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F. I. Shipman Letter

Identifier: Ms-1988-033

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a single letter written by a Union soldier to his father, J. W. Shipman. Although the letter has been attributed to "F. I. Shipman," it is much more likely that the writer was Frederick E. Shipman, of the 52nd New York Infantry (see biographical/historical note). Writing from Petersburg, Virginia, Shipman notes that the replacement of "Beast Butler" with Sheridan has brought cheer to the army and that he hopes the II Corps will be transferred to Sherman, so that he can "see the country." Shipman discusses the prospects for peace and tells his father that the soldiers at the front don't get the war news any sooner than the civilians receive it through the newspapers. He complains that he has not received his pay and that "Abe" owes him nearly eighty dollars. He briefly discusses his regiment, noting that "our Col is a Jew the rest of our officers are dutch men," before moving into personal matters. Shipman asks his father to send postage stamps and mentions personal acquaintances and relatives.


  • 1865


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Although this letter has long been attributed to "F. I. Shipman," the writer can much more likely be identified as Frederick E. Shipman, of the 52nd New York Infantry. Several clues in Shipman's letter suggest the connection: the provided name for his father, J. W. Shipman; the mention of "Montrose;" the identification of his unit as either the "32nd" or "52nd;" the identification of "McDugal" as brigade commander and General "Humphrey" as corps commander; and the admonition for "Harry to be a good boy."

Frederick E. Shipman, son of Joseph William and Mary P. Slocum Shipman, was born in Pennsylvania on June 12, 1845. The 1850 and 1860 census records show him living with his parents in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Shipman married in the 1860s, and he and his wife, Eveline (1844-1904), appear to have had at least three children: Harry, Lillian, and Willie. During the Civil War, Frederick E. Shipman served in Company A, 151st Pennsylvania Infantry, a nine-month regiment, with Company A organized in Susquehanna County. Following that regiment's mustering out, records indicate that Shipman served in the 52nd New York Infantry, enlisting as a private and being discharged as a corporal when the regiment mustered out in 1865. Postwar census records show that Shipman returned to Susquehanna County after his discharge and lived in Montrose, working as a farmer. Frederick E. Shipman died July 29, 1892, and was buried in Montrose Cemetery.

The 52nd New York Infantry was organized in New York City in August, 1861. In November, the regiment departed for duty in the defense of Washington, D. C., where it remained until the following spring, when it participated in the Peninsula Campaign. (In April, the regiment became attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps, to which it would remain attached for the duration of the war. By 1865, 3rd Brigade was commanded by Bvt. Brigadier General Clinton D. MacDougall, under II Corps, commanded by Major General Andrew A. Humphreys.) The 52nd also participated in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House, among others. The regiment also participated in the Appomattox Campaign at the end of the war, and it was mustered out at Alexandria, Virginia on July 25, 1865.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


Letter from Union soldier, writing from Petersburg, Virginia, to his father. The letter mentions prospects for peace, the activities of his regiment, and personal news.

Source of Acquisition

The F. I. Shipman Letter was purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 1988.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the F.I. Shipman Letter by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing and description of the F. I. Shipman Letter commenced and was completed in April, 2021.

F. I. Shipman Letter, 1865
John M. Jackson
2021 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-21: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
  • 2021-03-11: LM Rozema added missing notes for an unprocessed collection, added FA title and filing titles, added FA date from EAD, and added component with instances previously attached to collection level.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US