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William Taylor Correspondence

Identifier: Mss. Acc. 1992.18

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Scope and Contents

Letters, September 1862 through October 1864, from Captain William Taylor, a soldier in the Pennsylvania Regiment during the American Civil War. The letters were written from camps in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, and Maryland to his wife Jane McKnight Taylor. Included are his descriptions of the Battle of Fredericksburg, the shelling of Vicksburg, the fighting, retreat, and siege outside of Knoxville, the siege of Petersburg, and the Petersburg mine explosion and assault.

Ralph G. Poriss transcribed the letters prior to 1997. According to the processor of the collection, there are small errors in the transcriptions and users should verify items of crucial evidence against the original letters. Further information from the transcriber is available in the finding aid/inventory linked below. The transcriptions are available online with links to PDF versions (below) and Taylor's letters are arranged on a map available at:

A note included with the collection of letters from Taylor's nephew notes that these letters were written to Jane Morrison Taylor, William's wife. In another place, her maiden name is denoted as McKnight. The note also states that John Wallace Morrison started a book from these letters, but never finished it.

Taylor often numbered his letters in order to keep track of them. Number 114 (Box 3, Folder 4, letter 142) is dated March 22, 1864, but probably dates from April 22, 1864. Had this letter been written on March 22, it logically would have been numbered No. 109. Taylor also dated several letters 1865, but their context and content indicate that they were written in 1864.

Additionally, in a letter written on July 4, 1864 (Box 3, Folder 5, letter 147), Taylor indicates that he is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. However, he also states that his position has not changed since his last letter (Box 3, Folder 5, letter 146), which was written in Petersburg, Virginia.


  • Creation: 1862-1864

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

William Taylor was born in April 8, 1826 and enlisted as a private at North Liberty in Company G of the 100th Pennsylvania Regiment on August 31, 1861. While a soldier in the American Civil War, Taylor was stationed in camps throughout Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, and Maryland. Taylor was promoted to Sergeant on April 15, 1863, to First Lieutenant on July 23, 1864, to Second Lieutenant on May 2, 1864, and to Captain on October 4, 1864. Taylor was discharged from the service with a medical certificate November 13, 1864. Taylor often wrote home to his wife, Jane McKnight Taylor, during the war. Taylor died December 22, 1890 in Cambridge, NJ at the age of 64.


0.60 Cubic Feet

Acquisition Information:


Electronic Format:

Users are required to use the transcriptions for most research needs. Consult a staff member for details.

Related Materials:

The transcriptions of Taylor's letters arranged on a map were part of the Community Walk website which ceased in 2021,

Taylor's specific project URL:

Floppy disks from this collection have been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

Separated Materials:

All audiovisual material from this collection has been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

Processing Information:

Processed by William W. Moss and Ellen Strong during 1997-1998. Kaitlyn Gardy reformatted the transcriptions and made them available online in September-October 2009. Additions and corrections to collection desciption made by Austin W. Smith in September 2010.

Guide to the William Taylor Correspondence
Finding Aid Authors: William W. Moss, 1997; Ellen Strong, 1998; Austin W. Smith, 2010.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository