A. Bennett Munger Papers, ca. 1835-1890; bulk, 1862-1865
SC23381

Quantity: 3 boxes (1.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift: Margaret Sheldon Case, West Chester, Pa., on behalf of the estate of Philip Benham Case of Marietta, Ohio, December 2016
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, March 2017

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Biographical Note

Alvin Bennett Munger was born October 27, 1817, in Agawam, Massachusetts, the son of Gaius (1781-1858) and Abigail (Button) Munger (1783-1869). Known as Bennett Munger, there is little information about his life prior to being certified to teach in the common schools in Clarendon, Orleans County, New York, in 1835 and 1836. From 1837 to 1840, he was certified to teach in schools in Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York, and in 1846 he received a teaching certificate from Byron, Genesee County, New York. He eventually took up farming and settled in Milo (near Penn Yan), Yates County, New York, where he occasionally was elected to serve as justice of the peace.  Letters and invoices in the collection indicate he also was employed as an agent for Schanck & Downing, a distributor of plate and window glass in 1859; later, with his brother, he operated a house-painting business, which was dissolved in March 1861.

Munger married Mary Wilcox (1818-1888) on September 22, 1841. They had one child: Ida May Munger (Case), who was born November 26, 1853.

Soon after the Civil War erupted, Munger was called upon by the Yates County War Committee to assist in raising a company of volunteers to fight on behalf of the Union Army.  Public records show he enlisted for service on August 14, 1862, and mustered in at Albany, New York, on October 3, 1862, as captain of Company C of the 44th New York Volunteers, which was known as Ellsworth’s Avengers. He was commissioned with the rank of captain on November 11, 1862, and witnessed action in battles at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, and Mine Run.  He was wounded in action July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, which sidelined him for a brief period. In October 1864 he was detailed for special assignment as inspector of the prison at Elmira, New York, where Confederate Army prisoners of war were detained.  He was mustered out of service October 11, 1864, because of injuries he had sustained in an accidental discharge of a weapon.

After the war, Munger worked from April through August 1865 as an agent for the Penn Yan-based Union Oil Company near Oil City, Pennsylvania. Thereafter, it appears he took up farming with members of his family near Canandaigua, New York.  He died in Canandaigua on October 27, 1877, survived by his wife and daughter.

Some of the information in the preceding biographical note was taken from A History of the Forty-forth Regiment Infantry in the Civil War, 1861-1865 by Eugene Arus Nash (Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons, 1911)

Scope and Content Note

Bennett Munger responded to the call from Ellsworth Avengers in 1862 and, because of his age (44) and stature in the community, he was made captain in charge of raising a company of volunteers.  The letters and documents saved by his heirs represent the scope of his military service. The letters he wrote to his wife and daughter – many being eight pages long – are quite revelatory.  Being somewhat older than most recruits, he tended to express a steady conservative view: finding battlefield casualties “buried like a dog” made him sick; feeling court martial punishments were too punitive; and noting the pervasiveness of hand injuries seemed rather suspicious. He often wrote separately to his young daughter, describing the smallest detail of camp life in a manner that might interest her and writing about local farm animals and the landscape, and commenting on the food available to the troops, including pilot bread which the men had taken to calling hard tack. I his letter of April 20[?], 1863, from “near Falmouth, Va.,” he wrote “Here there are no singing birds … I do not blame the poor birds & if they knew how to cry I have no doubt we should hear from them …”

He vividly described the action he witnessed on the battlefields at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Rappahannock Station.  He also detailed protracted marches such as Burnside’s “Mad March” and the afflictions and ailments that kept him away from active duty for short periods of time.

