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Thomas Vance Papers - MS 1117
The Thomas Vance Papers consists of nine letters from the American Civil War along with other related materials. The donation and transfer of these records to the Center for Archival Collections was arranged through the cooperation of Steven J. Smith of Puyallup, Washington on April 8, 2009. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was completed by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in May 2009.
Thomas Vance was born around 1847 in Millwood, Guernsey County, Ohio to Thomas and Anne Vance who had a farm there. According to the 1850 Census he had two sisters, Mary A. and Sarah E. and two brothers, James and Asa. Lying about his age, Thomas enlisted in the 69th OVI Company I at the age of 15 (given as 16 on his muster). He served throughout the war and mustered-out on 19 Apr 1865 at Goldsboro, NC.
After the war, in 1872 he became a Protestant Minister and in 1879 he married Melvina Elam, eventually having a family of 5 children and settling in Santa Ana, California. He was admitted to the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Sawtelle, California at the age of 83 on May 24, 1930 and died sometime later. He was buried in Fairhaven Cemetery, Santa Ana, California.
The Thomas Vance Papers consist of nine letters (with scanned copies and typed transcripts) from the American Civil War, along with related background and printed materials. The letters dating between April 8, 1862 and April 3, 1864 were written to his family by Vance while serving with Company I, 69th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. During his period of service the 69th saw action at Gallatin against Morgan (mentioned in the letter of September 5, 1862) and in such battles as Stones River at Murfreesboro, Tennessee (referred to in the letters of December 18, 1862 and January 8, 1863), Chickamauga (the 69th was primarily employed as a train guard during battle as mentioned in the letter of September 28, 1863, written when at Chattanooga after the battle), and was involved in the Atlanta campaign during the period after the letters.
The letters also mark the progress as Thomas grew and matured during his period of service, starting at age 15 and mustering-out around when he was 18. His style of writing started out in 1862 with no capitalization and just short little “sentences”. By the last letter in 1864, while his spelling and punctuation were still erratic, his comments were more astute and his style smoother. Some points of interest mentioned in the letters include foraging, troop strength and movements, impressions of the country, and his own situation related to pay, getting mail, and references to people at home and soldiers in the regiment known to his family.
Transcripts have been made of the letters, retaining the spelling of the originals but inserting punctuation to improve readability.
Personal correspondence from Thomas Vance to his father or his sisters, with original letters, scanned copies, and typed transcripts
Photocopy of Vance’s service file and an undated clipping of his obituary
Photocopy of a scanned image of Thomas Vance, around the time he enlisted
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sisters (original), April 8, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sisters (scan and transcript), April 8, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sister (original), May 14, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sister (scan and transcript), May 14, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sisters (original), Sept 5, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sisters (scan and transcript), Sept 5, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Father (original), Nov 9, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Father (scan and transcript), Nov 9, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Father (original), Dec 15, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Father (scan and transcript), Dec 15, 1862
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sisters (original), Jan 8, 1863
- Thomas Vance to Dear Sisters (scan and transcript), Jan 8, 1863
- Thomas Vance to Respected Sister (original), Aug 16, 1863
- Thomas Vance to Respected Sister (scan and transcript), Aug 16, 1863
- Thomas Vance to Respected Sister (original), Sept 1863
- Thomas Vance to Respected Sister (scan and transcript), Sept 1863
- Thomas Vance to Respected Sister (original), April 3, 1864
- Thomas Vance to Respected Sister (scan and transcript), April 3, 1864
- Envelopes, 1862-1864
- Biographical material, 1862-1932?
- Photograph, 1862
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