Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Painter, Heber (fl. 1841-1900) Collection of Heber Painter, I company, 58th regiment, Pennsylvania, infantry [Decimalized .001-.182]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02016 Author/Creator: Painter, Heber (fl. 1841-1900) Place Written: [various places] Type: Header Record Date: 1860-1866 Pagination: 182 items

The collection mostly consists of correspondence from Painter to his aunt and sisters. His letters contain descriptions of camp life, his feelings towards slavery, and anti-Yankee sentiment in Virginia shortly after the war. More specifically he witnesses fighting between the Monitor and Merrimac, the Battle at Batchelder's Creek, the Battle of Fort Harrison/Chaffin's Farm, the fall of Richmond, and the Union occupation of Petersburg. A collection inventory is available.

Before joining the service, Painter was a trained printer from Danville, Pennsylvania. He was mustered as a private into F Company of the 58th Pennsylvania infantry on 8 October 1861 and transferred to I Company on 1 March 1862. While in I Company, he was promoted to Sergeant and eventually mustered out on 21 January 1866 as First Lieutenant. Painter also held a post as Quartermaster's clerk, and performed freedman duties shortly after the war ended.

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