Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of the letters and diaries of George A. Hubbard, a member of the 117th Regiment of the New York Infantry. He served in the American Civil War from August 1862 until May 1865.
Hubbard's letters are all addressed to his parents. He wrote frequently, requesting letters from home and provisions such as money, stamps, paper, and food. The letters are sometimes transcriptions of his diary entries. Some of the letters are very faded and nearly impossible to read. The letters were all numbered by a previous owner, and some of the numbers are fractional (64 1/2, 106 3/4) and there are unnumbered letters. There are no letters numbered 101, 126, 127, 128, or 134. Most, but not all, of the letters have been transcribed by a previous owner and these transcripts are included in the collection.
Hubbard's diaries (or remembrancers, as he calls them) consist of six volumes. Some of the diary is transcribed, but the transcriptions do not always reflect each entry in its entirety. His diary of 1861 records daily life in Sauquoit, New York (Oneida County), infatuations with young women, and bouts with depression. There is a gap of some months between 1861 and August 1862, when Hubbard enlisted. He recounts his life as a soldier, both on the battlefield and in troop movements and in camp. The entries extensively record his daily life, from the mundane aspects of sitting in camp and going on picket to the action of battle. He kept careful track of his spending habits in the back of his diaries and recorded movements and weather diligently. A recurring theme is his pride in being a soldier and his devotion to serving in the army until the war's end, even if offered a chance to leave beforehand. He was eager to see action and concerned with displaying courage and valor. Notable actions of the 117th Regiment that are mentioned in the diaries are the defense of Washington (at Tenleytown), Siege of Suffolk, Folly Island, Morris Island, Bermuda Hundred, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Fair Oaks. He frequently transcribes conversations and speculates on the progress of the war. There are entries describing interactions with Confederate soldiers and African-American soldiers.
The diaries can be difficult to read because the entries are not presented consecutively. Usually, Hubbard began his entries on the page of the volume featuring the corresponding preprinted date (such as May 25). When he ran out of space, he would note "see [January 1] " and under that preprinted date the entry for May 25 would continue. After filling up an entire volume, Hubbard employed an "Accompaniment to Remembrancer" (volumes V and VI), the pages of which he numbered, noting in the diary (remembrancer) on which page of the accompaniment the entry continues. The collection does not include a diary (remembrancer) for 1865, only an accompaniment to remembrancer. Therefore, the entries in Volume VI are all continuations of entries that are not found within this collection. The transcriptions do not reflect this arrangement.
Five cartes-de-visite were removed from Volume III. The subjects, mostly men in uniform, are identified on the verso. Three of the men are from the 117th Regiment.
The notes removed from the diaries consist of those created by Hubbard and by later researchers. Hubbard's notes are loose diary entries, a company roll, and a handwritten list of casualties suffered by his company. Notes left by later researchers contain lists of the diary entries and names mentioned in the diaries, as well as a hand-drawn map of fortifications around Washington, D. C. The notes removed from each volume have been kept together, regardless of creator.
The George A. Hubbard papers are arranged in two series: