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    [Civil War]. Archive of Papers of John Willian, 4th New Jersey Militia; 6th, 8th, and 12th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. An extensive archive consisting of approximately 220 documents, primarily autograph letters signed, manuscript documents signed, and partially printed documents signed relating to Willian's service in the 6th, 8th, and 12th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry units.

    Willian served in four different Union regiments, and on the staff of three separate Union Generals. Willian's military service began right after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, when he served as a Second Lieutenant in the 4th New Jersey Militia. When the regiment was mustered out at the end of July 1861, he received a commission as Captain in the newly-raised 6th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. In August 1863 he was assigned to the staff of Brigadier General Henry Price as his Assistant Commissary of Musters. After returning to his unit, Willian was promoted to the rank of Major in April 1864 before being transferred to the staff of Brigadier General Gershom Mott (who had been a colonel in the 6th New Jersey Infantry). He served as General Mott's acting Assistant Inspector General before being transferred to the 8th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, becoming its Lieutenant Colonel in October 1864. Willian was then again assigned as an Assistant Inspector General, this time on the staff of Army of the Potomac II Corps Commander Major General Andrew A. Humphreys. Finally, in January 1865 he was promoted to Colonel, and was given command of the remnants of the 12th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, a unit that had fought continuously since the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, and had been reduced to only a fraction of its original size. Even though he was the unit's Colonel, John Willian did not serve much time in that capacity, being assigned to brigade command soon after his appointment. He was breveted Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers on April 9, 1865.

    The majority of the archive are Willian's papers produced during his Civil War service in the various roles he served in. Of particular note are documents relating to Willian's duties as Assistant Commissary of Muster and Assistant Inspector General. Within these records are found listings of the losses of men and ordnance lost at the Battle of Williamsburg and at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

    A one page autograph document signed, 7.75" x 9.75", Petersburg, Virginia; August 5, 1864, by Willian, concerning the Battle of Williamsburg, reads: "on honor that on the 5th day of May 1862 at Williamsburg Va. the following stores enumerated below were lost under the following circumstances: The Regiment to which my company belongs was directed to advance under the fire of the enemy to take a certain position; in so doing two noncommissioned officers and two privates were killed, twelve noncommissioned officers and Privates were severely wounded, and two privates were taken prisoners. The arms carried by all these men were left on the field as we were repulsed, and they could not be recovered, the following is a list of stores so abandoned..." Willian then lists all of the arms and accoutrements lost, including: "18 Harper Ferry Smooth Bore Muskets, Cal. 69, 18 Bayonet Scabbards, 18 Cap Pouches, 18 Cartridge Boxes". A similar report is made for the Battle of Chancellorsville.

    Willian's papers continue in this fashion throughout the war, up through the final review in Washington. One of the latest orders in the archive is a three page manuscript (7" x 9.25") from Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, May 21, 1865, of general order, No. 27, by the command of Major General George G. Meade, concerning the Grand Review in Washington. It reads, in part: "In accordance with instructions received from Head Quarters Armies of the United States, the Army of the Potomac will be passed in review through Washington City on Tuesday the 23rd inset. in the following order. Viz..." The document then lists the order in which the Corps will parade in the review:
    1st Headquarters Army of the Potomac and Escort.
    2nd Cavalry Corps Maj. Genl. Merritt Comdg.
    3rd Provost Marshal Generals Brigade Bt. Brig., Genl. Macy Commanding.
    4th Engineer Brigade Brig, Genl. Benham Comdg.
    5th 9th Corps Maj. Genl. Parke Comdg. with division of 19th Corps Brig. Genl. Dwight Commanding
    6th 5th Corps Bt. Maj. Genl. Griffin Commanding
    7th 2nd Corps Maj. Genl. Humphries Comdg

    The order included other details of the march. On May 23, 1865, General Meade led an estimated 80,000 men from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue past a reviewing stand, occupied by President Johnson, General Ulysses S. Grant, and other military and political dignitaries.

    This is an extensive archive that provides insight into the varied duties and responsibilities of officers of Willian's rank, with particular emphasis on the roles played by assistant inspector generals and commissary of muster officers. A listing of other documents included can be found at*47061.

    The archive is housed in eleven legal sized file folders. Overall the condition of the items in the archive range from good to near fine. The partially printed documents, especially those of large size, have prominent folds, which occasionally show weakness. Some of the muster rolls have weaknesses along the center horizontal folds. There are approximately four or five documents that are separated into two or three pieces or partially split at the folds.

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