Munger retained copies of officials reports, orders, memoranda, and other records related to his position as captain of Company C of the 44th New York (Volunteers) Regiment of Infantry, including muster rolls, which were compiled quarterly with details about each individual present in the camp at the time; and ordnance reports, which provide information relative to the weapons used and munitions consumed by Company C while engaged in battles and skirmishes.  For example, the ordnance report turned over after the engagement at Gettysburg reveals that 650 ball cartridges had been used. Another report provides a detailed accounting of ordnance lost during the heat of battle at Rappahannock Station.  Munger also retained copies of reports detailing types and quantities of clothing and camp and garrison equipment issued to his company from the Army quartermaster store; special orders and accounts related to payroll matters; and special reports detailing the nature of the wounds Munger received at Gettysburg and other afflictions that resulted in his being furloughed for brief periods of time.

Munger’s service as inspector of the prisoner-of-war camp in Elmira, New York, generated a series of papers that provide insights into the operations of such camps during the war. The documents include special orders, draft rendezvous, accounts of camp and garrison equipage, instructions to officers in command of the guard house, and a report sent to Thomas Raynesford Lounsbury on conditions in the prison camp.

The period after the war, April-August 1865, when Munger was acting as an agent for the Penn Yan-based Union Oil Company in the environs of Oil City, Pennsylvania, is also well represented in these papers. The letters sent to his family detail his frustration with the engines Union was supplying and his problems with the poor output of various oil wells. His diary, which he began at Elmira on January 1, 1865, contains further insights into his activities as well as detailed accounts of his expenses. Other related papers include Munger’s account of expenses with Union Oil of Penn Yan, oil drilling contracts, and printed circulars.

Box and Folder List

Box Folder Description
1 1 Letters of Bennett Munger, October 1862
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Albany Barracks, October 5, [1862]
  2. To Mary Munger, Albany Barracks, October 8, [1862]
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Baltimore, [Md.], October 11, [1862]
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Antietam, [Md.], October 16, [1862]
  5. To Mary and Ida Munger, Antietam Ford, October 23, [1862]
  6. To Ida Munger, Antietam Ford, October 26, 1862
1 2 Letters of Bennett Munger, November 1862
  1. To Ida Munger, On the March near White Plains, November 7, 1862
  2. To Mary Munger, [n.p.], 3 o’clock a.m., November 8, [1862]
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Warrenton, [Va.], November 10, 1862
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, [n.p.], November 12, 1862
  5. To Mary and Ida Munger, Near Falmouth, [Va.], [November 15, 1862] (incomplete)
  6. To Mary and Ida Munger, On picket 10 miles from Falmouth, [Va.], November 30, 1862
1 3 Letters of Bennett Munger, December 1862
  1. [To Mary Munger], [n.p.], Tuesday, December 2, [1862]
  2. To brother [Lyman Munger?], Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 7, 1862
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 10, 1862
  4. [To Mary Munger], In front of Fredericksburg, [Va.], December 12, [1862]
  5. [To Mary and Ida Munger], Fredericksburg, Va., December 15, 1862
  6. [To Lyman Munger and family], Camp near Falmouth, [Va.], December 21, 1862
  7. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 14, 1862
  8. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 23, 1862
1 4 Letter: Bennett Munger to [Mary W. Munger], Camp near Falmouth, Va., January 27, [1863]
1 5 Letters of Bennett Munger, March 1863
  1. To Mary Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 12, [1863]
  2. To Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 18, 1863
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 29, [1863]
1 6 Letters of Bennett Munger, April 1863
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., April 12, 1863
  2. To Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., April [20], 1863
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., April 22, 1863
1 7 Letters of Bennett Munger, May 1863
  1. To Mary Munger, Ten miles north of Fred[icksburg], [Va.], May 2, [1863]
  2. To Mary Munger, Morrisville, seven miles from Kelly’s Ford, May 5, [1863]
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, [Va.], May 11, 1863
  4. To Ida Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., May 13, 1863
  5. To Mary Munger, Camp near Falmouth, Va., May 17, 1863
1 8 Letters of Bennett Munger, June 1863
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Banks Ford, June 3, 1863
  2. To Mary and Ida Munger, Kempers Ford, June 12, 1863
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Adie, Loudon County, Va., June 20, 1863
  4. To Ida Munger, Adie, [Va.} June, 23,1863
  5. To Mary and Ida Munger, Adie, [Va.], June 25,1863
1 9 Letter: Bennett Munger to Mary and Ida Munger, Beverly Ford, [Va.], August 22, 1863
1 10 Letters of Bennett Munger, September 1863
  1. To Mary Munger, Beverly Ford, Va., September 3, 1863
  2. To Ida Munger, Beverly Ford, Va., September 3, 1863
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Beverly, [Va.], September 13, 1863
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, Culpepper Court House, [Va.], September 16, [1863]
  5. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Culpepper, [Va.], September 21, 1863
  6. To Ida Munger, Camp near Culpepper, Va., September 27, 1863
1 11 Letters of Bennett Munger, October 1863
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Near Fairfax Court House, [Va.], October 15, 1863
  2. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Auburn, Va., October 27, [1863]
1 12 Letters of Bennett Munger, November 1863
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Camp near Warrenton Junction, Va., November 3, [1863]
  2. To Ida Munger, [Auburn, Va.], Wednesday morning, November 4, [1863]
  3. To Brother and family, Camp near Warrenton, [Va.], November 14, [1863]
  4. To Ida Munger, Camp near Kelly’s Ford, Va., November 16, 1863
  5. To Mary Munger, Camp Pleasant, November 19, 1863
  6. To Ida Munger, Camp near Kelly’s Ford, Va., November 22, 1863
  7. To Mary Munger, [n.p.], November 22, 1863
  8. To Ida Munger, Camp near Fredericksburg, [Va.], November 25, [1863?]
1 13 Letters of Bennett Munger, December 1863
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Rappahannock Station, Va., December 5, 1863
  2. To Mary and Ida Munger, Rappahannock Station, Va., December 9, 1863
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Rappahannock Station, Va., December 11, 1863
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, Rappahannock Station, Va., December 24, 1863
1 14 Letter: To Mary Munger, wife, Elmira, N.Y., January 26, 1864
  15 Letters of Bennett Munger, April 1865
  1. [To Mary Munger], Oil City, Pa., April 1, 1865
