Lord (T. Ellery) Papers. 1853-1889.

Summary Information

New York State Historical Association – Research Library
T. Ellery Lord Papers
Coll. No. 352
Date [inclusive]
1.5 Cubic feet
Funding Source
This finding aid was made available electronically through a Regional Bibliographic Data Bases (RBDB) grant from the South Central Regional Library Council, Ithaca, N.Y.

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Biographical/Historical note

T. Ellery (Theodore Ellery) Lord was born on Dec. 18, 1841 to Sarah J. and Theodore S. Lord of Albany, N.Y. He enrolled in the Union Army at Albany on April 20, 1861, mustering in as second lieutenant of Company F of the 3rd Regiment of the New York State Volunteers. He became first lieutenant on Aug. 9, 1861, then Captain of Co. E. on March 21, 1863, and was made a major on June 1, 1865. Lord also received brevets as lieutenant-colonel, colonel, and brigadier general for gallantry, before mustering out in November of 1865. While a first lieutenant, Lord served on court martial numerous times, often acting as judge advocate, as well as being acting regimental quartermaster from June 1862 to March 1863. Lord continued his association with the Army for most of his life, holding a position in the 9th Brigade staff until December 29, 1879, and as commander of the 5th Brigade from January 1, 1880 until November 25, 1882.

After the war, Lord returned to Albany and worked for L. Thomas and Co., a lumber firm. He married twice, but does not appear to have had any children. The name of the first wife and the date of their marriage are not recorded in this collection. His second wife was Janet Louise Scott, of Hull, Quebec. Lord died at the age of 45, on September 10, 1886 of a “protracted illness.”

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Scope and Content Note

The T. Ellery Lord Papers consist primarily of material relating to Lord’s military service in the Civil War, 1861-1865. The collection is divided into two parts, personal papers, including letters and diaries, and official papers. During his years in the army, Lord wrote to his parents on a weekly basis describing living conditions, social activities, and battles, and stating his opinions about politics, generals, the course of the war, Southerners, and African Americans.

Two diaries, dated 1864 and 1865, contain sporadic entries briefly recording daily activities in camp, and sometimes expressing feelings about women he is interested in. One folder of miscellaneous letters and papers, 1865-1886, contains Lord’s honorable discharge from the army on Sept. 18, 1865, a bullet, his marriage contract with Janet Louse Scott, letters of condolence for the death of his father, Theodore S. Lord, and obituary notices for T. Ellery Lord and Theodore S. Lord.

T. Ellery Lord’s official papers include papers relating to court martials between September 1, 1861 and March 1863, and papers relating to the distribution of clothing, equipment, provisions, and ordnance, for which Lord was responsible as acting regimental quartermaster. There are also receipts, invoices, vouchers, and returns from a commissary in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which do not have any clear connection to Lord’s responsibilities.

Also in this collection are five letters addressed to members of the Reid family of Virginia, 1853-1859. Three of the letters are addressed to Miss Fanny (or Fannie) Reid, who appears to be in her late teens or early twenties. There is no clear connection between the Reids and T. Ellery Lord revealed in the collection.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

New York State Historical Association – Research Library

Special Collections
P.O. Box 800, 5798 State Highway 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
(607) 547-1470


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Accession Numbers

NM-253.44, NM-029.77, NM-052.77

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Calendar of Selected Letters Written by T. Ellery Lord

