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Archer family correspondence

Identifier: MS 0033


James J. Archer was a Maryland lawyer and officer in the Mexican-American War and American Civil War. This collection contains two decades of correspondence between Archer and his family and includes descriptions of Archer's life during wartime and his experiences as a prisoner of war prior to his death (1864-1865). Also included in the collection is various correspondence between other Archer family members.


  • 1843-1864


Conditions Governing Access

Public use of Book of Letters, 1856-1860, restricted to microfilm: Manuscripts Department microfilm MS 33; request other materials in Special Collections Reading Room.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

Archer died due to hardships endured while a prisoner of war.


4 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically at the item level and in four series: Box 1: Ledger & Index of clients from Ledger I; Box 2: 1844-58; Box 3: 1859-62; Box 4: 1863-64.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Harford County Historical Society.

Scope and Contents

This collections comprises approximately 270 letters from James Jay Archer to his family. The letters describe Archer’s experiences as an army officer during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), his involvement with Indian campaigns in Washington Territory (1855-61), and depictions of frontier life and politics at that time. Letters contain frequent references to now famed army officers, troop dispositions, specific campaigns and raids, and the Northwest Boundary Survey. Included also are letters from the American Civil War period (1861-1865), when Archer served as a Confederate brigadier general. Wounded and captured at the Battle of Gettysburg, Archer wrote a series of letters while prisoner of war at Johnson's Island in Sandusky, OH (1863-64). Final letters in the collection were written after his exchange, within a week of his death. In collection is also various correspondence between other Archer family members.


Guide to the Archer family correspondence
In Progress
Melinda K. Friend; David Angerhofer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2019-07-24: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Emily Somach.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States