  2. To Mary Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], April 7, 1865
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], April 16, 1865
1 16 Letters of Bennett Munger, May 1865
  1. To Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], May 2, 1865
  2. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], May 7, 1865
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], May 9, 1865
  4. To Mary Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], May 12, 1865 (note)
  5. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], May 14, 1865
  6. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], May 21, 1865
1 17 Letters of Bennett Munger, June 1865
  1. To Mary Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], June 13, 1865
  2. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], June 14, 1865
  3. To Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], June 16, 1865
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], June 21, 1865
1 18 Letters of Bennett Munger, July 1865
  1. To Mary Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], July 2, 1865
  2. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], July 4, 1865
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], July 5, 1865
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], July 11, 1865
  5. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], July 16, 1865
1 19 Letters of Bennett Munger, August 1865
  1. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], August 2, 1865
  2. To Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], August 4, 1865
  3. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], August 6, 1865
  4. To Mary and Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], August 16, 1865
  5. To Ida Munger, Oil City, [Pa.], August [?], 1865
1 20 Letter: L.S. Edward to A. Bennett Munger, Elmira Prison Camp, N.Y., January 15, 1865 (accompanying background information included with letter)
1 21 Diary (pocket) of A. Bennett Munger, 1865 (ca. 100 p., 15 x 10 cm.)
1 22 Commemorative of James A. Garfield memorial service, [1881]
2 1 Certificates for teaching school issue to Bennett Munger, 1835-1840, 1846 (7 items)
  1. Clarendon (Town of), N.Y., 1835-1836
  2. Canandaigua, N.Y., 1837-1840
  3. Byron (Town of), 1846
2 2 Schanck & Downing – Accounts, correspondence, and price current, 1859 (12 items)
2 3 Agreement of dissolution of business, Bennett Munger and Lyman Munger, March 4, 1861
2 4 Oil Exploration Papers, 1865 (9 items)
  1. Contract with J.A. Drake of Cincinnati, Ohio, April 1, 1865
  2. Drilling contract with Union Oil Co. of Penn Yan, N.Y., June 8, 1865
  3. Account, debit-credit, with Union Oil Co, of Penn Yan, June-August 1865
  4. Report of Seneca W. Ely relative to the Drake Oil Tract in Lewis County, Kentucky, April 10, 1865
  5. Printed circular: Oil Territory of J.A. Drake
  6. Printed Circulars of petroleum and mining companies: Daniel Boone, Laclede, De Soto, and Garden City
2 5 Military Service
  1. Special order from the New York State Office of Adjutant General authorizing Bennett Munger to raise a company of volunteers, August 14, 1862
  2. Telegram, September 24, 1862
2 6 Volunteer enlistment forms, 1862 – individuals having mustered into service with Company C of 44th New York State Volunteers (names appear in the official registers of New York State Adjutant General)
  1. Ackley, Harvey
  2. Finncan, Thomas
  3. Fletcher, Joseph H.
  4. Francisco, George W.
  5. Gardner, Josiah H.
  6. Gidding, Andrew
  7. Gidding, John K.
  8. Graham, Marvin F.
  9. Green, Emory C.
  10. Griswold, Francis, M.
  11. Henderson, George E.
  12. Kinner, Royal G.
  13. Munger, Orett L.
  14. O’Neil, John
  15. Pelton, Charles
  16. Powell, Samuel
2 7 Enrollment records, 1862
  1. Petition for minor over 14 years to enlist for military service, September 1, 1862 – Andrew A. Gidding
  2. Enlistment forms of Lewis A. Brink, 1862 – Rejected for service (4 copies)
2 8 Muster-in Rolls, [Co. C], 44th N.Y.S.V.
  1. September 3, 1962
  2. October 3, 1862
2 9 Special Enrollment forms
  1. List of clothing issued to a detachment of United States Volunteer Recruits, forwarded by the General Superintendent of New York for the companies of the 44th Regiment of New York Volunteers stationed at Albany, n.d. [1862]
  2. Sub-muster-in roll of volunteers enlisted by Charles Kelly, for the regiment organizing in the 26th Senatorial District [of New York State] commanded by Colonel William Johnson, 1862
2 10 Receipts given to A. Bennett Munger and redeemed at Penn Yan, October 3-9, [1862], with account statements of money sent by express, October3 and 9, 1862 (62 items)
2 11 Muster Roll, [Co. C], 44th N.Y.S.V., [ca. 1862-1864] (incomplete)
2 12 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., for period of service ending January 1, 1863
2 13 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., December 31, 1862-February 28, 1863
2 14 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., February 28,1863-April 30, 1863
