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Frank J. Bramhall Civil War collection

Call Number



1860-1867, inclusive


Bramhall, Frank J. (Role: Compiler)


2.09 Linear Feet in one manuscript box and one oversize box.

Language of Materials

English .


This collection contains materials relating to Brooklyn's military and public contributions to the Union cause during the American Civil War that were compiled in preparation for publication of a work documenting these efforts.

Historical Note

Following the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865), the War Fund Committee of the City of Brooklyn and County of Kings began to document the numerous aspects of local participation during the War. To this end, it undertook to publish a comprehensive account of these efforts, to be entitled Kings County in the War. This work planned to include the official record of each military unit from Kings County, the operations and activities of local commissions and aid societies, and reports of soldiers and others with first-hand accounts of battles, camp life, and prisons.

The Committee selected Frank J. Bramhall (1846-1907), Superintendent of the Naval Division of the Bureau of Military Record, and an author and historian of the Civil War, to compile the work, and publicized the project in various newspapers and through mailings. Bramhall distributed numerous forms and questionnaires to servicemen and other individuals in order to obtain personal accounts and official military reports of their participation in the War. He also gathered newspaper clippings containing information regarding Brooklyn's military units and War-related activities.

It is not known whether Kings County in the War was ever published. No copy is held in the collections of the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of information on various Kings County Civil War military units and servicemen. The military unit records include completed questionnaires, numerous official military reports, muster rolls, as well as many hand-written histories of specific units. Information on individual servicemen is contained in completed questionnaires, many handwritten accounts of their experiences in the War, and family correspondence. Numerous clippings, primarily from the Brooklyn Daily Union, contain information on individuals or units from Kings County and provide supplementary accounts of local participation in the War.

Eighteen specific Kings County army units are documented in the collection (Folders 1-18). Of particular interest in this material is a detailed account by William James Morris of his experiences as a prisoner in Andersonville (Folder 4), a 94-page history of the 84th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment (also known as the 14th Regiment of the New York State Militia, or the "Fighting 14th" (Folder 6)), and a printed funeral sermon in memory of Robert Sedgwick Edwards, killed at Fort Wagner, SC (Folder 8). The collection also contains some records of local involvement in the United States Navy (Folder 20).

Kings County's non-military involvement in the War is documented by materials of various local commissions, aid societies, and events. These include a handwritten history of the Brooklyn and Long Island Branch of the United States Christian Commission (Folder 21), clippings from the Brooklyn and Long Island Sanitary Fair (Folder 22), and statistics regarding recruitment from Brooklyn (Folder 25). Information on activities in Greenpoint during the Civil War (Folder 23), and printed material and clippings for various relief efforts for veteran soldiers and their families (Folder 26), are also included.

Folder 28 contains various handwritten accounts submitted to compiler Frank J. Bramhall, as well as some of Bramhall's notes and correspondence regarding the project. Of particular interest among these materials is an account of a Brooklyn militia unit's participation in quelling the draft riots that were widespread in New York City during July of 1863. Other noteworthy accounts of involvement in the War include those of Ada W. Smith, a Kings County woman who served as an Army nurse (Folder 24), and of Richard Thompson, a Brooklyn man who was in Charleston, SC during the early part of the War and attempted to transmit reports to the North on Confederate activities from his position there (Folder 27).

The collection also includes various Civil War clippings collected by Bramhall and copies of printed questionnaires and forms created to execute this project (Folder 29).

Conditions Governing Access

Open to users without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Frank J. Bramhall Civil War collection, 1977.006, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the War Fund Committee of Kings County, 1864.

Related Materials

Related archival collections at the Brooklyn Historical Society:

Missing Title

  1. 1973.110, Josiah M. Grumman diary, 1861-1862
  2. 1977.078, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of New York, Harry Lee Post No. 21 records, circa 1870-1935
  3. 1977.190, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of New York, Brooklyn City Post No. 233 minute book, 1909-1911
  4. 1977.200, Civil War collection, 1804-1865
  5. 1977.401, Robert Lamb Civil War letters, 1863
  6. 1977.531, Charles Simler Civil War discharge papers, 1863-1865
  7. 1977.535, Batt Jones and Edward R. Squibb Civil War letter, 1865
  8. 1977.543, Thomas Cavanagh certificate of exemption from the Civil War draft, 1863
  9. 1978.069, John H. Connolly discharge, 1864
  10. 1980.010, Daniel I. Underhill Civil War correspondence, 1862-1863
  11. 1994.013, Cranston family papers, 1846-1923
  12. 2009.012, Bennett family collection of Civil War correspondence and other material, 1832-1909
  13. 2011.011, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of New York, Gen. James B. McPherson Post 614 personal war sketches, 1897
  14. ARC.024, Brooklyn City Armory cornerstone collection, 1850-1930
  15. ARC.040, Albert G.A. Harnickell papers, 1861-1918
  16. ARC.214, Civil War veterans portrait albums, 1863-1869
  17. ARC.245, Collection of Brooklyn, N.Y., Civil War relief associations records, ephemera and other material, circa 1798-1964

Other Finding Aids

An earlier version of this finding aid, containing a complete container list, is available in paper form at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Please consult library staff for more information.

Collection processed by

Deena M. Schwimmer

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:19:59 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Processing Information

Minimally processed to the collection level.

Note Statement

change to complete_collection_level


Brooklyn Historical Society


Box: 1977.006 1 of 2 (Material Type: Text)
Box: OS-41 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201