Register of the John T. Wilder Papers
MS 001


This is a finding aid. It is a description of the contents of an archival collection held within the Special Collections at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web.

Summary Information

Repository
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections
Creator
Wilder, John Thomas, 1830-1917
Title
John T. Wilder Papers
ID
MS 001
Date [inclusive]
1861-1937
Extent
0.5 Linear feet 1 box
Language
English
Abstract
Correspondence and military records written, received, and collected by John T. Wilder, Civil War officer in the Union Army, during and after the Civil War.

Preferred Citation note

The John T. Wilder Papers, MS 001, Special Collections, Lupton Library, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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Biographical/Historical note

John T. Wilder was born in Hunter, New York but began his career as an industrialist in Ohio and Indiana. At the outbreak of the Civil War Wilder closed his foundry in Greensburg, Indiana and enlisted in an Indiana infantry, Because of his leadership skills he was constantly promoted, eventually commanding the 17th Indiana Infantry as Lieutenant Colonel. During the war he saw service in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee. Wilder was among the first officers to mount his troops and to supply them with Spencer Repeating Rifles, which they used to great effect in the battle of Chickamauga. They would become known as “Wilder’s Lightning Brigade.” Wilder was promoted to the brevet rank of Brigadier General in 1864. The man who originally attacked and shelled Chattanooga, as he did leading the Union charge in 1863, would one day be one of its leading citizens.

After the war Wilder moved to Chattanooga, realizing this area would be ideal for his mining interests. He set up the Roane Iron Company in Rockwood, in Roane County, and soon thereafter established the Roane Rolling Mill in Chattanooga. In 1871 he briefly served as mayor of Chattanooga, ran for congress in 1876 but lost, and in 1877 served as postmaster. Wilder maintained several homes throughout Tennessee and continued opening mines in the state. On Roan Mountain, in eastern Tennessee, he built the Cloudland Hotel, a large grand hotel that straddled the Tennessee/North Carolina border high up on the mountain. It became popular as a spa and health sanitarium. Always popular with Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate, he was involved with the creation of the Chickamauga Military Park and the largest monument, Wilder Tower, was built in his honor. Wilder died in 1917 and is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery, in St. Elmo.

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Scope and Contents note

The John T. Wilder Papers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga contain many letters to or from General John Wilder during and after the Civil War. The correspondence breaks down into three main categories: From Wilder to his wife during the war, from other people to Wilder during the war, and postwar documents. The first group contains twenty-three letters and documents, from various people. There are also documents in this area that are actual copies of field orders given to Wilder’s troops.

The second group contains twenty-four Civil War-era letters from Wilder to his wife, Martha Stewart Wilder. The dates of these letters range from July 1861 to February 1865. In them, he gives brief summaries of recent military events, which provide an in-depth view of the actual occurrences of the campaigns in which he was involved. His somewhat detailed summaries give us the actions and what he thought of the actions. The third group contains post-war letters and documents. In this grouping are letters and documents of historical significance and/or are from notable individuals. For example there is a letter from Rutherford B. Hayes, dated September 1881. Another letter, from Phillip H. Sheridan seems to reveal a close relationship between the two men. There are also documents that provide very useful factual information concerning history such as the roster of Wilder’s Brigade during the Civil War and the Reunion Address that he gave in 1899 describing the battle of Chickamauga.

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Arrangement note

Series 1: Military Documents and Reports

Series 2: Personal Letters from John T. Wilder to his wife, Martha Stewart Wilder

Series 3: Post-War Correspondence

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections 2006

615 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN, 37403
423.425.2186
archives@utc.edu

Revision Description

 Finding aid transferred into Archivist's Toolkit by Chapel Cowden. 5/24/2011

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Patrons must read and sign the "Rules for Use" form available in the Special Collections. Please contact the Special Collections of Lupton Library to use this collection.

Publication Rights

The material in the John T. Wilder Papers are in the public domain. For further information, see the section on reproducing and publishing on the web site for the Special Collections, under Policies.

Provenance

The John T. Wilder Papers were donated to the University of Chattanooga by Wilder’s daughter, Edith Wilder Scott, in 1960.

Processing Information note

Collection arranged and described by Steven Cox, 2006.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Digitized copies of most correspondence are available.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Related materials containing additional material about John T. Wilder may be found in the following collections in this repository: The Thomas Maher Photographs, MS 054, and the Nelson Wilder Papers, MS 087.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Wilder, John Thomas, 1830-1917
  • Wilder, Martha "Pet"

Subject(s)

  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (Ga. and Tenn.)
  • Chickamauga, Battle of, Ga., 1863.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
  • United States--History--Civil war, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Indiana Infantry--17th.
  • United States. Army. Wilder's Brigade

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Military Documents and Reports 

Box
1

Undated communication concerning Morgan and Forrest between Generals Ward and Boyle 

March 26, 1862: Statement of Dr. Munford concerning Wilder's illness. 

