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Connecticut Soldiers Collection

 Collection
Identifier: 1997-0101

Scope and Content

The collection, at present, contains several diaries and the papers of multiple servicemen active in the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and the war in Vietnam.

American Civil War

Lt. George William Allen, a member of the 15th Connecticut Volunteers, writes home from Virginia between 1862-1863.

Christopher Boon, of Westbrook, Connecticut, initially documents his activities in a Connecticut Regiment but after being wounded in May 1863 his diary recounts his days in the VR Corps Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, in two diaries covering April 1863 through 1864. Also includes receipts and manuscript documents from after the War.

Gurdon Robins, Jr., of Hartford, Connecticu, documents battle and camplife in 1863, followed by his experiences as a prisoner of war in Libby Prison. The diary also contains "My Own Common Place Book" with entries from 1835.

Captain Harlan P. Rugg of Winchester Center, Connecticut, maintained a lengthy diary account of his activities from 1861 through 1864, describing many of the major battles of the conflict.

John L. Sage from Cromwell, Connecticut served with Company D, 24th Connecticut Regiment. His diary includes entries from Louisiana and Mississippi dating from September 1862 through September 1863.

Charles H. Sears of Company C, 10th Connecticut Regiment, was born and raised in New Haven, CT. A carriage maker, Sears was present and involved in several major battles: Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, and others.

D. Alonzo Smith of Company C, 19th Connecticut Regiment. His diary begins with his enlistment in 1862 in Torrington, Connecticut, through 1864. He served, for at least a time, as a prison guard at Fort Ellsworth, Virginia.

World War I

Disability claim papers submitted by Nicola Fortunato and a records of a 1922 cruise of the light cruiser “U.S.S. New Orleans” provide some insight into the years after the war.

Ccorrespondence, notes and postcards document the activities of Pfc. George W. Hanford of Kensington, CT, a soldier in the medical corps of the 306th Field Artillery.

World War II

Linwood and Esther Aldrich lived in Norwich, Connecticut. Married in September 1942, Linwood Aldrich worked for the Thermos Bottle Company as a sealer and Esther was employed at the Lee and Osgood Company as a stenographer. At the time the correspondence begins in July 1943, Linwood (882nd Signal Co.) is based in New Orleans, Louisiana. In August, he transfers to the HQ Detachment, also in New Orleans. The Detachment is shipped out to England in November, only days before he was scheduled to have his first leave to visit home since entering the service. The last two months of the correspondence in the collection indicates that Aldrich was transferred to France in November 1944. The correspondence ends a month later.

Lil and Carl Davis lived in Hartford, CT, during World War II, and the collection consists of the letters they received from their sons, Rodney O. and Dewey, who were in the armed forces during the war. More is known of Rod, who enlisted in 1942 in the Navy, and served in the Atlantic and Pacific until he was discharged in 1945. He was a radio operator on the USS Hermitage. The collection also contains letters from nephews and friends serving in the war.

Yeoman 3rd Class Phillip C. Edwards of Norwich, CT served on the submarine “U.S.S. Sand Lance” during World War II. His papers consist of a scrapbook compiled by his wife, Virginia, plus a transcript of a 3 September 1945 letter describing the last cruise of the “Sand Lance” and memorabilia.

Philip and Hazel Greene, residents of Winsted, Connecticut, were married in circa 1940. Philip was employed by a local firm while Hazel worked for the town hall. During World War II, Philip was drafted into service and was awarded the Purple Heart. During the same time period Hazel served on the town's rationing board. The collection contains letters written to them between 1941 and 1947.

Memoir of Andrew John Robert Guttay and brief summary of the 104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, United States Army, tour of Europe in 1994 with an accompanying video recording (VHS).

Corporal Burton Ingraham served in the 3580th QM Company, U.S. Army and was stationed at Camp Polk, Louisiana before being shipped out to England and later France. The correspondence is primarly from Cpl. Ingraham to his wife, Gladys Forbes Ingraham ("Butch"), although there are also letters from Gladys' brother, Gerald Forbes and several other acquaintances. A small portion of the collection contains information about the Colt Plant in Hartford where Gladys was employed.

Materials pertaining to the Jamaica Ginger a B17G bomber of the 563rd Bomb Squadron, 388th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, which concluded its final flight at Bradley Field on 29 June 1945 are also included.

Memoir of Donald M. Kinsman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, entitled "Marine Corps Days: The World War II Experience." The document is dated November 1995.

Oral History of Robert D. Leavenworth. The document discusses Sgt. Robert D. Leavenworth's military service experience - between November 1943 and May 1945 - as a top turret gunner and engineer on a B-24 bomber during WW II. It includes his one year German Prison Camp experience at Stalag Luft IV near the Baltic Sea after his plane was shot down on a bombing raid over marshalling yards near Budapest, Hungary. A substantial portion of the document is devoted to the 600 mile Black Death March which started at the end of January 1945 when the German Prison Camp Commander ordered the prisoners to march West when the Russian troops were nearing the camp from the East. Included also are Bob's strong attitudes toward patriotism and the American flag. Bob died on Good Friday 2007 in Arizona.