Jan. 11, 1861 Ft. McHenry, Md., to Mother. Mother wants him to stop drinking; he has not been paid since Oct. 30.
March 19, 1861 Ft. McHenry, Md., to Mother and Father. Ft. Mc H. is the dullest of dull places.
May 27, 1861 Camp Anderson (N.Y.C.), to Father and Mother. He attended Col. Ellsworth’s funeral; he has taken Thomas for a servant; promises to shoot only the enemy but states that he has to load his gun when ordered to.
June 1, 1861 Camp Anderson (N.Y.C.), to F & M (Father & Mother). He will be off tomorrow; has been busy all day changing muskets for Enfield rifles.
June 5, 1861 Fortress Monroe, to F & M. Still aboard ship; had a stormy and unpleasant trip.
June 9, 1861 Ft. Monroe, to F & M. He is in the advance guard and will do all the skirmishing; a prize sloop was brought in yesterday; beautiful place, fine land; slaves running in every direction, many bring food to soldiers; describes the camp as a beautiful sight; men in good spirits.
June 11, 1861 Camp Hamilton, to F & M. Day after the battle – describes events leading to battle, map included, concludes “we learned we had suffered from a severe mistake as we had been fighting our own men,” describes his reaction, “I could not have been cooller [sic] if sitting down to breakfast as the company broke I rushed forward bringing my men with me.”
June 13, 1861 Camp Hamilton, to F & M. He has been on detached duty building a battery; his regiment is in very good shape; met some friends from home.
June 18, 1861 Camp Hamilton, to F & M. He has been on picket duty; he has been very much honored by being detailed to build a bridge; he made friends with a southern farm family; describes a former slave who is working his master’s farm on his own hook.
June 21, 1861 Headquarters, 3d Regiment, to F & M. Tells them not to believe one half of the things they see in the paper; they (the 3rd Regiment) are as comfortable as they can be.
June 26, 1861 Camp Hamilton, to F & M. Tells his parents there is no danger of his being reduced in rank as, “there is not an officer in the regt. thought more of by both officers and men than your humble servant.” The last time he was on picket duty he was the bearer of dispatches riding a secession horse to Gen. Butler; describes his regiment as a happy family.
June 27, 1861 Camp Hamilton, to F & M. He is busy and happy.
June 30, 1861 [no salutation]. Asks that they do all they can to get him a commission; gambling is not allowed in camp; writes about Stearn who, “kept himself out of danger as much as fences, trees, ditches &c could assist him so to do. he has been guilty of the meanest, most disgraceful, ungentlemanly things imaginable.”
July 8, 1861 Camp Hamilton, to F & M. Col. Townsend is leaving the regt. This may result in T.E.L.’s being made 1st Lt. in Capt. Smith’s company, which will “suit me to a T.” He has been a member of a court martial; he was never more healthy; he is behind in his correspondence, especially to the young ladies; he was officer of the guard last night and could not sleep, “for the safety of the camp is entrusted to” this officer.
Aug. 8, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He has rec’d official notice of his promotion and is very gratified; describes his tent so they will know how nice it is – he lives in it “as happy as princes” – mentions men singing.
Aug. 22, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He is very satisfied with his pistol; he will try to get a furlough next month.
Sept. 1, 1861 Hdqr., 3d Regt., NYV., to F & M. His regt. is the best of the volunteer regts. – approaches the regular service; he is afraid they will spend the rest of the war garrisoning the fort; tells his parents not to hesitate to use the money he sends home.
Sept. 9, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He is officer of the guard; he has been reading Great Expectations and enjoyed it; he has had a very pleasant trip to Washington; tells about an escaped prisoner and asks to be remembered – to all the young ladies.
Sept. 20, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. Nothing new, nothing exciting; he can not get a furlough.
Sept. 27, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. No news.
Oct. 3, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. At present he is the commander of Co. I and is working on the books; their regiment is splendid and improving every day.
Oct. 5, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He can not get a furlough; he is disappointed that they are not in action, “we all came to thrash the rebels, we are all anxious to help do it instead of staying here to garrison a little old fashioned fort.”
Oct. 11, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to Mother. She has heard some false reports; he would get a furlough if possible.
