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Civil War Letters and Memorabilia Collected by John Henry Stuckey

Identifier: SC MS 0371

Scope and Contents

The collection contains primarily 50 Civil War letters of assorted sizes and paper quality, and 33 envelopes - not all related to corresponding letters, two lead Civil War bullets, five brass Civil War buttons, assorted reference material such as magazine articles, newspaper items, discharge papers. The contents are arranged chronologically when possible throughout all manner of material.

50 letters, 33 envelopes (some with full-colored patriotic iconography) with stamps possibly as valuable as the letters themselves, discharge orders, assorted reference materials regarding philately as well as Civil War Centennial items, two bullets, five brass buttons, Confederate currency and a replica of the Gettysburg Address. As the handwriting is different especially in the Richardson letters, there is a possibility that Joseph D. Richardson is dictating the letters to someone who writes for him. In the case of the Rupert letters, the handwriting and spelling is poor.


  • Creation: 1861 - 1973
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1861 - 1864


Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

John Henry Stuckey (Jr.?) was born (1910?) in Burlington County, New Jersey and lived in Beverly, New Jersey. His parents were John H. (1872-1935) and Mabel E. (d. 1959) also of Beverly, Burlington County, New Jersey. The creator of this collection’s wife was Bertha Stuckey. Grandparents were Alfred (1841-1903) and Martha Gould (1840-1903) Stuckey. Joseph D. Richardson, a great uncle of Mr. Stuckey, had served in the Civil War which may have been what attracted Mr. Stuckey (Jr.?) to the topic of collecting Civil War memorabilia. Stuckey transcribed excerpts of portions of the Richardson letters he found historically interesting and conducted research on the named persons in them, as well as information about the town of Beverly, N. J. and its regiment. Some of the letters transcribed are not among the letters given to Lehigh. How Phyllis Nunn Ruth, the donor of the collection, connects to the Stuckey family is undetermined, although an attempt was made to contact her with no reply. Mr. Stuckey’s research notes regarding the letter writers are included in this biographical note.

Joseph D. Richardson from Beverly, New Jersey enlisted September 9, 1861 for three years in the Beverly, NJ 10th Regiment of Infantry Volunteers organized July 22, 1861 with 35 officers, 883 non-combatants and privates (for a total of 918). He reenlisted on January 20, 1864, promoted to first sergeant on May 4, 1864 and died at Cedar Creek, Virginia on November 7, 1864 from wounds received at Cold Harbor while foraging. Stuckey states that the collection consists mostly of letters from Richardson to his parents Hannah B. and William Richardson, who were Stuckey’s great-grandparents. Stuckey reports that the Beverly, NJ 10th Regiment of Infantry Volunteers left Beverly, N. J. and went to Washington, DC in December 1861, then Camp Clay on the Bladensburg Turnpike one mile from Washington, DC. On January 29, 1862 the War Department transferred the regiment to state authority and it was reorganized and named 10th Regiment of Infantry Volunteers, NJ. According to Mr. Stuckey, 50 50 letter in 1 box ; .5 linear foot

Joseph Richardson served in Company E, 10th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. Early service consisted of provost duty in the DC area, then they were dispatched to deal with potential draft rioting in Philadelphia (July 1863) and labor unrest in the Pennsylvania mining regions (Fall 1863). On April 19, 1864 the regiment was sent on active duty with the Army of the Potomac to Brandy Station, VA attached to the 1st New Jersey Brigade which participated in the campaigns of Wilderness, VA, and Spotsylvania, VA. After Mr. Richardson’s death, the 1st NJ Brigade went on to capture Petersburg, VA and was at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865.

Francis Rupert from Bloomsburg (Columbia County, Pennsylvania) served in the 2nd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Cavalry, 59th Volunteers which saw action in Northern Virginia and assisted with the defense of Washington, D.C. According to a fellow soldier, Lloyd Girton writing to Lucy Rupert (see letter dated January 10, 1863), Rupert became a prisoner of war in a skirmish during a raid made by J.E.B. Stuart through Fairfax County, Virginia December 28, 1862 following the Battle of Fredericksburg, VA in mid December 1862. Eventually Francis Rupert was at Andersonville Prison and died there June 26, 1864 according to a file note about the location of his grave which notes that “Frank Rupert of Company H, Second Cavalry died June 26, he is burried [i.e.] at Andersonville, and his grave is number 2538.” This note is written in nice handwriting but unknown writer. Rupert letters display poor spelling and penmanship and are also signed F. or Francis and sometime he is referred to as “Francy.”


0.5 Linear Feet ([1] box ; [94] items)

Language of Materials



Collection of United States Civil War letters primarily between the families of Joseph D. Richardson (Beverly, NJ), Lloyd Girton and Francis Rupert (Bloomsburg, PA) including responding letters and one additional letter from a Confederate soldier William T. Bickham (Franklintown, LA). Also included are patriotic iconography envelopes - some with or without stamps and related references used by the Civil War enthusiast who assembled the letters and related reference material.


An attempt has been made to follow a chronological order for all the material.

Acquisition Information

Material was given to Lehigh University Special Collections by Phyllis Nunn Ruth of Sellersville, Pennsylvania on behalf of John H. Stuckey of Beverly, Burlington County, New Jersey, in the 1990s.

Related Materials

The collection previously included in the “I Remain” digital library project item level bibliographic records are in library’s catalog and WorldCat.

