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Manuscript Collections

Collection 1

Peter Vredenburgh (1837-1864)

Papers, 1856-1868

 

Processed by

Lois R. Densky


Edited by

Gregory J. Plunges

 



Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court St.
Freehold, New Jersey 07728


March 1980



INTRODUCTION

Major Peter Vredenburgh (1837-1864) was born on September 12, 1837 in Freehold, New Jersey. He was one of three sons born to Judge Peter Vredenburgh (1805-1873) and Eleanor Brinckerhoff Vredenburgh (1816?-1884). Vredenburgh's brothers were William H. (1840-?) and James (1844-1915). After receiving a liberal arts education, he studied law in Poughkeepsie, New York (1856-1857), and later studied under Judge Bennington F. Randolph in Freehold. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in February, 1859, and was licensed as counselor at the February Term, 1862. Settling in Eatontown, N.J., he practiced law for three years until commissioned into the U.S. Army, 14th Regiment N.J. Volunteers as a Major on August 25, 1862.

Stationed at Frederick City, Maryland, Major Vredenburgh acted as Provost Marshall under Colonel William S. Truex (Aug. 1862-Jan. 1863?). On September 5, 1863, he was appointed Inspector-General of the 3rd Division of the 3rd Corps of the 14th Regiment by General William Henry French and was attached to the staff of General Washington Lafayette Elliot until October 4, 1863. Afterward, he served in the same capacity under General Joseph Bradford Carr (Oct. 5, 1863-Dec. 4, 1863). On December 11, 1863, Major Vredenburgh was appointed Inspector-General of the 3rd Corps (27,000 men) by General French. When the 3rd Division of the 3rd Corps was transferred to the 6th Corps on March 25, 1864, Vredenburgh remained at the headquarters of the 3rd Division on the staff of General James B. Ricketts.

After the battle near Monocacy River in Maryland (July 9, 1864), Major Vredenburgh requested permission to be transferred from the staff of General Ricketts, and returned to his own Regiment. On August 24, 1864, his request was honored, and he was ordered back to the 14th Regiment. On September 19, 1864, under Major Vredenburgh's command, the 14th Regiment participated in the Battle of Opequan near Winchester, Virginia, where he was fatally wounded. (For a list of military engagements Vredenburgh participated in, please see Appendix B).

Initially buried in Winchester, Virginia, the body was disinterred and returned to Freehold, N.J. for the burial. Services were held on September 30, 1864 at the Reformed Dutch Church. The body was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Freehold.


DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION

The Peter Vredenburgh Papers consist primarily of correspondence written during his law school days and his service in the Civil War . The recipients of many of these letters were his parents, Judge Peter and Eleanor Brinckerhoff Vredenburgh. The bulk of this correspondence dates from 1856 to 1864. The collection also contains correspondence written by others concerning Peter Vredenburgh's death. (Please see Appendix C for a complete list of correspondents).

 


While most of the collection consists of original letters, there are some contemporary copies. The transcript copies represent letters sent to Dr. Walter S. Kimball, a friend of Vredenburgh's. Other types of material included in the collection are military papers, including Vredenburgh's commission, miscellaneous Army correspondence and orders, an 1863 Diary, a printed collection of part of Vredenburgh's Civil War correspondence autographed by Hendrick S. Poling, Co. G, 14th Regiment N.J. Volunteers of Keyport, N.J., a newspaper clipping describing the Battle of Opequan, where Vredenburgh died, and a undated photograph of a soldier in uniform.

The only material removed form the collection were additional typed transcript copies of Vredenburgh's letters to Dr. Walter S. Kimball. (Please see Appendix D for disposition of this material).

The Peter Vredenburgh Papers is an excellent collection for researchers of Civil War topics. The correspondence files and military papers should prove particularly valuable since they include firsthand accounts and descriptions of the military battles and maneuvers participated in by Vredenburgh. The Poughkeepsie letters may be valuable to researchers of Nineteenth Century academic and social history.

Other Civil War collections housed in the Monmouth County Historical Association Library that relate to the Peter Vredenburgh Papers are the Cowart Papers, the William B. Ross Papers, the Samuel T. Sleeper Papers, and the Yard Papers. The Library has an additional non-autographed copy of the printed correspondence, catalog number 973.78.

The arrangement of the collection is described at the beginning of the container list.

PROVENANCE: Acquired in 1977, a gift of Gilbert H. VanNote, Jr., of Spring Lake, N.J., executor of the Elizabeth Vredenburgh Knight Estate.

RESTRICTIONS: None.