Oct. 15, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He is glad they are using the money he sent to send Charlie to military school.
Oct. 20, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to Mother. He has just returned from Washington; he will be happy to have his thick drawers in about 6 weeks; he never felt better in his life; he will always try to do right and there is not the least probability of his getting into trouble.
Nov. 10, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. Today has been an unusually dull day even in this dull place; he has a nice little stove in his tent; describes various types of stoves.
Nov. 15, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He thinks the Union forces would be more successful if they would let the 3rd take part in some battles.
Nov. 22, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to Father and Mother. He would like a commission.
Dec. 3, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. Received a box from home, he and his friends enjoyed it; he has moved into his winter quarters which are very comfortable; his room mate is a great friend of Gen. Dix; wants family to use money he sent home to go to skating park.
Dec. 8, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. Same old story, day after day.
Dec. 15, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. Several of the girls he has been writing to are engaged, it “is not a pleasant thing to think of;” he likes Gen. Dix’s daughter very much.
Dec. 19, 1861 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He wants his parents to buy presents for the boys, he will send money; weather is warm; he is perfectly happy.
Jan. 15, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to Father. Expects to be able to come home by February 1.
Jan. 15, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. He tries to write every week, not much to write about.
Jan. 18, 1862 Ft. Monroe, Va., to Father. He is acting quartermaster; “if there is ever any fighting to be done by us I could not let it be said that I was satisfied to remain behind, no indeed not I … I never knew till I left home what a lively interest I felt in every one there.”
Jan. 26, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, to F & M. It is nearly 3 months since they were paid; he hopes to be able to come home soon, expects to be moved out in a month or so and wants to see his family first, “& then I can go feeling perfectly contented to go wherever the Government most needs me.”
Feb. 2, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, to F & M. Still doesn’t know about furlough; he is on guard and has nearly 100 prisoners in his charge; he has been paid.
Feb. 13, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to Father. Still hoping to be home soon; tells parents not to blame him for not coming as, “An officer … is little better than a slave – in fact they are worst for if they dare to raise a hand or even murmer [sic] against their superiors a punishment ten thousand times worse than whiping [sic] awaits them.”
Feb. 27, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. [back in camp after his furlough] Regt. has been ordered to be ready to move.
March 2, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to Mother. His furlough seems like a beautiful dream; “We are all feeling rather blue to think that we can not have a chance to win glory and fame when there are so many different Regts winning a name. The old 3d is a splendid Regt … and all we need is a chance to make her [sic] stand first … in battle & the last to retreat [see letter of June 11, 1861]. Great Bethel is a sore spot in the breast of every one of us & we … are anxious to redeem the character of the old 3d even if it should cost us all our lives.” Assures mother he is not engaged.
March 9, 1862 Ft. Mc Henry, Md., to F & M. They were ordered to prepare for action against a Confederate ship, “every gun in the Fort is loaded and sided and in five minutes notice we could open with between sixty and seventy guns.” Had a hanging last Friday; the secessionists in Baltimore are perfectly wild tonight.
March 30, 1862 Head Quarters, Ft. Marshall, to F & M. Describes fort (diagram) situated on a hill with a view of the surrounding country for miles around.
April 6, 1862 Head Quarters, Ft. Marshall, to F & M. He is very pleasantly situated but would rather be in the field.
April 28, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to F & M. Another pleasant post; no news.
May 4, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to F & M. They put down a mutiny in a Maryland Regt. & arrested the ring leaders, the Regt will never get justice while Col. Alford has his commission; Capt. Jones is in Washington and had an interview with “Abram”, don’t know the results; the officers have drawn up a petition to be moved into the field.
May 11, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to M & F. He has been busy acting as Adjutant and sitting on a General Court Martial; describes rebel wounded at Fort; mentions petition again; describes the Lt. Col. as a coward.
May 19, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to M & F. Answers mother’s questions about his health.
May 26, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to M & F. About affairs in Baltimore, rumors, etc.
June 2, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to F & M. Anxious about Battle around Richmond; Baltimore is alive with NYS Militia; Gen. Dix ordered to Ft. Monroe, T.E.L. hopes 3rd will go there also.
June 5, 1862 Ft. Federal Hill, to F & M. Leaving tomorrow for Ft. Monroe; advises brother not to enlist as a private.
June 14, 1862 Camp Arthur, near Suffolk, Va., to Brothers. Describes trip down Chesapeake Bay (truly delightful); they travelled to, “the heart of seccessia” (Norfolk – a forsaken place where the ladies made a desparate effort to keep out of our way; marched to Portsmouth, a distance of 22 miles, part of the way thru the Dismal Swamp, greeted along the way by grinning slaves; “Suffolk is like all Southern places … nearly deserted except by Blacks;” it is difficult to buy things with their money, “we have only three square meals a day, so called from the shape of the hard bread made for the exclusive use of the army;” asks mother to make and send 2 pairs of drawers; sends some confederate money home.
June 22, 1862 Camp Arthur, near Suffolk, Va., to F & M. Camp life is monotonous; complains about hardness of hard tack; describes “a big buck niger” on being questioned he said “dese yere people bout yer haint got no sense & you cant spect nigers to had no sense.”
June 26, 1862 Camp Arthur, near Suffolk, Va., to Mother. Tells her he is not in debt, has not been drinking and is not dissipated; sends $50 for a present for Julia and the rest for mother.
July 2, 1862 Camp Arthur, near Suffolk, Va., to Father. They have their marching orders; he is sending his trunk home.
July 13, 1862 Camp Arthur, to F & M. Disappointed to still be in Suffolk; praises Gen. McClellan.
July 20, 1862 Camp Arthur, to Mother. He is not engaged to Bella or anyone else; tells about the case of an arrested officer, “there is no whys and wherefores in the Army, but it is obey all orders and ask no questions … I do not drink at all;” he tries to live by 2 rules, “what is morrely [sic] right and what is strictly honorable.”
July 26, 1862 Camp Arthur, to F & M. Dreadfully hot; country can be described in 2 words – forests and swamps; describes plantations; re: promotion (undeserved) for Lt. Kohly, a friend of Genl. Dix; asks parents to intercede with Gov.; needs the drawers badly.
Aug. 9, 1862 Camp Arthur, to F & M. Apparently Kohly got the promotion, “It is true that this affair caused some hard feelings between Kohly and I but that will soon pass over as we are both in the same regiment. We manage to live tolerable well, not having pork and beans MORE THAN SEVEN DAYS OUT OF THE WEEK;” mosquitoes very large; asks about father’s lumber business.
Aug. 18, 1862 Camp Arthur, to F & M. Needs pants; does not like abolitionists (he is not fighting to free the Negroes but to preserve the Union).
Aug. 23, 1862 Camp Arthur, to Father. He has been president of a Ct. Martial, has been studying military and martial law; hopes the war will soon be over, but as long as it lasts considers it his duty to serve his country.
Aug. 27, 1862 Camp Arthur, to F & M. Rumor has it that a large force of Rebels is in the vicinity – he is anxious to meet them in battle; includes a poem; questions value of some army policy.
Sept. 2, 1862 Camp Arthur, to F & M. Received pants, they are just right; wishes to be in action; still president of Ct. Martial, “we have been dealing out justice so long that we begin to look as serious as judges.”
Sept. 7, 1862 Camp Arthur, to Father. Writes about Gen. T_____y who, “is a rank abolitionist – one of the Greely stamp. He has got a niger preacher with him who struts about town in grand style much to the disgust of all the troops as well as the citizens … thanks to Abe there are very few fanatical men in power in the army and it is a good thing for they are more apt to think of the welfare of the poor nigers than of the country and of the freeing of ‘sambo’ than of crushing the rebellion.”
Sept. 7, 1862 Camp Arthur, to Mother. Interesting description of camp activities after retreats.