Battle of Munfordville- Thomas Van Horne; W.H.H. Benefiel. 

December 18, 1862: Special Field Orders, #23. 

December 20, 1862: Special Field Orders, #25. 

March 10, 1863: Letter from Inspector General's office. 

April 16-17, 1863: Wilder to Headquarters, from Murfreesboro. 

May 29, 1863: W.H.H. Terrell to Wilder. 

June 1863: John Hunt Morgan; J.M. Hughes. 

July 20, 1863: Leave of absence. 

August 8, 1863: W.H.H. Terrell to Wilder. 

August 25, 1863: W.H.H. Terrell to Wilder (with newspaper clipping). 

October 7, 1863: Green F. Shields to Wilder. 

October 15, 1863: Colonel M. Mundy to Wilder. 

November 10, 1863: Colonel M. Mundy to Wilder. 

November 14, 1863: H. Jordan to Wilder. 

December 10, 1863: Lawson S. Kilborn to Wilder. 

January 18, 1864: H.M. Wilder to Wilder. 

March 22, 1864: J.B. Crick to Wilder. 

January 26, 1865: W.H.H. Terrell to Whom It May Concern. 

January 30-February 2, 1865: Recruitment documents. 

February 7, 1865: W.H.H. Terrell to Wilder. 

February 25, 1865: Pass for Wilder. 

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Series 2: Personal Letters from John T. Wilder to his wife, Martha Stewart Wilder 

Box
1

July 13, 1861, written from Spencer, Virginia. 

September 26, 1861, written from Camp Elkwater, Virginia. 

October 5, 1861, written from Camp Elkwater. (Transcription only). 

October 25, 1861, written from Huttonsville, Virginia. 

January 18, 1862, written from Camp Wickliffe, Kentucky. 

February 23, 1862, written from Munfordville, Kentucky. 

April 16, 1862, written from Pittsburg, Tennessee. 

April 29, 1862, written from camp near Corinth, Mississippi 

June 17, 1862, written from Olive, Webster County, New York. 

September 12, 1862, written from Munfordville, Kentucky. 

December 15, 1862, written from Nashville, Tennessee. 

March 11, 1863, written from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

April 1, 1863, written from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

April 16, 1863, written from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

May 4, 1863, written from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

May 12, 1863, written from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

June 14, 1863, written from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

June 23, 1863, written from Lebanon Pike, Tennessee by WHT on the behest of Wilder. 

August 18, 1863, written from Tracy City, Tennessee. 

May 12, 1864, written from Villanow, Georgia. 

May 20, 1864, written from Etowah River, Georgia. 

July 10, 1864, written from Columbia, Tennessee. 

July 22, 1864, written from Columbia, Tennessee. 

February 15, 1865, written from Nashville, Tennessee. 

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Series 3: Post-War Correspondence 

Box
1

November 15, 1865: H.H. Wiley to Wilder. 

November 21, 1865: W.H.H. Terrell to Wilder. 

February 8, 1866: James M. Lee to Wilder. 

March 5, 1867: Recommendation of Wilder for Collector of Internal Revenue for the 4th Congressional District of Indiana. 

April 25, 1874: Letter from London, unclear authorship. 

May 26, 1874: George W. Silcox to Wilder. 

July 1874: Admission to the British House of Lords. 

c. 1874: Letter from England, unclear authorship. 

c. 1874: Mary Feilding to "Kingsley." 

September 2, 1881: Rutherford B. Hayes to Wilder. 

January 27, 1882: Letter from Dublin, Ireland, authorship unclear. 

April 20, 1885: Chattanooga Times clipping about Wilder. 

September 29, 1885: Invitation for Wilder to speak at reunion of Wilder's Brigade. 

January 14, 1886: P.H. Sheridan to Wilder. 

March 14, 1889: Mrs. Benjamin Harrison (the First Lady) to Mrs. John T. Wilder. 

September 15, 1889: N.H.H. Bennefill to Wilder and others. 

September 16, 1889: Frank Anderson to Wilder. 

July 28, 1892: Wilder Brigade Monument Association to S.C. Kellogg. 

September 20, 1899: General Wilder Reunion Address (typescript only). 

December 16, 1899: Roster of Wilder's Brigade. 

March 5, 1937: John H. Adams correspondence including poem about General Wilder. 

Miscellaneous- Advertisement for a book, March 1863. 

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