The papers of Peter Lukoff, Company C, 48th Armor Infantry Battalion, of Norwich, Connecticut, date from April 1944 through June 1945. The bulk of the collection documents Lukoff's experiences from training in the United States (South Carolina) and his activities in France, Belgium, Germany and England. Also included are letters and cards from his wife, Alma, and two children, Philip and Barbara. Lukoff was wounded in action at the Battle of the Bulge and separated from his unit for a short period of time. Prior to his war service he was employed by the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company, Thames Branch.

Staff Sergeant Bernard C. Masopust of Southington and Thomston, Connecticut, served in the Marines and was stationed in Japan. The correspondence is dated 1945-1946 and covers the period after basic training and through his deployment and is primarily from "Barney" to his wife. In a unique tie to the University, Mr; Masopust's twin brother (mentioned in the letters) was a faculty member in the Horticulture Department for many years.

Corporal Filias J. Plourd of Hartford, CT, served primarily in the post office of the 260th Infantry. A noncombatant over the age of thirty-five, his letters were sent primarily to his brother, Launce.

The correspondence of Pvt. Robert N. Purcell to his wife (Jane) was a donation from Smith College to the collection. At the time of donation, it was not known where in (presumably) New England Purcell resided. The one address included in the correspondence (1943-1944), all from Robert to his wife, is directed to an address in Bronx, NY. Pvt. Purcell received his basic training for the Army at Ft. Dix, before being moved to Forts Shelby and McCain (Mississippi) before being shipped out to England and then France.

The most comprehensive portion of the collection to date is the correspondence of four brothers, Bernard J. Ward, Edward J. Ward, Robert F. Ward and Thomas P. Ward of Newington, Connecticut. All the correspondence is directed to Bernard “Bernie” or his wife, Louise. Of the four brothers, Bernie was the last to join the service during World War II and the only one to remain stateside for the duration. Bernie, who when writing to his wife signed his letters “Joe Joe”, joined the Navy in 1943, trained at the Naval Training Station in Sampson, New York, as was then stationed at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Eddie joined the Army in 1942 and received his basic training at Ft. McKinley (Maine). From there, the correspondence follows his experiences at the Fort Williams Radar School, continued training at Fort Monroe (Virginia) and his service in Australia and New Guinea. Robert was also in the Army, but his correspondence follows his service beginning at Fort Jackson (South Carolina), Camp Pickett in Virginia, by way of Louisiana and California, before shipping out to active duty in the Philippines. There are references in the letters to his wife, Ann and daughter, Pat who was born in 1944. Thomas Ward trained at the Naval Training Station in Rhode Island before he served in the Philippines on the U.S.S. Lovelace. The majority of the letters were written between 1943 and 1944.

Dexter Wilcomb served as Technician Third Grade and documents his time in Europe during WWII. Also in the collection are clippings from Army publications and war maps

Carl Viggiani was a member of a "Spearhead Military Government Team" attached to the 83rd Infantry Division during World War II. As the 83rd moved down toward the Elbe in April 1945, Viggiani's unit took over a Nazi official's home in Braunschweig for a night. Viggiani left Dachau two months after its liberation and never returned, although the memories of what he saw there have remained with him, as demonstrated by the article published in the Haddam, CT, paper (also included in the collection).

Dates

  • undated, 1809-2000

Access

The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.

History

The Connecticut Soldiers collection contains letters and papers documenting the experience of Connecticut servicemen active in the American Civil War through the Vietnam Wart. An artificial collection, additional materials are actively acquired and incorporated. The sources from which the papers were acquired are listed in the folders.

Extent

4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

An artificial collection, the Connecticut Soldiers Collection was created to provide a starting point for research concerning the experiences of Connecticut servicemen from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. The sources for the materials are provided in the collection.

Arrangement

The materials as part of this collection were originally maintained as a single collection. Acquisitions and donations to the collection of substantial collections that could support research independently have resulted in the reorganization and subdivision of this artificial collection. Although all the materials associated with this collection are described here, some of the series listed below are links to individual collections with their own finding aids.

The series numbers have not been assigned in any particluar order. Materials associated with the American Civil War include: Allen, Boon, Robins, Rugg, Sage, and Sears. World War I materials include: Fortunato and Hanford. World War II activities are included in: Aldrich, Antonucci, Edwards, Gambino, Guttay, Ingraham, Jamaica Ginger, Kinsman, Leavenworth, Lukoff, Plourd, Viggiani, and Ward. The Korean Conflict is documented in the Gambino Family Papers. The war in Vietnam is represented by the Lyons Collection.

Custodial History

The materials have been acquired by purchase and gift.

Acquisition Information

The materials have been acquired by purchase and gift.

Separated Material

The following materials have been separated from the collection and cataloged:

104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division. 50th Anniversary European Tour 1997-0101.vr1
Title
Connecticut Soldiers Collection
Status
Published
Author
Archives & Special Collections staff
Date
2002 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

Contact:
University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US