Guide to the James C. Woodworth Collection

MSN/CW 1014


Collection Summary

Title: James C. Woodworth collection
Dates: 1861-1900(bulk 1861-1865)
Collection No.: MSN/CW 1014
Creator: Woodworth, James C. (James Clinton), 1839-1900
Extent: 3 containers and 1 flat storage container; 3 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: Civil War papers and realia of James C. Woodworth of Worcester, Massachusetts, who from 1861 to 1864 served in Co. H of the 25th Massachusetts Infantry, rising to lieutenant. Included in the collection are a 6-volume wartime diary and an album containing 73 tintype portraits of members of Co. H.

Selected Search Terms

Soldiers -- Massachusetts -- Diaries
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories -- Massachusetts Infantry -- 25th -- Sources
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Photography
United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 25th (1861-1865)
North Carolina -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], James C. Woodworth Collection, [Folder no.], Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Woodworth collection were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2015, from Jordan Antiquarian Books of Dorset, Vermont. Arranged and described 2015, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2015, by George Rugg.

Biographical Note

James Clinton Woodworth was born on 10 May 1839 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of the carpenter James S. Woodworth and his wife Amelia Stowall. Woodworth attended school in Worcester and Boston and was working as a clerk in Worcester when he enlisted in Co. H, 25th Massachusetts Infantry (13 September 1861). He served with the 25th Massachusetts for more than three years, ultimately being commissioned 2nd lieutenant (1 January 1863) and 1st lieutenant (10 May 1864). For much of the war the regiment served in the Department of North Carolina (later the Department of Virginia and North Carolina), going on frequent expeditions from its base around New Bern. Among Woodworth's most significant engagements in North Carolna were Roanoke Island (8 February 1862); New Bern (14 March 1862); Whitehall (16 December 1862); Goldsboro (17 December 1862); and Gum Swamp (22 May 1863). In April 1864 the regiment was attached to 18th Army Corps in Virginia, and suffered significant casualties at Arrowfield Church and Drewry's Bluff in the Bermuda Hundred campaign before being decimated in the general assault at Cold Harbor on 3 June. Here Woodworth was shot in the left wrist, effectively ending his active service. He was discharged from the army on 20 October 1864. In 1865 he moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, ultimately assuming a position as assistant cashier at the Old National Bank. He was very active in veterans affairs, serving as quartermaster of G.A.R. Post 271 in Fort Wayne. A passage in his obituary, in the Fort Wayne News for 18 January 1900, states: "Mr. Woodworth seems to have kept a record of nearly every man in the regiment, and during the following years, by this means, he was able to be of great service to his comrades who had no other available proof of matters they desired to establish." In 1866 Woodworth married Martha Morris, with whom he had two children.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of materials preserved by Woodworth and his heirs relating to Woodworth's service in the Civil War, including manuscripts, printed ephemera, photographs, and realia. Notable among the manuscripts is a personal diary of Woodworth's in six volumes, recording events from 25 September 1861 to 13 May 1865. The narrative runs to about 800 pages, with no significant chronological gaps. Woodworth did not always write on a daily basis, but compensated for this by providing retrospective day-by-day narratives covering events since his last entry. This practice is especially typical of his accounts of expeditions and campaigns. For example, a narrative of 17 pages in vol. 1, covering events of 6 to 14 February 1862 (the capture of Roanoke Island), was all written on the 14th. The diary's prose is supplemented by around 25 carefully rendered maps, plans, and other drawings, showing military actions, camps and bivouacs, and other subjects. These drawings often fill entire pages, and may be accompanied by keys identifying their various elements. The many plans of campsites are especially notable. Another unusual survival is a photo album containing gem-size (1 inch high) wartime tintype portraits of 67 different members of Co. H, 25th Massachusetts Infantry. Also present in the collection are miscellaneous military documents of Woodsworth's, a few cartes-de-visite of army figures, and Woodsworth's cap badge, shoulder straps, and uniform buttons.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in 5 series: 1. James C. Woodworth Diary; 2. Miscellaneous Manuscripts; 3. Printed Ephemera; 4. Photographs; and 5. Realia. Typically, there is one item per folder.

Container List