Chester A. Arthur Correspondence

These 23 recently discovered documents represent a unique look into the military career of President Chester Arthur, when he served the state of New York as Quartermaster General and Inspector General during the Civil War.

Very little is known of Arthur during this timeframe. A day before his death, he instructed all his personal papers to be destroyed. It is unknown how or why these documents avoided destruction, however I do have one theory. Chester Arthur’s desk, which he used when he was Quartermaster General is currently in the presidents office at Union College. Arthur’s Alma Mater. According to an interview, which can be viewed here: Presidents In Our Backyard -- Chester Arthur Clip #2

The old folklore is that the hidden compartments on either side of the desk were used as wine racks. If one looks closely at the folds in these documents, they match up almost identical to those slots. It’s quite possible that these documents were hidden away in that desk and were forgotten about by Arthur after he left office in 1862. Its hard to say when these documents were discovered in the desk, removed and just forgotten about.

These documents are well worthy of further research. They could provide insight into small areas such as an individual unit and how officers were promoted to providing possible new evidence as to his exact times he served and in what capacity. Some documents such as the letters from Col. Zook, definitely show he was more involved than what he has been given credit for over the years. A new chapter has just opened up. Enjoy!

-Sam Snyder, donor of the digitial copies

Letter 1: Pertaining to bills incurred for mustering in a unit, from Nelson? - 3 OCT 1861
Letter 2: From John A. Kennedy, superintendent of the metropolitan police - 17 DEC 1861
Letter 3: Special Order No. 141 pertaining to Andrew J. Constantine, 4th NYVI - 28 MAY 1862
Letter 4: Letter for Executive Department (L. [Lockwood] Doty), Albany, concerning Henry Bischoff - 23 JUN 1862
Letter 5: To "Friend Arthur" from R. G. Folkz about a position in the quartermaster's office - 25 JUN 1862
Letter 6: From S. C. Bull in relation to the application of Mr. Follett for a situation - 3 JUL 1862
Letter 7: Letter from E. D. Morgan (Edwin D., Governor of New York) to the Supervisor of the Town of Solon in Cortland County requesting recruits - 10 JUL 1862
Letter 8: Letter from the executive department in Albany (Col. Thomas Arden) requesting a clerk position for ? - 15 JUL 1862
Letter 9: Letter from Capt. J. J. Rider requesting a leave of absence - 31 JUL 1862
Letter 10: Letter from R. F. Follett requesting employment - 7 AUG 1862
Letter 11: From Wallace requesting Arthur store some trunks for him - 20 AUG 1862
Letter 12: From Executive department, Albany (Linsby?) acknowledging receipt of letters - 8 SEP 1862
Letter 13: From Thorndike Saunders requesting a field position - 16 SEP 1862
Letter 14: From "Chum" regarding employment for Halsey Curtis
Letter 15: From Cheever asking influence in obtaining a commission for Charles Emerson - 10 OCT 1862.
Letter 16: From Col. Samuel Zook. - 14 OCT 1862.
Letter 17: From Col. Samuel Zook. - 19 OCT 1862.
Letter 18: From R. B. Connolly asking that Arthur find employment for Karlin? - 28 OCT 1862.
Letter 19: Forwarded to Arthur from Geoff Parker. Letters he received from F. Seward Jr. and J. Wade Wilson - 31 OCT 1862.
Letter 20: From Parker explaining the letters he forwarded - 5 NOV 1862.
Letter 21: From Henry P. Hubbell, 3rd NYVI, about vacancies in his regiment - 4 NOV 1862.
Letter 22: Transportation pass for Ambrose Faust, 130th PA Inf. - 30th DEC 1862.
Letter 23: General Orders No. 44, regarding Lt. Col. Julius Hayden, US Army 10th Infantry. 11 NOV 1863.