References Mail Service and the Civil War Mail was a treasured link between Civil War camps and battlefields and “back home.” Recognizing its importance to morale, the armies assigned personnel to collect, distribute, and deliver soldiers’ mail; wagons and tents served as traveling Post Offices. Some soldiers wrote home weekly; some seemed to spend all their free time writing. A letter from home could be tucked into a pocket close to a soldier’s heart, to be read and re-read in moments of loneliness. Many soldiers carried letters in their pockets, to be forwarded to loved ones if they were killed in action. The U.S. Post Office Department introduced several improvements during the war which made it easier to send and receive mail. Since soldiers sometimes had trouble acquiring postage stamps. If they did get them, they had trouble keeping the gummed bits of paper from congealing into sodden lumps. Soldiers were allowed to mail letters without stamps beginning in July 1861 by writing “Soldier’s Letter” on the envelope; postage was collected from the recipient. In July 1863, postage rates were simplified and in some cases lowered when distance-based letter rate categories were eliminated and all letters given the lowest rate. That same month, free home delivery of mail was introduced in the nation’s largest cities. And in November 1864 the money order system began, making it safer for soldiers and citizens to send money through the mail. The Confederacy established its own Post Office Department in February 1861, two months before the start of the war, with former U.S. Congressman John Henninger Reagan appointed Postmaster General in March. Reagan sent job offers to southern men in the Post Office Department in Washington; many accepted and brought along their expertise, as well as copies of postal reports, forms in use, postal maps, and other supplies. Prior to the war the cost of mail service in the South was more than three times its revenue. By raising postage rates, reducing service, and practicing strict economy, Reagan made the Confederate Post Office Department self-sustaining by the end of 1863. But blockades and the invading Northern army, as well as a scarcity of postage stamps, severely hampered operations. The United States banned the exchange of mail between citizens of the North and South in August 1861, although smugglers often carried mail illegally across the lines. Prisoner-of-war mail was exchanged between North and South at designated points under a flag-of-truce. Citizens could also send letters via the flag-of-truce system, although like prisoners’ mail, their letters were read by censors and rejected if the contents were objectionable. Stamps and the Civil War In 1861, the cost of mailing a half-ounce letter up to 3,000 miles by the U.S. Post Office Department was 3 cents (77 cents in 2011 dollars). On June 1, 1861, the Confederate Post Office began charging 5 cents ($1.30 in 2011 dollars) for mailing half-ounce letters up to 500 miles. To prevent the fraudulent use of the large quantity of U.S. postage stamps held by postmasters in the seceded states, the U.S. Post Office Department redesigned its postage stamps soon after it suspended mail service to the South. The newly designed stamps were distributed to postmasters and customers beginning in August 1861, in exchange for the old ones. Initially Postmasters were instructed to give customers six days following notification in which to exchange old stamps for new ones, after which time the old ones were demonetized (rendered valueless). But the time limit was stretched in some cases to accommodate customers. In New York City, citizens were given about six weeks to exchange their postage stamps. As the war progressed, coins, which were more highly valued than paper money, gradually disappeared from the marketplace. By the summer of 1862, the lack of coinage posed a serious hardship to trade. Merchants began issuing their own promissory notes, called “shinplasters,” and many people began using postage stamps as small change. Unfortunately, shinplasters were often redeemable only where received, and stamps were liable to crumple and clump together. A law of July 17, 1862, authorized the use of postage stamps as currency, and beginning in August 1862 the Treasury Department issued special “postage currency” — reproductions of postage stamps on larger, thicker, ungummed pieces of paper, in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents. Due to coin shortages the Treasury Department continued issuing paper notes representing fractions of a dollar through 1876, although beginning in October 1863 they were called “fractional currency” and did not feature reproductions of stamps.

Personal Names Mentioned

Richardson, Joseph D. (d. November 7, 1864)

Richardson, Hannah [Mother]

Richardson, William [Father]

Rupert, Francis (d. June 26, 1864)

Girton, Lloyd

Rupert, C. W. [Mother]

Rupert, Lucy (L. D.)

Barrows, B. P.

Bickham, William T.

Anderson, David

Frame, A. B.

Heintzelman, Samuel Peter (1805-1880)

Wadsworth, James S. (1807-1864)

Madarie, John

Barrows, B. P.

Frame, A(dolpus). B.

Stuckey, John H. (1911?-????)

Corporate Names Mentioned

10th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers First New Jersey Brigade Beverly, NJ 10th Regiment of Infantry Volunteers 2nd Regiment of Pennsylvania Cavalry, 59th Volunteers Heintzelman’s Division U. S. Military Railroads, Mississippi Division Yorktown Collieries, Carbon County, Pennsylvania

Place Names Mentioned

Beverly, New Jersey Burlington, New Jersey Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania Brandy Station, Virginia Cedar Creek, Virginia Cloud Mill, Virginia Franklintown, Louisiana Fredericksburg, Virginia Petersburg, Virginia Rappahannock River, Virginia Spotsylvania, Virginia Suffolk, Virginia Washington, D. C. Meridian Hill (Washington, D.C.) Manassas (Bull Run), Virginia Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia Reading, Pennsylvania Mauch Chunk, Carbon County, Pennsylvania Audenried, Carbon County, Pennsylvania Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland Belle Isle, Richmond, Virginia Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia

Eleanor Nothelfer.
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Lehigh University Library and Technology Services.

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)