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Oliver and Theodore Blackman papers

 Collection
Identifier: RG069_131

Scope and Content

The Oliver and Theodore Blackman papers were arranged into seven series which reflect the service of Oliver and Theodore during the Civil War. The series includes correspondence, diaries, personal papers, publications, research material, photographs, and artifacts.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1852-1864, contains the correspondence of Theodore Blackman, Oliver Blackman, Julia Blackman, and Lousia Smith. The correspondence of Theodore and Oliver Blackman mainly deal with their experiences while serving in the armed forces during the American Civil War. This series also includes transcriptions of most correspondence.

Series 2. Diaries, 1858-1864, consists of three diaries which were kept by Theodore Blackman during the years 1858, 1859, and 1864. The diaries only contain brief descriptions of daily activities. The series also contains photocopies of the diaries.

Series 3. Personal Papers, 1801-1930, contains Blackman family papers pre-dating the Civil War. This series also contains personal papers and notes of Theodore Blackman, pension documents, veteran's association membership documents, dog registration documents, and personal notes of Oliver Blackman.

Series 4. Publications, 1882-1890, contains several Civil War veteran's publications including, the by- laws and constitution of the Union Ex-Prisoners of War Association, the constitution, history and by-laws of the Naval Veteran Association, the roster from the 1890 Connecticut G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic), and a roll of honor for deceased soldiers and sailors from Derby and Shelton, Connecticut who served in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I.

Series 5. Research Material, undated, consists of documents collected and created by descendents of the Blackman family. Contains a Blackman family tree dating back to 1588, information on the 23rd Regiment, battle information, pictures, ship information, a summary of Theodore Blackman's letters, and background material on Oliver, Theodore, and Julia Blackman.

Series 6. Photographs, undated, contains photographs of the Blackman Family farmhouse in Huntington, Connecticut. The series also contains photographs of Theodore Blackman, Oliver Blackman, and Julia Blackman.

Series 7. Artifacts, 1858-1900, consists of Naval ribbons, a "Death before dishonor" prisoner of war medal, envelopes, and a soldier's monument pin.

Dates

  • 1801-1930
  • Majority of material found in 1862-1865

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Theodore Blackman

Theodore Hungerford Blackman was born on January 27, 1837 to William Blackman and Julia Peet Blackman in Huntington, Connecticut. Theodore was the oldest of three siblings and worked on his family's dairy farm in his youth but had no desire for farming. Blackman along with some friends traveled to Washington D.C. in search of work in February of 1862. On February 7, 1862 he enlisted in the Union Navy at the age of twenty five and was assigned to the USS Harriet Lane a wooden side-wheel steamer. He was given the position of fireman, and was charged with dispensing coal into the ship's steam boilers. While aboard the USS Harriet Lane, Blackman traveled to Port Royal, South Carolina, Key West, Havana, Vicksburg, New Orleans and Pensacola.

In September of 1862 he was assigned to the gunboat USS Unadilla. In January of 1863 the USS Unadilla captured the CSS Princess Royal. In March the USS Unadilla was grounded on Charleston bar, off the South Carolina coast, causing severe damage to the ship's hull.In May of 1863 the USS Unadilla became part of the Charleston Bar Blockade Squadron which was set up to disrupt the flow of Confederate supplies into Charleston. The USS Unadilla made trips to Hilton Head; South Carolina, Wassaw Sound; Georgia, Port Royal; South Carolina, Jacksonville; Florida, and Tybee; Georgia. Blackman, while in Tybee, mistakenly described the Martello tower there as an old Spanish missionary fort.1

In June 1864, Blackman was reassigned to the USS Pawnee, a 221 foot war ship. In July of 1864 the USS Pawnee was sent to the Stono River in South Carolina to attack rebel fortifications along the bank. During the campaign, the USS Pawnee was attacked by two monitors. The battle lasted for one week and the Union Navy succeeded in their plan to draw 15,000 Confederate troops from northern cities to make them more impregnable. In December of 1864 the USS Pawnee was sent to destroy two bridges on the Wright River to sever communication between Charleston and Savannah. Blackman was discharged from the Union Navy and returned home to Connecticut in February 1865.

Theodore upon returning home married Mary Lewis of Bridgeport on September 29, 1869. Mary and Theodore moved to Bridgeport to be near her family. The couple had no children and their estate was left to Oliver Blackman's son Hobart upon the death of Theodore in December of 1912.

Oliver Blackman

Oliver Nichols Blackman was born on April 9, 1842 to William Blackman and Julia Peet Blackman in Huntington, Connecticut. Oliver was the youngest of three siblings and worked on his family's 200 acre dairy farm throughout his youth. After his brother Theodore joined the Union Navy, Oliver, at the age of twenty enlisted in Company D of the 23rd Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry on August 30, 1862 in New Haven, Connecticut. Blackman was involved in the engagement at Brashear City, Louisiana on June 23, 1863 and was taken prisoner, although he was paroled within a week. After his capture, Oliver was sent to the Brashear Hospital, which had been taken by the 23rd Connecticut Regiment on June 1, 1863. Oliver recovered in the hospital from a fever and was sent to the United States barrack hospital in New Orleans to assist as a nurse. Oliver mustered out of service on August 31, 1863 and returned to a life of farming.

Blackman also worked with the town and county road department. He later gave up farming and sold half of his family's land to the Bridgeport Water Company to build a reservoir, which still borders the property today. Oliver married Eliza Shelton, a school teacher from the town of Orange, Connecticut and they had two children, Hobart and Helen. Oliver N. Blackman died in May of 1932 at the age of 90.

Genealogy

William Blackman was born on April 25, 1803 in Huntington, Connecticut and died on October 18, 1866 also in Huntington. Blackman worked as a school teacher and on December 31, 1835 he married Julia Peet. Julia Peet was born on August 28, 1799 and died on September 3, 1892 in Ripton, Connecticut. William and Julia Blackman had three children: Theodore, Julia, and Oliver.

Theodore Blackman was born on January 27, 1837 in Huntington, Connecticut and died on December 10, 1912 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. On September 29, 1869 he married Mary Amelia Lewis of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mary Lewis was born on July 14, 1838 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and died April 15, 1891 also in Bridgeport. The couple had no children.

Julia Ann Blackman was born on February 25, 1838 in Huntington, Connecticut and died April 18, 1910 in Wallingford, Connecticut. Julia worked as a school teacher in Huntington and married Street Williams of Wallingford. Street Williams was born July 9, 1833 in Wallingford, Connecticut and died April 19, 1908 also in Wallingford.

Oliver Nichols Blackman was born on April 9, 1842 in Huntington, Connecticut and died on May 19, 1932 in New Haven, Connecticut. Blackman married Eliza Shelton, a school teacher from the town of Orange, Connecticut and they had two children, Hobart and Helen. 2

Endnotes

  1. 1 Theodore Blackman letter to Julia Blackman, September 30, 1863, box 1, folder 4, Oliver and Theodore Blackman Papers, RG069:131, Connecticut State Library.
  2. 2 For further genealogical information see box 2, folder 7, Oliver and Theodore Blackman Papers, RG069:131, Connecticut State Library.

Extent

1.75 cubic feet

Abstract

The papers consist of material that pertains to Oliver Blackman,Theodore Blackman, and the Blackman family. Oliver Blackman served in Company D of the 23rd Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Theodore Blackman served in the Union Navy. Included in the papers are correspondence, diaries, personal papers, publications, photographs, and artifcats.

Arrangement

Series 1. Correspondence, 1852-1864

Series 2. Diaries, 1858-1864

Series 3. Personal Papers, 1801-1930

Series 4. Publications, 1882-1890

Series 5. Research Material, undated

Series 6. Photographs, undated

Series 7. Artifacts, 1858-1900

Provenance

The Oliver and Theodore Blackman papers were donated by Joanne Skidmore to the State Library in 2006.

Bibliography

Books
Connecticut Adjutant-General's Office. Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion. Hartford: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard Co., 1889. [CSL call number Ad44 res reb c.3]
Long, E.B. and Barbara Long. The Civil War Day by Day an Almanac, 1861-1865. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1971.[CSL call number E468.3 .L6]
Miller, Francis Trevelyan. The Photographic History of the Civil War: Thousands of Scenes Photographed 1861-1865. Vol. 6. New York: Review of Reviews Company, 1911.[CSL call number E468.7 .M64 v.6]
Websites
Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center, USS Harriet Lane (1861-1863)
Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center, USS Pawnee (1860-1884)
Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center, USS Princess Royal (1863-1865)
Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center, USS Unadilla (1861-1869)

Processing Information

Michael Forino processed the papers in April-May 2011 (Allen Ramsey supervised)

Title
RG 069:131, Oliver and Theodore Blackman Papers
Subtitle
Inventory
Author
Finding aid prepared by Michael Forino
Date
2011
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository

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