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Hiram Scofield Papers

Identifier: VAULT-Ruggles-426

Scope and Content of the Collection

Forty-four pocket diaries, 1857-1906 (lacking 1859-1861, 1868, 1877, 1884) documenting Hiram Scofield's Civil War service and his personal and professional life as a Washington, Iowa, attorney. Also a few letters to his young daughters (including one from "Old Chris" or Santa Claus) and other miscellany.

War diaries describe the weather, the life of an officer (accommodations, books read, card playing), the movements and engagements of Scofield's regiment (Fort Donelson, Fort Blakely, Mobile), news of the wider war, visits of Grant and other generals, and troop conditions and morale. Of particular interest are Scofield's observations about the training and activities of his African American regiment. Many comments (see Collection Accession File for excerpts) in the 1863 and 1866 diaries reveal Scofield's respect and empathy for his black soldiers, and his belief that the future relations between blacks and whites could only improve. Also included is a Polk family gravestone inscription.

Washington, Iowa, diaries note daily activities and contain financial accounts, lists of books read, and other miscellany. Brief and factual entries reveal none of Scofield's own thoughts regarding his work or his family life.

Also included is correspondence with Scofield's daughters, 1874-1878, and with brother William Scofield, 1875, and a few biographical notes, calling cards and invitations, railroad passes, Scofield family genealogical notes, a marriage license, newspaper clippings, safe combinations, and corn shipment receipts.


  • Creation: 1857-1906


Conditions Governing Access

The Hiram Scofield Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Hiram Scofield Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Hiram Scofield

Washington, Iowa, lawyer and Union officer.

The eldest of five children, Hiram Scofield was born in Saratoga County, New York, on July 1, 1830 to William and Susan (Bishop) Scofield. Scofield's grandfather, Neazar Scofield, and grandmother, Patience, settled in Saratoga County in 1800. Reared on the family farm, Hiram attended country schools and academies, and graduated from Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.) and from the Albany Law School (1856). After law school, Scofield traveled to Little Rock, Ark., where he taught school for two years. He then moved to Washington, Iowa, where he established a law practice in 1858 with A.H. Patterson. This practice continued until his death on Dec. 30, 1906.

With the attack on Fort Sumter, Scofield enlisted in April of 1861 and was sworn in as a private on May 22, 1861. A member of Company H of the 2nd Iowa Infantry, he was soon promoted to second and first lieutenant, and assumed command of his company at Fort Donelson in February, 1862. Scofield was promoted to assistant adjutant general, serving on Gen. Lauman's staff at Shiloh (where he was wounded in the thigh), Corinth, and in Mississippi. He then served on Gen. John McArthur's staff at Vicksburg and Memphis.

In the spring of 1863, Gen. Thomas received orders to organize colored regiments. From May 5, 1863 to Jan. 5, 1866, Scofield commanded the 8th Louisiana Regiment of Colored Troops (in 1864 renamed the 47th U.S. Colored Infantry), which he recruited and trained at Lake Providence, La. Assigned to Vicksburg until March, 1864, the regiment then joined Gen. Canby's division, with Scofield commanding the 2nd brigade. It participated in the capture and occupation of Yazoo City during March and returned to Vicksburg. In Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas during the latter months of 1864, the 47th then served in Florida and Alabama, seeing action at Fort Blakely and occupying Mobile. After June, 1865, Scofield's regiment was stationed at various Louisiana locations, and was mustered out in Baton Rouge. Scofield himself was mustered out of service as a brigadier general on May 22, 1866.

Scofield returned to Washington, Iowa, after the war and resumed his law practice. In 1866, he married Amelia B. Wilson. The couple had two children, Clara J. and Cora L. Scofield.


2 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



Forty-four diaries, 1857-1906, together with a few letters and miscellaneous items, documenting Hiram Scofield's Civil War service as an officer with the 2nd Iowa Infantry and commander of the 47th Colored Infantry Regiment, and his post war personal and professional life as a Washington, Iowa, attorney.


Organized by type of material: diaries, letters, miscellaneous. Diaries arranged chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

Vault 29 3


Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives, 2002, with the assistance of the Rudy L. Ruggles Fund and Robert Wedgeworth.

Processed by

Karyn Goldstein, 2003.

Inventory of the Hiram Scofield Papers, 1857-1906
Martha Briggs
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States