Sept. 15, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. “I am almost ashamed to write home from this place” – too safe – “if our Col. tries to get orders to keep out of danger by favoring around Gen. Dix, it is not the fault of the line;” describes the fort; wants his trunk returned; he would like to be a major, feels he could fulfill the duties.
Sept. 23, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. “Mother, any advice which you may give me will always be taken kindly as well as relied upon;” he is reading Les Miserables and finds it very interesting.
Sept. 30, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. He hopes his father will not volunteer.
Oct. 4, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. His trunk arrived.
Oct. 12, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. He and Capt. Kohly rode to Gt. Bethel to stroll on the old battle field; describes graveyard at Camp Hamilton where men from both sides are buried.
Oct. 13, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother.
Oct. 18, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. Expresses his low opinion of Negroes; he is Judge Advocate of a General Court Martial, “and during court Hours I am both prosecuting attorney and counsel for the defense.”
Oct. 26, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Father. Describes fort under construction at Hampton Roads; urges father to visit him this winter.
Nov. 5, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. Mentions election between Wadsworth and Seymour; the weather; difficulty of getting mail and persons through the lines.
Nov. 10, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. Surprised to hear of McClellan’s removal, “the feeling seems to be unanimous that nothing but disaster to our arms will be the result … there is certainly a screw loose somewhere … it takes a rogue to catch a rogue and Lincoln is almost to [sic] honest.”
Nov. 19, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. They haven’t been paid for four months and there is no prospect of being paid; he is getting tired of paying additional postage on the letters he forwards South for their friends.
Nov. 25, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. No news; perfectly delightful weather.
Dec. 6, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. Details the way he spends his time; health is good; he describes the artillery as, “a beautiful science and a sublime study.”
Dec. 14, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. Wants father to buy a family ticket at the skating park as a present from him; he has been invited to call on 2 visiting young ladies.
Dec. 17, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Mother. Wants her to use some of his money for presents for father and the boys.
Dec. 21, 1862 Fort Monroe, to F & M. Writes about change in cabinet, “I really do not know what we are to do without the assistance of Seward;” garrison life is monotonous; he is now a man of 21 and wishes he could live some of his life over.
Dec. 28, 1862 Fort Monroe, to Father. Thanks for the beautiful present (a ring); he has been busy serving as Judge Advocate of a General Court Martial, Quartermaster of the regiment and Post Commissary of Subsistence; weather mild and pleasant; he will follow father’s advice.
Feb. 26, 1863 Fort Monroe, to Father. Encloses a pass for father from Baltimore to the Fort.
March 22, 1863 He has been appointed Captain of Co. E, 3rd Regt., NYSV and is busy reorganizing the company.
March 26, 1863 Fort Monroe, to Father. He is worried about affairs at home; he has about decided to stay in the service as he thinks it is the duty of every young man to serve his country.
April 12, 1863 Still at Ft. Monroe, Va., 0ld Point Comfore. Describes what he has heard of fighting around Williamsburg involving the 139th Regiment.
April 19, 1863 Fighting around Suffolk, he is anxious to go; describes the company’s favorite drummer boy.
July 6, 1863 Marching south.
July 11, 1863 Describes 3 day march during which he lost 10 pounds and is sore all over; describes area where they camped at Williamsburg.
July 31, 1863 On a steamer bound for an island near Charleston, S.C. He is not worried about going into battle.
Sept. 15, 1863 “The navy is a humbug, the monitors are the biggest humbug of the age.”
Jan. 8, 1864 Gen. Benj. Butler has been relieved because he abused his power and became a petty tyrant.
March 23, 1864 Promoted to Major.
June 25, 1864 Col. Alvord has been dishonorably dismissed.
Sept. 4, 1864 More about Beast Butler.
Sept. 1864 Letters concerned with the election.
Oct. 19, 1864 Reviews his action in battle.
Oct. 26, 1864 Start for Richmond tomorrow.
Dec. 26, 1864 Letter describes “burlesque dress parade” put on by the men.
April 13, 1865 Describes surrender of Lee to Grant, which he witnessed; refers to Southern families as “poor unfortunate creatures.”

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