About this Collection
The records of the Confederate States of America span the years 1854-1889, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1861-1865, during the Civil War in America. The collection relates to the formation of the government of the Confederacy and the conduct of its internal, external, and military affairs. With few exceptions, the collection consists of official or semiofficial records generated by departments of the Confederate government and their agents. The departments of state, justice, treasury, navy, war, and the post office are represented, along with material relating to the president, congress, and constitution. The collection is arranged in eleven series.
Most numerous are the records of the Department of State (once known as the “Pickett Papers”) containing correspondence exchanged for most of the period between Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin and departmental agents and diplomats abroad, particularly those stationed in Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Mexico. The records are supplemented by the inclusion of the James Wolcott Wadsworth Collection of similar material. Other records of the department relate to administrative and financial affairs, passports, pardons, appointments to office, applications for office, and maritime and domestic affairs of the Confederacy.
The records of the treasury and post office departments are chiefly concerned with subordinate offices. The records of the War Department contain early correspondence of the secretary of war, general orders, strength returns, muster rolls, and quartermaster records. Justice Department material consists of records of Confederate courts in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Proclamations, messages, and other papers of President Jefferson Davis, acts and resolutions of the Confederate congress, material relating to the constitution and secession, and miscellaneous items complete the collection. A Miscellany series includes documents relating to the state governments of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, printed and published material covering the statues and proclamations of the Confederate government, and blank official forms.
Much of the material in the War Department series was received in 1921 from descendants of Confederate officers. The Additions series consists of several miscellaneous groups of records formerly organized under separate headings. The material consists chiefly of Confederate financial bonds.
Correspondence of many of the leading officials of the Confederate States of America appears in the records. In addition to the dominant figure, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, other correspondents include Bolling Baker, G. T. Beauregard, Clement C. Clay, Lewis Conger, Jefferson Davis, Edwin DeLeon, Anthony J. Guirot, Charles J. Helm, Lewis Heyliger, Henry Hotze, L. Q. C. Lamar, A. Dudley Mann, James M. Mason, Christopher G. Memminger, John T. Pickett, John A. Quintero, John H. Reagan, Raphael Semmes, John Slidell, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, Jacob Thompson, William H. Trescott, LeRoy P. Walker, and William Lowndes Yancey.