Morgan (Christopher) Papers, 1860-1877, 8 Items

Administrative Information


Access: Unrestricted

Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.

Cite As:Christopher Morgan Papers, 1860-1877, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-E16-b

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: No

Accession Number: 2004.427

Processed by: Gabriel Sandoval, July 2004

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: Christopher Morgan’s letters describe the tumultuous beginnings of the Civil War as seen from the eyes of a Northern man caught in the South. The letters tell of Morgan’s travels and inner thoughts as he attempted to return to the North. The collection also contains news clippings of Morgan’s obituary and a small portrait photograph.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Born in Aurora, N.Y., June 4, 1808, Christopher Morgan had an impressive career. He graduated from Yale College in 1830, studied law, was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in New York. Later, Morgan would become a Congressman and Secretary of State for New York. Morgan also served as the superintendent of the New York pubic schools, mayor of Auburn, and trustee of the State lunatic asylum in Utica, N.Y.

In November 1860, Morgan and his wife took a trip to Florida to help his wife’s health. At this moment, Abraham Lincoln had just been elected President of the Union, but the nation was still in disarray. The Buchanan Congress was split into pro- and anti-secessionist parties. December 1860 proved to be even more trying as South Carolina seceded from the Union. It was during this time that Maj. Anderson moved his troops to Fort Sumter, enraging the newly seceded Carolinians. Once the New Year commenced, the Southern states began to quickly secede and organize themselves. February 1861 saw the adoption of the Confederate constitution and the election of the Confederate president Jefferson Davis. During March, President Lincoln delivered his inauguration speech, and the nation stood still in “hopeful waiting.” The hope, though, would be shattered on April 12, 1861, during the attack at Fort Sumter; the Civil War began. On April 19, Lincoln declared a blockade of the Confederate States, thus trapping Morgan in the South. Morgan’s letters continue until May 19, 1861, right after Tennessee and Arkansas had been admitted into the Confederacy.

Christopher Morgan was able to return to the North and died in Auburn, New York, on April 3, 1877. He is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery.

Scope and Content Note

In this collection of letters, Christopher Morgan writes to his brother Edwin Barber Morgan from the South. He describes life with his ill wife, Mary, and the political activities of the Southerners. A politician himself, Morgan often fears about the unity of the nation, but quickly sees that secession is inevitable.

Following is a description of each item in the collection:

Correspondence
Christopher Morgan to Edwin Morgan
1860.11.20


This first letter talks of Christopher Morgan’s trip to Savannah, Florida. He traveled by ship with his wife, Mary, and a friend, Frank. Once there, Morgan learns that the general sentiment of the people leans toward secession. He warns that “it is not wise for our people to be deceived. The great mass of the people of Savannah and Georgia are firmly for secession.” Despite the rising turmoil, Morgan is grateful that the “Southern air” seems to be helping his wife.

Correspondence
Christopher Morgan to Edwin Morgan
1860.12.27


In this letter, Morgan writes about the “excitement in Savannah.” He describes a great festival celebrating the recent acquisition of Fort Moultin and Pinckney after Maj. Anderson’s move toward Fort Sumter. Morgan goes on to point out that “Major Anderson has acted with out any instructions from Washington,” and that “ [i]f collision once takes place between the general government and South Carolina the whole slave states will co-operate with her Nothing can be more certain than this. The secession of the cotton states is certain any way.” To close the letter, Morgan warns against flippant Northern attitude. He dares any Northern man that thinks that “there is any child’s play in this matter of secession [to] come here and he will son be medicined.”

Correspondence
Christopher Morgan to Edwin Morgan
1861.01.07


In this casual letter, Christopher Morgan talks about his life-style in Magnolia, Florida. He describes “neat little” Mahogany churches and a “beautiful” view of the river. Morgan reports Mary’s mood as “cheerful and contented” and her doctor appears optimistic of her return to the North in the spring.

Correspondence
Christopher Morgan to Edwin Morgan
1861.04.05


Only eight days before the Civil War begins, Christopher Morgan writes this casual letter to his brother. He complains about the lack of Northern newspapers, rejoices over the local minister’s sermons, and speaks well of Mary’s health. Toward the end of the note, Morgan hints at the changes that have happened since the secession of Florida. He describes volunteers being recruited to go to Fort Pickens though the recruiters “did not anticipate any fighting.” Morgan states that “[e]very thing goes on as quiet as though no secession had taken place. This is a strong union county. I believe many of the secessionists would be glad to come back.”

Correspondence
Christopher Morgan to Edwin Morgan
1861.05.19


Now in Cincinnati, Christopher Morgan writes of his adventures through the South to reach the North. He describes how “every [southern] man woman & child is ready to volunteer.” Despite the growing southern threat, Morgan beams about the patriotism of Cincinnati. He talks of parades and “flags [that] are suspended over the street.” Concerning his travels, Morgan recounts his journey as one full of threatened arrest. He “was watched from Savannah to Nashville & pointed out Every once in a while to New Passengers as they came in.” Though he never received any ill-treatment, Morgan seems relieved to be in the town of Cincinnati, “a splendid town-far ahead of any thing in the south or west.”

News Clipping
Christopher Morgan Obituary
1877


This document records the recent actions of the Cayuga County Bar. They resolve “that in the decease of our former professional brother and honored friend, Christopher Morgan, we recognize the loss of one of our most amiable citizens.” A detailed obituary for Morgan appears on the same page.

News Clipping
Christopher Morgan Obituary
1877


This newspaper clipping gives a condensed obituary for Christopher Morgan.


Photograph
Portrait


This photograph is in very good condition with Christopher Morgan’s life dates penciled on the back.


The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.