Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

John Edward Foster Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: 1970

Biographical History

John Edward Foster (1834-1864) was a native of Tunbridge, Vermont. He enlisted in the Union Army in 1860 with Company E of the 2d Regiment, Vermont Volunteers. He served as a foot soldier and wagoneer until his death in 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness. Julian Foster, his younger brother, enlisted in January of 1864 and died in December of that same year, of causes unspecified in these papers.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Edward Foster Papers consists of correspondence and miscellaneous.

The majority of the Correspondence is to his family in Vermont, and covers topics such as bad food, poor winter quarters, and the horrors of battle. Occasional letters are more light-hearted, such as one which describes a snowball attack on another regiment and an expedition to steal chickens. In two letters (12 Nov 1862 and 22 Apr 1864) he refers to the soldiers' intense loyalty to "Little Mack" (General George McClellan).

The collection includes a few letters from John's brother Julian to his family, written in the months between his enlistment and his death. There are also some letters from John and Julian's parents and siblings, as well as a few letters of condolence from relatives and friends. Many of the letterheads and envelopes carry Union symbols, drawings and slogans.

Miscellaneous material contains a pencil drawing of the encampment of Company E, a note to the paymaster from John Foster, and two small fragmentary pages of a diary.

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has a number of collections of Civil War letters and correspondence. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Foster, John Edward Correspondence.
Foster, Julian.


Soldiers -- United States.


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.
United States -- History, Military -- To 1900 -- Sources.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Edward Foster Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents