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The Oliver Otis Howard Papers Online

Gallery - Documents

The documents presented here represent a sampling—arranged in topical groupings—from the Oliver Otis Howard Papers. Transcripts are verbatim without corrections to spelling or punctuation.
To view all of the documents in the collection as they become available online, see Finding Aids and Documents Online

Civil War

Jefferson Davis to Oliver Otis Howard, August 7, 1854
War Department officer's commission for Howard, signed by then-Secretary of War Jefferson Davis.
L. Prang & Co. to Oliver Otis Howard, January 1, 1862
Publishing company solicits information about Howard for inclusion in a book about Union generals.
John Moeser to Oliver Otis Howard, July 2, 1863
The sexton of the Evergreen Cemetery itemizes damages done by Howard’s troops at Gettysburg.
W.T. Sherman to Oliver Otis Howard, December 18, 1863
Gen. William T. Sherman writes to express his respect for Howard, after meeting him in person for the first time.
Rev. William Vaux to Oliver Otis Howard, September 21, 1864
Rev. Vaux is denounced to secretary of war as a Rebel; here he makes a plea to Howard to defend his character.
William Oland Bourne to Oliver Otis Howard, November 21, 1865
Bourne, publisher of The Soldier's Friend newspaper, asks Howard to participate in a contest that encourages “Left Armed Soldiers” to improve their penmanship.

Home Front

Oliver Otis Howard to Grace Howard, July 12, 1861
Howard writes to his daughter about his daily life, with illustrations throughout.
Oliver Otis Howard to Guy Howard, December 25, 1861
A Christmas letter from Howard to his son, containing drawings of camp life and family portraits.
Telegram to Lizzie Howard, June 2, 1862
Telegram informing Lizzie that Howard has been wounded. The telegram is signed by then-Capt. Frederick D. Sewall (19th Maine Infantry).
Oliver Otis Howard to "Dearest" [Lizzie Howard], June 3, 1862
Two days after his amputation, Otis writes using his untrained left hand, giving reassurances and explaining his travel plans home.
Rowland Howard to "Dear Bro. Otis," June 3, 1862
Rowland, a minister in Farmington, Maine, at the time, expresses concerns over Howard's wounds and offers to travel to wherever his brothers Otis and Charles are.
Lizzie Howard to Oliver Otis Howard, November 27, 1864
Howard's wife discusses the wedding of former slaves.
Guy Howard to Oliver Otis Howard, January 22, 1865
Guy writes to his father about a pony, which his uncle Charles H. Howard and a former slave, George Washington Kemp, had delivered about two weeks before.
Lizzie Howard to Oliver Otis Howard, February 26, 1865
Lizzie Howard writes her husband, commenting on war news the family has received about Gen. William Sherman's campaign and relating family activities, including mention of George Washington "Wash" Kemp, a former slave who was living at Leeds to aid Howard's mother, Eliza Gilmore.
Oliver Otis Howard to James Howard, April 9, 1865
Howard writes to son James about camp life, mentioning a "great number of little black children papa has seen," and draws a picture of them. He also mentions former slaves whom Howard had sent to Maine to be of service to the Howard family.

Reconstruction Period (including Freedmen’s Bureau)

Frederick Douglass to Oliver Otis Howard, July 13, 1870
Douglass writes on the subject of race and religion, responding to Howard’s query as to whether "slavery was abolished by Devine or human intervention."
Mary Ann Shadd Cary to Oliver Otis Howard, March 3, 1871
Abolitionist, activist, journalist, and educator Mary Ann Shadd Cary writes to Howard regarding financial hardships while a law student at Howard University, citing one reason being "women's salary for men's work."
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain to Oliver Otis Howard, February 23, 1872
Chamberlain provides a character reference for a young man, presumably with regards to Howard University.
Sojourner Truth to Oliver Otis Howard, December 23, [1873]
Truth writes to Howard about racial persecution and her recent travels.
Charles B. Purvis to Oliver Otis Howard, July 29, 1874
Purvis, one of the first African-American physicians trained in a college setting, writes to Howard thanking him for his help.
Booker T. Washington to Oliver Otis Howard, January 10, 1882
Washington asks Howard to become a trustee of a new school.

Western Command

Charles Jackson to Oliver Otis Howard, February 15, 1875
Jackson, a young soldier from Maine, is in trouble and writes to Howard for help.
Rev. Henry W. Stratton to Oliver Otis Howard, May 22, 1876
Stratton writes about his congregation and the YMCA that Howard has founded in Portland, Oregon.
John B. Monteith to Oliver Otis Howard, March 19, 1877
Indian Agent Montieth urges Howard to come talk to Chief Joseph about the Nez Perce relocation.
T.W. Osborn to Oliver Otis Howard, October 24, 1877
A friend offers advice to Howard on how to conduct himself in the face of criticism of his Nez Perce Campaign.
William T. Sherman to Oliver Otis Howard, December 12 1877
Sherman denies Howard’s request for a leave to travel east and discusses his views on Native American issues.
James H. Wilbur to Oliver Otis Howard, June 28, 1880
Wilbur reports on the status of relations with Yakama Indians.
Chief Joseph to Oliver Otis Howard, June 30, 1880
Nez Perce Chief Joseph writes to Howard stating "You are always feeling kind towards the Indians," then cites death on the reservation and expresses the need for change.