Guide to the John C. Westervelt and Jasper Westervelt, Civil War Soldiers, Letters 1862-1863 MG 1597
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The New Jersey Historical Society
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Newark, New Jersey 07102
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Phone: (973) 596-8500 x249
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Shawn Ryan Rosa.
Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. October 2004. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
John C. Westervelt was a Captain in the New Jersey Infantry, 22nd Regiment, Company D and his son, Jasper J. Westervelt, was a Sergeant in the same company. Both took part in the Battle of Chancellorsville on September 2, 1862. While there are no records of their injuries during this battle, both men were resigned to hospitals in the following weeks: John to Seminary Hospital at Georgetown and Jasper to the General Hospital at Acquia Creek, Virginia. In one of his letters to Jasper, John Westervelt mentions the Invalid Corps. The United States War Department organized the Invalid Corps in April 1863. The Corps consisted of disabled and injured officers or men of the army, and was separated into two divisions. The first division included men who could still carryout duty and assume weapons, while the second division was reserved for the severely disabled to serve in the hospitals. It would later be renamed the Veteran Reserve Corps in March 1864, and was abolished during the summer of 1866.
This collection consists of nine letters written by John C. Westervelt to his wife, mother, and son. It also includes five letters written by Jasper Westervelt, Captain John Westervelt’s son, to his father, mother and grandmother, and two by Lieutenant Walter H. Ramsey also of the New Jersey Infantry, Regiment 22nd addressed to Captain John Westervelt during the latter’s recovery period in the hospital. Transcripts of the letters and brief summaries including historical background accompany the letters. The collection is organized into three groups by author and chronologically therein. The first set includes the nine letters of John C. Westervelt written while he was a Captain in Company D, depicting the daily tasks of a Civil War solider. He writes to his family about his decision not to pursue a dismissal but to continue his service, with updates on his health as well as the health of friends and fellow soldiers. A letter to his son dated April 29, 1863 reveals a sentimental father appraising the difficulties of family separation during wartime. Several other letters to his son include questions of military operations, the success of these operations, and the progress of the war. His messages also include a discussion about the formation of the Invalid Corps reporting that it was created for injured and crippled soldiers. The second set includes five letters written by his son, Sergeant Jasper Westervelt. These letters express well wishes for his family at home and his father in the service. They include updates on his health and that of his father, and contain only a small amount of military information. The final set of letters includes two letters written by 1st Lieutenant Walter H. Ramsey also of the New Jersey Infantry, 22nd Regiment. The letters, addressed to John C. Westervelt, reveal information on the progression of the Division, including the announcement of the death of Adjutant Post.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 1597, John C. Westervelt and Jasper Westervelt Letters, The New Jersey
Purchased by the New Jersey Historical Society in October 2002.
Many of the letters in this collection are worn, some with pages torn. These letters are fragile and should be handled with