2 15 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., April 30-June 30, 1863
2 16 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., June 30-August 31, 1863
2 17 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., August 30-October 30, 1863
2 18 Muster Roll, Co. C, 44th N.Y.S.V., December 31, 1863-February 29, 1864
2 19 Muster-out Roll of Capt. Bennett Munger, October 11, 1864 (5 copies)
2 20 Health and Medical Certificates
  1. Leave of Absences for benefit of health for thirty days, February 3, 1863
  2. Certification of application of disability on account of being wounded in action at Gettysburg, July 7, 1863
  3. Certificate granting Munger passage to Penn Yan on account of disability, July 7, 1863
  4. Notarized statement of physician (Dr. H.R. Sartwell) relative to the condition of wounds suffered by Munger in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863
2 21 Special orders relative to regiment consolidation and re-assignment
  1. Head Quarters, Army of the Potomac, October 11, 1864 – Extract of Special Order No. 275: consolidation of companies of the 44th New York Infantry into the 14th New York Infantry and mustering certain named officers out of service.
  2. H.Q. 44th New York Volunteers, January 20, 1864 – Special order no, 11; Munger is ordered to report for duty at Elmira, New York (3 copies)
  3. H.Q. Depot of Drafted Men, Elmira, N.Y., January 20, 184 – Special Order No. 84: Assignment of Munger to Barracks No. 3 under the command of Maj. Ramsey
  4. H.Q. 44th New York Volunteers, Alexandria, Va., March 1, 1864 – Special Order No. 18: Ordnance and ordnance stores of Company C to be turned over to Lt Charles Kelly
2 22 Special reports
  1. Copy of report on casualties in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Divisions of the 5th Army Corps during the Battle of Gettysburg, A.D.S., James H. Mandeville, August 26, 1863
  2. Memorandum listing ordnance stores lost in action at Rappahannock Station, Va., November 7, 1863
2 23 Bounty Receipts, 1862-1863
  1. Malachi Davis, September 4, 1862
  2. Harvey Ackley, September 6, 1862
  3. Lucius Osgood, September 6, 1862
  4. George Wilson, September 20, 1862
  5. James Dansenburgh, October 3, 1862
  6. Moses H. Harvey, April 22, 1863
3 1 Quarterly returns for ordnance and ordnance stores, 1862-1864
  1. October-December 1862
  2. January-March 1863
  3. April-June 1963
  4. July-September 1863
  5. October-December 1863
  6. January-March 1864
3 2 Quarterly returns for clothing, camp, and garrison equipage, 1863
  1. January-March 1863
  2. April-June 1863
3 3 Monthly returns for clothing, camp, and garrison equipage, 1863
  1. July 1863
  2. August 1863
  3. September 1863
  4. November 1863
  5. December 1863
3 4 Monthly returns for clothing, camp, and garrison equipage, 1864
  1. January 1864
  2. February 1864
3 5 Invoices (lists) of clothing, camp, and garrison equipage received from Quartermaster, 1863
  1. January 1863 (2 lists)
  2. February-March 1863
  3. April 1863
  4. June 1863
  5. July 1863
  6. August 1863 (2 lists)
3 6 Invoices (lists) of clothing, camp, and garrison equipage received from Quartermaster, 1863-1864
  1. September 1863
  2. November 1863 (2 lists)
  3. December 1863
  4. January 1864
  5. March 1864
3 7 Invoices, receipts, and other papers related to ordnance and ordnance stores, October-December 1862 (4 items)
3 8 Invoices, receipts, and other papers related to ordnance and ordnance stores, April-June 1863 (10 items)
3 9 Invoices, receipts, and other papers related to ordnance and ordnance stores, July-September 1863 (10 items)
3 10 Invoices, receipts, and other papers related to ordnance and ordnance stores, October-December 1863 (5 items)
3 11 Invoices, receipts, and other papers related to ordnance and ordnance stores, January-March 1864 (5 items)
3 12 Notices from Ordnance Office Property Returns Division, 1863-1864 (8 items)
3 13 Volunteer descriptive lists on account of pay and clothing, 1863 (4 items)
3 14 Statement of charges to muster and payrolls, 3rd and 4th quarters, 1863 (2 items)
3 15 U.S. Army Pay Department receipts, 1863 (15 items)
3 16 Receipts for transportation charged to payrolls, 1863 (10 items)
3 17 Accounts with U.S. Army Hospital, 1863 (19 items)
3 18 Court Martial of Jacob Stroup, August 1863 (3 items)
3 19 Special orders and accounts relative to settling outstanding accounts of 44th New York Volunteers, January-May 1864 (8 items)
3 20 Elmira Prisoner-of-War Camp – special orders, reports, and accounts, 1864-1865 (21 items)
3 21 Invoices of clothing, camp, and garrison equipage received from Quartermaster, Elmira, March-July 1864 (14 items)
3 22 Printed Circulars, 1963 (6 items)
3 23 Blank forms, 1864 (10 items)
3 24 Official records related to service of Alvin Bennett Munger and pension ca. 1862-1890 (photocopies from the National Archives)
3 25 Miscellaneous papers
3 26 Artifacts (in envelope)
  1. Leather belt strap with metal buckle (piece)
  2. Pair of metal hooks or braces
  3. Wooden peg.

 

Last Updated: September 6, 2019