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Alonzo W. Phillips papers

 Collection 0364-MDHC

Alonzo W. Phillips was a Union corporal in Company F of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteers during the American Civil War. The collection includes twelve letters written by Alonzo to his aunt, Hannah Folsom, and one letter to her husband, Simeon. Major topics include military life, the health and affairs of numerous family members, and civilian attitudes toward the war. His letters detail his travels throughout Maryland, his defense of the Potomac River near Poolesville, and the Battle of Ball's Bluff near Leesburg, Virginia. He was discharged due to illness in 1862.


  • May 9, 1858 - December 11, 1861
  • Majority of material found within 1861

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers of Alonzo W. Phillips are comprised of thirteen letters written between May 9, 1858 and December 11, 1861. Transcriptions of the letters have been provided by Christine M. McClure. All of Phillips's letters were written to his aunt in Detroit, Michigan, with the one exception of one letter which was addressed to her husband, Simeon Folsom. Most of these letters were written from Poolesville, Maryland, where Alonzo was encamped for the majority of his enlistment. Topics include military life, the health and affairs of numerous family members, civilian attitudes toward the war, and Phillips's account of the Battle of Ball's Bluff near Leesburg, Virginia.


Alonzo Washington Phillips was born in Albany, New York, in 1842. He joined the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer infantry on July 12, 1861. He was mustered out of the service on October 6th of 1862 due to a disability, possibly a respiratory ailment contracted during his service.

Phillips wrote many letters to his family, a number of whom lived in or around Detroit, Michigan. The bulk of these letters were written to his aunt, Hannah Folsom, though the collection also includes a single letter to her husband. In his letters, Phillips described life in the army, his travels throughout Maryland, and a firsthand account of the battle of Ball's Bluff. His unit was overrun in that battle, and he escaped capture by swimming across the Potomac River. This may have contributed to Phillips's decline in health, which resulted in his discharge from the Union Army.

After the war, he married Ida Cynthia Ladd of Detroit, Michigan, in 1868 and had three children. The family moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1880 where Phillips spent the remainder of his life. Phillips was noted as a very active citizen in the Colorado community, and sat on the county board alongside a Confederate Army veteran, W.H. Hampton, with whom he developed a strong friendship. He died in 1924, at the age of 83.


This collection is organized as one series.

Series 1

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Christine M. McClure donated the papers of the Alonzo W. Phillips to the University of Maryland Libraries in May 2011.

Processing Information

All materials have been placed in acid-free folders within an acid-free box. Transcriptions included with material were created by collection donor. Some of the items have been digitized and are linked to from this finding aid.

Guide to the Alonzo W. Phillips papers
This collection was processed by Trevor Wylie.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742