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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier"    Edward Hastings Ripley papers, 1840-1915

Edward Hastings Ripley papers, 1840-1915

Carte de visite of Edward Hastings Ripley

Carte de visite of Edward Hastings Ripley Photograph taken in Richmond, Va., in Feb. 1865

Bennington Museum

View taken from south side of canal basin, Richmond, Va.,April, 1865

View taken from south side of the canal basin, Richmond, Va., Apr. 1865

The Capitol and the Custom House are visible

Library of Congress,

Prints and Photographs Division

Location
Bennington Museum (Bennington, Vt.) External Link
Background
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Edward Hastings Ripley was a student at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. He enlisted in the army in May 1862 and soon thereafter was commissioned captain of Company B, 9th Vermont Regiment. Ripley was eventually brevetted to brigadier general and assigned command of a brigade. As commander of the First Brigade, Third Division, 24th Army Corps, he led the first Union troops into Richmond, Va. Ripley was quickly placed in supreme command and was instrumental in quelling the fires and subduing looting mobs, and the city was returned to a calm state.
Contents
The collection chiefly relates to Ripley's Civil War service and command of the 9th Vermont Regiment. Correspondence concerns his appointments and military orders, the occupation of Richmond, confiscated Confederate letters, and his later research and writing about his war experiences. Recruitment papers from 1862 for Rutland County, Vt., record the current residence, place of birth, age, complexion, eye and hair color, height, and occupation for each recruit. Other military material includes muster rolls, a large number of ordnance reports, and papers on arms and equipment related to arms, papers relating to his capture at Harper's Ferry, and letters and later addresses related to his command of Richmond, Va., after its capture by Union troops.

Among Ripley's papers is his account of the entry of his troops into Richmond on April 3, 1865. This account was delivered to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of New York on Dec. 5, 1906, and was subsequently published:
"At length every preparation was completed that could give to the entry of the Union troops an imposing character. No time could be wasted on this, as we seemed about to plunge into a sea of fire, or, rather, the crater of an active volcano, and if any portion of the doomed capitol was to be saved it had to be done quickly. When the word came, with my three bands at the head of my column, I turned in my saddle and cried "Forward" to the eager troops. The bands had arranged a succession of Union airs which had not been heard for years in the confederate capitol,-- and had arranged to relieve each other so that there should be no break in the exultant strain of patriotic music during any portion of the march .... The air was darkened by the thick tempest of black smoke and cinders which swept the streets, and as we penetrated deeper into the city the bands were nearly drowned by the crashing of the falling walls, the roar of the flames, and the terrific explosions of shells in the burning warehouses."
Ripley's account of the fall of Richmond stands in stark contrast to the account of the jubilant celebrations in Washington, D.C., which he received from his friend John Osgood.

[Read John Osgood's letter of April 8, 1865 to Edward H. Ripley] (PDF, 2 p., 313.92 KB)

(See the NUCMC catalog record)

 

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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier"    Edward Hastings Ripley papers, 1840-1915
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   October 16, 2014
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