1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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  Charles E. Perkins Papers

 Soldier of Smithfield, RI

 Personal papers, 1861-1865, 1898

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 515

 Processed by: Karen Eberhart, October 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

Charles E. Perkins was born in Smithfield, RI of Ebenezer and Betsey Perkins sometime between 1832-1837. He had at least two sisters and one brother: Caroline (Perkins) Ellis wife of Jesse Ellis of Diamond Hill, RI; Elizabeth E. (Perkins) Haskell wife of Whiting Haskell of Diamond Hill, RI and Albert H. Perkins of Cumberland, RI. He also writes to his cousin Sarah I. Parmenter in Phenix, RI. Charles mentions a wife and a baby boy in his letters but does not give their names. He enlisted as a Private in Company I, Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteers on June 5, 1861 and rose through the ranks quickly. The following is a listing of his promotions according to the muster rolls found in this collection:

7/22/1861 Corporal in Company I

11/1/1861 Sergeant in Company I 

6/1/1863 1st Sergeant in Company A

12/26/1863 discharged and reenlisted as "Veteran Volunteer pursuant to General Order 191 War Department Series 1863."

10/18/1864 2nd Lieutenant in Company C

12/10/1864 1st Lieutenant in Company C

3/24/1865 Captain in Company C

He died of pneumonia April 10, 1898 in the Veterans' Home of California in Yountville, Napa County.

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Scope and content:

The bulk of the correspondence is sent to sister Elizabeth E. (Perkins) Haskell and describes the mundane and the dramatic aspects of army life. He was at the battle of Bull Run on July 21,1861 and gives an account of his experience: "we got short of armnution I shot my all away and had to pick up a ded mans cartige box and fired till I had to leave the field and get to Washington the best way that we cood."[7/23/1861]

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            The bulk of these papers were a gift of Ray Henshaw in 1981. Three additional Civil War letters and seven related documents were donated by Elizabeth Allen in 2002.

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B.1, F.1           Commission and discharge papers, 1863-1865

B.1, F.2           Correspondence, 1861

B.1, F.3           Correspondence, 1862

B.1, F.4           Correspondence, 1863

B.1, F.5           Correspondence, 1864

B.1, F.6           Correspondence, 1865

B.1, F.7           Death notice, 1898

B.1, F.8           Envelopes, 1861-1865

B.1, F.9           Muster and service records (photocopies), 1861-1865

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Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861

Ellis, Caroline (Perkins) (1815-1891)

Haskell, Elizabeth E. (Perkins) (1830-1910)

Parmenter, Sarah I.

United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865

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