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Alonzo B. Searing Civil War correspondence

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2018-072-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains correspondence from Alonzo Bryant Searing to his mother and sisters, Phoebe Searing and Mrs. Nancy Drake during the Civil War. Many of the letters were later printed in the Morris County Journal newspaper and copies are pasted into two scrapbooks in the collection. The letters printed in the newspaper are not verbatim from the actual correspondence and accounts of events vary as the "letters" are compilations of actual letters and diary accounts. The collection contains letters from other correspondents including William Harrison Case (a cousin of Searing) and George W. Teates. The letters do not correspond with the envelopes, rather they were enclosed primarily in envelopes from the early 1890s. Some envelopes contained more than one letter. The collection also includes letters and documents from Confederate soldiers, various correspondence about the 1913 Gettysburg battle reunion, a manuscript for the History of the Eleventh Regiment, a handwritten account of "the march to Gettysburg... and the battle," 11 diaries kept by Searing, a small copy of Charles Dickens' "Christmas Carol," and several receipts and IOUs belonging to Samuel J. Searing dated as early as 1832.


  • 1832 - 1945
  • Majority of material found within 1861 - 1865

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Searing O'Shaughnessy (14 September 2012). Alonzo's War: Letters from a Young Civil War Soldier. Fairleigh Dickinson. pp. 159–. ISBN 978-1-61147-555-5.

Biographical information -

Alonzo B. Searing's grave -

The Morris County Journal -

History of the 11th Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers by Thomas Marbaker -

History of the Eleventh Regiment, New Jersy Volunteers, according to National Park Service:

January 31, 1863 correspondence as printed in newspaper clipping, Searing makes reference to going to see his "cousins Harrison Case and Elias Nichols" whose 15th regiment is camped nearby. William Harrison Case's correspondence is in Series of this collection.

From the donor form: "Alonzo Bryant Searing was born on the family farm in Mill Brook, New Jersey, on June 26, 1844. He graduated from Dover High School (N.J.) in 1862. On August 18, 1862, he enlisted in the Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers. During the two years and 10 months he served in the Civil War, he wrote 110 letters home to his sister Phoebe. He was wounded at Gettysburg and at Spotsylvania and was in hospitals for most of 1864. He returned to the family farm in Mill Brook in June 1865. Later he moved to Dover, N.J., where he lived until his death on June 14, 1932. Alonzo's first wife was Laura Adelaide Powers, with whom he had two children, Elizabeth and Wilber Bryant Sterling. Alonzo's second wife was Ella Cole Gallagher, whom he married June 1, 1887. Their only child was Carl Bierwith Searing (1888-1985). Mary Searing O'Shaughnessy is the only child of Carl Bierwith Searing and Janet Rippy Kolbe. Mary was born December 2, 1925. - Alonzo wrote 110 letters home to his sister Phoebe and she wrote to him. He was at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsvile, Gettysburg and Petersburg, among others. He kept weekly lists of those killed or wounded in his regiment. On May 11, 1864, he wrote about the battle of the Wilderness that '... for nearly 600 feet the rebel dead lay in almost a perfect line, so close at least that a person could step from one body to another for the whole distance.' Included is a photocopy of Alonzo's handwritten history of the Eleventh Regiment. This history was sent to Thomas R. Marbaker, who wrote the official history of the Eleventh Regiment of the New Jersy Volunteers."

Regarding William H. Case (Searing's cousin): History of the Fifteenth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, by Alanson Austin Haines, Chaplain of the Regiment, 1883. --


1.5 Linear feet (1 carton, 1 document box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence from Alonzo Bryant Searing to his family during the American Civil War.


This collection is arranged by material type, author and date.

  • Series 1, Correspondence - Alonzo B. Searing to family members
  • Series 2, Correspondence - Alonzo Searing to Ella Searing
  • Series 3, Correspondence - Phebe Searing to Alonzo Searing
  • Series 4, Correspondence - Ella Gallagher to Alonzo Searing
  • Series 5, Correspondence - Leonora and D.D. Briant to to Alonzo Searing
  • Series 6, Correspondence - E. Clarke Clive to Alonzo Searing
  • Series 7, Correspondence - Searing family members with others
  • Series 8, Correspondence - To Alonzo and Phebe Searing from fellow soldiers regarding 1913 Gettysburg reunion
  • Series 9, Correspondence - Cards and letters of sympathy on the death of Elizabeth Powers
  • Series 10, Correspondence - William H. Case to his mother, sister, brother
  • Series 11, Correspondence - To William H. Case from Oscar Hildreth
  • Series 12, Correspondence - Atwood Drake to Hannah Case
  • Series 13, Correspondence - George W. Teates to his wife, mother, brother
  • Series 14, Correspondence - Confederate letters and documents
  • Series 15, Correspondence and documents of Charles Green
  • Series 16, Biographical material
  • Series 17, Journal - "Account of the march to Gettysburg ... and the battle"
  • Series 18, Manuscript - "History of the Eleventh Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers"
  • Series 19, Newspaper articles - Historical accounts of the Civil War and 11th Regiment of New Jersey Vols
  • Series 20, Receipts and promissory notes of Samuel Searing
  • Series 21, Book - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Series 22, Diaries
  • Series 23, Scrapbooks

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Searing O'Shaughnessy

Legal Status

Donor retains any copyright and related rights. For more information, consult original donation form.

Finding Aid for the Alonzo B. Searing Civil War correspondence
Sharon Clairemont
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States