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Samuel G. Bowdlear and Austin C. Wellington correspondence

 Collection — Container: MS 3929
Call Number: MS 3929

Scope and Contents

The Samuel G. Bowdlear and Austin C. Wellington correspondence spans the years 1862 to 1865 and contains 106 letters between Samuel Bowdlear and Austin Wellington (27 from Wellington and 79 from Bowdlear).

Samuel G. Bowdlear’s letters document life in Boston, Massachusetts during the Civil War, including local sentiment in Boston regarding national events and local news. His letters also describe the locations of businesses, meeting halls, fires, parades, and processions as well as updates on troop movements, battles, local elections, and draft riots in Boston.

Austin Wellington's letters document his experiences during the Siege of Port Hudson, skirmishes in Louisiana, and battles in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Wellington describes camp life, travel, illness, and interactions with enemy soldiers. The letters also illustrate his first encounters with plantations and slavery, African American troops, and the living conditions of Southern men and women.


  • 1862-1865


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical


1813 - Bowdlear born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1840 - Wellington born in Lexington, Massachusetts.

1856-1862 - Wellington serves as apprentice at Bowdlear & Green, Flour Merchants.

1862-1865 - Bowdlear begins correspondence with Wellington.

1862 - Wellington leaves Boston with the 38th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers.

1863 - Wellington is promoted to Sergeant. Fights in a battle near Camp Opelousas, Louisiana. Participates in the siege and surrender of Port Hudson, Louisiana. Receives promotion to Second Lieutenant.

1864 - Moves with regiment to Alexandria, Virginia. Is commissioned to First Lieutenant.

1865 - Marches with General Sheridan to Savannah. Returns to Massachusetts and is mustered out of service.

1872 - Bowdlear dies in Boston.

1888 - Wellington dies in Cambridge.


106 Items

Language of Materials



The material is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from B.& L. Rootenberg Fine and Rare Books

Related Materials

Related collections in this library:

20th Regiment Collection.

William C. Babcock correspondence, MS 3269.

Nathaniel P. Banks, MS Am. 1873.

Selina Bond correspondence, MS Eng. 483.

Records of the Recruiting Committee of Ward 9, MS 2131.

Superintendent of Recruiting, MS 3880.

Samuel Everett Hunt correspondence, MS 3311.

Correspondence regarding Southern citizens and African American troops, MS 1476.

William A. Barrows Civil War correspondence, MS 3286.

Joseph F. Dean letters, MS Am. 551.

City Plans Index (1850-1895).

Horace Killam correspondence, MS 3967.

Ropes Civil War letters, 20th Cab. 7.2.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Guide to the Samuel G. Bowdlear and Austin C. Wellington Correspondence
Laura Hoff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2011-10: Finding aid updated by BPL staff.
  • 2024-04-24: To comply with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) Version 2019.0.3, Crystal Rodgers, Archivist, adjusted the following field(s): extent number, finding aid date, scope and contents note, arrangement note, processing information note, revision date, revision description, and related materials, and created the following field(s): EAD ID, and finding aid author.

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