|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two series. Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged.
Scope and Contents
Letters, official orders, documents, clippings, stereographs, and memorabilia associated with the career of Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (1818-1893), including many autograph letters and signatures of Confederate leaders. Most of these papers were captured in the spring of 1865 and remained in the keeping of Lieutenant Colonel Robert P. York (1835-1887) of the 75th New York Volunteers, and, since his death, of his direct descendants.
The collection also contains letters and documents by and about Robert P. York during his service in the Union Army. These materials primarily date from January through August 1865. York spent these months in Savannah, Georgia, in command of the 75th New York Volunteers, who held the city in the last months of the American Civil War and then carried out law enforcement and judicial duties. York served as provost marshal of the Savannah district in the summer of 1865 and was responsible for hearing all civil suits in the district of Savannah.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located on-site.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Robert P. York Collection of P. G. T. Beauregard Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
Ownership and Custodial History
The papers were captured in 1865 by Col. R. P. York, 75th New York Volunteers, and passed on to his descendants.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 09/--/89.
Materials were intellectually arranged into two series at the same time the finding aid was converted to EAD. Biographical notes were also added. Nothing in the collection was physically rearranged.
This collection was formerly called the G. T. Beauregard papers. The title was changed in May 2020 to better comply with DACS rules, and to emphasize the extent to which the collection is also composed of York's papers.
All books and runs of newspapers have been removed for cataloging.
History / Biographical Note
Robert P. York (1835-1887) was an officer in the Union Army who led the 75th New York Volunteer Infantry during the last months of the American Civil War. York joined the 75th New York upon his promotion to lieutenant colonel in December of 1864. He entered service as a first lieutenant, and was promoted to captain in the 114th New York Volunteers in 1862. He then served as a mustering officer in the 19th Army Corps, Army of the Shenandoah. He was wounded at Winchester, Virginia on September 19, 1864.
In January 1865, the 75th New York Volunteers were ordered to Savannah, Georgia, with York in command. Their orders were to hold the city conquered by General Sherman while his army continued its progress through the South. After the Confederacy was defeated, the regiment remained in Savannah for most of the summer, carrying out law enforcement and judicial activities. Lt. Colonel York was assigned the duties of district provost marshal and was responsible for hearing all civil suits in the district of Savannah. His headquarters was located at the Planters Bank.
On May 14, 1865, Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stevens, Joseph Wheeler, and C. C. Clay were captured by General James H. Wilson. Lt. Colonel York escorted the prisoners and a large stash of gold and silver bullion, Confederate government documents, and correspondence with which they had been apprehended from Augusta, Georgia to Savannah. The cash and other valuables were transferred to the United States government, but it is likely that York was permitted to keep some of the correspondence.
York was born in the village of DeRuyter, New York on September 6, 1835, to Denison and Lorania Thompson York. He married Cynthia E. Frink in 1857; they had one child, Lilla, in 1867. York served as village clerk from 1859 through 1861. After the Civil War, he returned to DeRuyter, where he opened a dry goods and clothing business in 1876 and served as village treasurer in 1880. He remained in DeRuyter until his death on February 20, 1887.
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (1818-1893) was a military officer who became the first brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was born on a sugar plantation outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, to a French Creole family, and educated at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He served as an engineer in the Mexican-American War, where he proved to be a skilled military leader.
During the Civil War, Beauregard was responsible for a series of early Confederate victories in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the first Battle of Bull Run (1861) and at Petersburg (1864), both in Virginia. His armies were defeated by Union forces at Shiloh, Tennessee (1862); Corinth, Mississippi (1862); and Bentonville, North Carolina (1865). He and General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union General William T. Sherman outside of Durham, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.
After the war, Beauregard led a pair of railroad companies and promoted the Louisiana State Lottery. He was active in the Reform Party, a group of conservative New Orleans businessmen who opposed federal taxation and sought to unseat the Radical Republicans in the Louisiana legislature. He also continued a long-standing personal feud with Jefferson Davis in various national publications. He died in New Orleans in 1893.