The Averell Collection consists of approximately 260 original letters, documents, and printed matter: the papers, battle journal, newspaper clippings, correspondence, field orders, etc. of Maj. Gen. William Woods Averell (1832–1900), a Civil War cavalry commander, who distinguished himself in some of the most important campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, especially in West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.
Among the items are morning reports, a general orders book, the adjutant’s field book, as well as such miscellaneous pieces as a letter from a private in Averell’s command to Lincoln complaining about conditions; an order signed by Rutherford B. Hayes when he was a brigadier general, another from Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, who later became the Democratic candidate for the Presidency against Garfield. Averell’s battle journal, which opens in May, 1864, describes the battles of Winchester, Lynchburg, and of the Opequam.
Averell, who also fought in the battles of Fisher’s Hill and Mount Jackson, resigned the year after the war to be U.S. Consul General in the British provinces in North America.
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