Beginning in April 1863 Howe was periodically attached to brigade headquarters as a provost guard, overseeing prisoners of both armies and performing various other duties. He was also detached from the regiment following the death of his horse in May 1864, performing various kinds of dismounted duty in East Tennessee and at Columbia, Tennessee until November (thus missing the Atlanta campaign). Howe rejoined his regiment at the end of the year and was involved in the battle of Selma in April 1865. He was discharged at Nashville in June 1865, and subsequently worked for the Tioga Rail Road Company in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Howe and Jeanette had four children, one of whom, Della Isabelle (1869-1961) took care of him after his health failed in 1905. Howe died in Corning, Steuben County, New York in 1925.


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Language of Materials



The Civil War letters, wartime manuscripts and postwar family papers of William Judson Howe (1838-1925) of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, who served in Company C of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry from 1862 to 1865.


The collection is arranged in four series: 1. Civil War Letters; 2. War-date Manuscripts, Printed Ephemera, and Realia; 3. Later War-related Records; 4. Howe Family Papers. The first series contains one item per folder, chronilogically arranged; later series include multiple items per folder.

William Judson Howe Papers
Hannah Sabal
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556