|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Cotton's 15 nonconsecutive manuscript pocket diaries for the period from 1850 to 1877. The diaries outline his life and travels. The entries for the Civil War years are especially interesting. He often describes the capital's fear of enemy invasion, recent nearby incursions, troop movements, and the general preoccupation with all aspects of the war. He called on President Lincoln, attended his second inauguration, and notes the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. He describes the capital's joyous mood at the fall of Richmond and the gloom over the assassination of Lincoln. He attended the military court to see the conspirators. Later volumes talk about Pension Bureau affairs and his health and that of his family.
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); Charles T.Cotton papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
15 diaries Cataloged HR 01/25/94.
2012-05-29 xml document created by Judi Zupnick
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Diarist and federal clerk in the U.S. Pension Bureau. Cotton was born in Natchez, Mississippi and taught school in nearby Pine Ridge. In 1851, he left Natchez and traveled via New Orleans and Havana to New York City and on to New Hampshire where he had relatives. By the summer of 1855 he was in St. Paul, Minnesota Territory where he clerked in a law office. At the end of 1859 he visited Natchez and Memphis, Tennessee. He moved to Washington, D.C. and in 1863 he was employed as a federal clerk in the Pension Bureau where he remained for the rest of his life. In later years he was the Recording Secretary of the Southern Republican Association.