Way down on a bottom shelf in our lower stacks, I found a box labeled “Peter Shearer Papers.” When I find a box like this, I have no idea what I’m going to find inside: deeds, report cards, diaries, even hair. In this box, I found the papers of the Peter Shearer, and a bunch of other Shearers, but that’s not what this blog is about. Not this week anyway.
Tucked in among all the Shearer papers, was an unrelated set of papers from the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry. Of this regiment’s ten companies, five were recruited in Montgomery County. It was led by Norristown’s own John F. Hartranft (a future governor of Pennsylvania). The papers come from the summer of 1865, just after the war ended and the regiment was mustering out in Alexandria, Virginia.
Here is an 1865 letter from Captain William F. Thomas listing supplies his company, Company C, received in 1864.
These are two lists of stores showing what Company C received from the Quartermaster, or in one case the “C. C. and G. E.” (if someone knows what that stands for, please let me know in the comments).
Finally, we have this great document that the men themselves signed or in a couple of cases left their mark. It lists the items each man received: sack coats, trousers, drawers, socks, bootees, and canteen.
All the papers concern Company C, so most likely the papers were saved by one of the men, perhaps even Captain Thomas himself. I have yet to find the record of how they came to the Historical Society.