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Orson S. Keyes Correspondence

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 27 Mar 2010

Biographical History

Orson S. Keyes (1838-1864), of Cattaraugas County, New York, was a private with the 5th New York Volunteers during the American Civil War. He was taken prisoner during a skirmish near Culpeper, Virginia on September 13, 1863 and died in prison on April 19, 1864.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Orson S. Keyes Correspondence consists of 77 letters and a few photographs.

Letters are to and from Orson S. Keyes and his family and friends. One, dated 3 July 1863, was written "near Gettysburg, Pa" and describes the battle then in progress: "Gen. Sickles was brought in a few minutes ago wounded in the leg." There are also comments on camp life (e.g., "I have yet to see the officer who does not use liquor," 1 Jul 1863) and other matters. The collection also includes a few earlier letters from Keyes to his parents, written from Lima, New York, and a few letters written by friends or family after Keyes' death.

One folder of Photographs -- of Keyes, of his uncle Daniel J. Keyes, and of Foster Dickinson, possibly a relation by marriage -- complete the collection.

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are in alphabetical order by correspondent.


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.

Subject Headings


Dickinson, Foster.
Keyes, Daniel J.
Keyes, Franklin.
Keyes, Orson S.
Keyes, Peter Jr.

Corporate Bodies

United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
United States. -- Army. -- New York Infantry Regiment, 5th (1861-1863)


Soldiers -- New York (State) -- Cattaraugus County -- Biography.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Orson S. Keyes Correspondence,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Janet Graham, 1965.

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