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James B. Rice Letters

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 3 Aug 2010

Biographical History

Nothing is known of James B. Rice other than what can be deduced from the letters. He received letters addressed to "Dear Nephew" dated from Barre (no state given, possibly Vermont), to "Dear Brother" from Perkinsville (no state given, possibly Vermont), and to "Dear Cousin" from Boston. In 1865 he was Third Assistant Engineer on the USS Daylight, a screw steamer in the Union fleet. The Daylight (1859-1865) was used primarily for blockade duty in the waters of Virginia; some of the letters are addressed to Rice in the vicinity of Fortress Monroe and the James River.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The James B. Rice Letters consists of fifteen letters from friends and family, to James Rice, engineer on the Union naval vessel USS Daylight. The letters all date from the spring of 1865 (Jan to May) and mention Civil War battles and other current events. Envelopes for the letters are all present, though none have return addresses; in some cases, someone has annotated in pencil on the back particularly interesting items contained in the letter, such as deaths at Andersonville Prison and "man almost hung for saying he was glad Lincoln was shot."

Arrangement of the Collection



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


Rice, James B., fl. 1865.


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Naval operations.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

James B. Rice Letters,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1966.

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