NUMBER OF ITEMS: 201



SERIES DESCRIPTION


1. Correspondence.

January 7, 1856 - September 13, 1864. 185 items.
Arranged chronologically by date.

Correspondence from Peter Vredenburgh to his parents. Some letters are to other family members including brother William H., uncle Henry Brinckerhoff, and his grandmother Mrs. A(bram?) Brinckerhoff. A few items are to a friend, Dr. Walter S. Kimball of Eatontown, N.J. Also in this series is the file of correspondence created by others pertaining to Vredenburgh's death.

2. Military Papers.
August 25, 1862 - September 23, 1864. 7 items.
Arranged chronologically by date.

Series included Vredenburgh's Civil War commission paper, miscellaneous Army correspondence created by Vredenburgh and others, and Army orders.

3. Diary belonging to Peter Vredenburgh.
January 4 - December 11, 1863. 1 item. 15cm.

Contains appointments, visits made, personal financial accounts, and notes on Regimental movements and maneuvers.

4. Photograph.
n.d. 1 item

A carte-de-viste of an unidentified soldier in uniform.
Photo located in back pocket of Diary.

5. Printed Material.
September 4, 1862 - January 7, 1868. 5 items.
Material arranged by form.

Series contains one copy of "Collection of Printed Letters to Friends and Family Concerning Battles and Marches of the Fourteenth Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers," by Peter Vredenburgh, n.d., n.p., 40 leaves, three typed transcript copies of Vredenburgh's letters to Dr. Kimball, and one newspaper clipping (Sept. 26, 1864) describing the Battle of Opequan, Winchester, VA, where Vredenburgh died.



CONTAINER LIST

The collection is arranged first by document type (i.e., correspondence, military papers, printed material) and then chronologically by date.

BOX # / FILE# / CONTENTS

1/ 1/ Correspondence, Jan. 7, 1856-Dec. 28, 1862. 47 items.

1/ 2/ Correspondence, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1863. 85 items.

1/ 3/ Correspondence, Jan. 22-Sept. 14, 1864. 48 items.

1/ 4/ Correspondence, Sept. 21-Dec. 13, 1864. 5 items.

1/ 5/ Military Papers, Aug. 25, 1862-Sept. 23, 1864. 7 items.
Diary, Jan. 4-Dec. 11, 1863. 1 item.
Photograph, n.d. 1 item.

1/ 6/ Printed Material, Sept. 4, 1862-Jan. 6, 1868. 5 items.



APPENDIX A

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Biographical Encyclopedia of New Jersey of the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia : Galaxy, 1877.

2. Ellis, Franklin. History of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Philadelphia : R.T. Peck, 1885.

3. Scannell, J.J., ed., New Jersey's First Citizens, 1917-1918, Vol. 1. Paterson, N.J. : The Author, 1917.

4. Wiley, Samuel T., ed., Cyclopedia of the Third Congressional District of New Jersey. Philadelphia : Biographical Publishing Co., 1896.





APPENDIX B

Military Engagements In Which Vredenburgh Participated in the U.S. Army, 14th Regiment N.J. Volunteers


1863:
Manassa Gap, VA, July 17
Wapping Heights, July 24
Culpeper, Oct 12
Bristow Station, Oct 14
Kelly's Ford, Nov. 7
Brady Station, Nov. 8
Locust Grove, Nov 27
Mine Run, Nov. 29, Dec. 2


1864:
Culpeper Ford, Feb. 6
Wilderness, May 4-7
Spottsylvania, May 8-11
Spottsylvania Court House, May 12-14
Po River, May 15
North Anna, May 23-24
Tolopotomoy, May 28
Hanover Court House, May 30-31
Cold Harbor, June 1-10
Bermuda Hundred, June 14
Before Petersburg, June 16-23
Monocacy, MD, July 9
Snicker's Gap, July 18
Strasburg, VA, Aug 15
Charlestown, VA, Aug. 21
Opequan, Winchester, VA, Sept. 19




APPENDIX C

CORRESPONDENTS

NAMES LOCATION

Brinckerhoff, Henry F1, 6

Brinckerhoff, Mrs. A(bram?) F1

Cowart, Enoch L. F4

Cowart, Mrs. Enoch L. F4

French, General William Henry F5

Hasbrouck, Julia D. F1

Kimball, Dr. Walter S. F3, 4

Perrine, General Lewis F4

Ramsburg, Charles F4

Ricketts, General James B. F6

Rose, Chaplain Frank B. F4

Townsend, E.D. F4

Varrick, Maria F1

Vredenburgh, Eleanor Brinckerhoff F1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Vredenburgh, Judge Peter F1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Vredenburgh, William H. F1, 6




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