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William Henry Preston Papers

 Collection
Identifier: fairbanks-012

Scope and Content

The collection is made up primarily of letters to William Henry Preston from family and friends between 1861 and 1864. This correspondence includes letters from his mother, Mary Preston and two sisters Juliette and Mary. The letters from the Preston women are concerned with urging "Henry" to stay in school and not leave to join the army. They also contain family news meant to keep "Henry" up to date on events at home, talk of his brother Addison, and details of farm life in Danville. The letters from Addison Preston also deal with the idea of "Henry" finishing his schooling and include comments on Addison's experiences as he rises through the ranks of the 1st Vermont Cavalry Regiment. Addison Preston ultimately assumed the Colonelcy and command of that organization on April 29, 1864. Addison Preston's letters include a brief glimpse into the political workings of the cavalry arm of the Army of the Potomac. They list a veritable who's who of that service, including Generals George Custer, Judson Kilpatrick and John Buford. There is also a letter from a school-hood friend, William G. Cummings detailing Cummings experiences as a prisoner of war. The collection includes a typewritten story entitled "Willow ware" that does not seem to fit in with the rest of the items. Other documents in the collection include a letter from F.B Gage regarding a carte de visite, the will of Laura Perry, a canceled check from J.B. Armstrong and a postcard from Miss R.H. Gleason. The accession number for this collection is 3982. The materials are arranged chronologically.

Dates

  • 1861-1908

Language of Materials

English

Access:

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium Archives.

Biographical Note

William Henry Preston, Henry to his family, appears to have been a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire at the time of the Civil War. He came from the Preston family of Danville, Vermont. "Henry" was a younger brother to Addison Preston, who, during the course of the Civil War, rose to the command of the 1st Vermont Cavalry Regiment. Upon the death of Addison Preston in action at Hawe's Shop, Virginia, on June 03, 1864, General George Armstrong Custer is reported to have said that he was "The best cavalry colonel in the Army of the Potomac." It is unclear from the papers in the collection what William Henry Preston's dates of birth and death were.

Extent

.25 Linear Feet (23 folders, 3 oversized folders)

Overview

The collection is made up primarily of letters to William Henry Preston from family and friends between 1861 and 1864. This correspondence includes letters from his mother, Mary Preston and two sisters Juliette and Mary.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of these materials, please contact the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium Archives.

Acquisition Information

Mr. R.P. Preston, of Beaumont, California, presumably a descendent of William Henry Preston, gave the materials to the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in 1966.

Related Collections

The Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium Archives contain several additional collections and individual items that document Vermonter's experiences in the Civil War.
Title
Guide to the William Henry Preston papers, 1861- 1908 (bulk, 1861-1864)
Status
Completed
Author
Processor: Tony Pare & Peter H. Yarusewicz.
Date
2001
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the The Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium Archives. Repository

Contact:
1302 Main Street
St. Johnsbury Vermont 05819
802-748-2372