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Milledge Luke Bonham papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-0088

Chiefly letters and papers of Bonham's military service in the Seminole, Mexican and Civil Wars, and his public service governor and railroad commissioner, including family correspondence, genealogical information, and an unpublished biography of Milledge Lipscomb Bonham, Jr. Topics discussed include the Aztec Club of 1847, African Americans and slavery, Clariosophic Society of South Carolina College, the Whig Party, Secession, Reconstruction, politics at state, national, and international levels, and other topics; places represented include Charleston County, S.C.; Harper's Ferry, [West] Va.; Washington, D.C.; Russia; and elsewhere. Correspondents include Preston S. Brooks, William H. Gist, James Henry Hammond, Francis Wilkinson Pickens, Thomas H. Seymour, and others. Civil War correspondence includes 3 letters written in June 1863 that discuss reproduction of a map for Governor Bonham showing fortifications of James Island (S.C.) and its "[earth]works." On 13 June 1863, Lieutenant Colonel D[avid] B[ullock] Harris (1814-1864), Chief Engineer for the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, answered a letter, dated 11 June 1863, and apparently addressed to General P.G.T. Beauregard, the officer in charge of that department, in which the governor asked about "a map of Seabrook's and John's Islands" that he had sent to the General. Harris informed Bonham that Beauregard, who had just returned from Florida, had instructed him "to have a copy made of it, and to return you the original with his thanks." Colonel Harris also promised that he would prepare, at the governor's request, "a map of James Island and its works if you can wait patiently upon us for it"; however, if the governor wanted it "without delay," Harris suggested that he "send a special Draughts-man for the purpose of copying our most approved military map of Charleston and its environs." Governor Bonham delayed his response to Harris' letter until 29 June 1863 because, as he wrote, "I intended sending down a draftsman to take a copy of your map of James Island & its works and had written you a letter to that effect but found he could not be spared at the present." The governor then agreed to "'wait patiently' for the one that you kindly offered to have made for me." He also congratulated Harris on his "deserved promotion so long due," and before making a copy from the draft he prepared, struck though "Major" in the address line, and wrote "Lt. Col." Ten days earlier, W.M. Taylor, chief clerk in the "C.S. Engineer Office" in Charleston, informed B.F. Arthur, Governor Bonham's private secretary, that the original map "of the Sea Islands adjacent" to Charleston that the governor had forwarded to General Beauregard "has been placed in charge of the Express Office and addressed to you." Telegram, 22 December 1863, from Zebulon B. Vance (1830-1894), Governor of North Carolina, requesting a favor to expedite sale of his cotton crop: "Can I possibly through your aid get my cotton transported from Augusta to Wilmington or Charlotte[?] Am importing Army supplies & cannot keep Steamers in cotton unless it comes from Augusta." Bonham drafted a reply at 4:30 P.M. on the same day and informed Vance that he "would with pleasure aid you if I could." But he explained, that "It is with the greatest difficulty that I have been able to get the smallest quantity transported for this state. I will make an effort however & will give you the results." Bonham did as he promised and on the back of Vance's telegram noted the nature of the request, "as to having cotton transported through this state for the state of N.C." and also recorded that he had "made copy & sent to Mr. Mcgrath President of S.C.R.R. Co." William Joy Magrath (1817-1902) was the president of the South Carolina Rail Road Company, 1862-1878, and the brother of Andrew Gordon Magrath (1813-1893), Bonham's successor as governor. Two printed documents: Confederate States of America Loan Certificate, dated 28 February 1863, issued in the sum of $100 and signed by Robert Tyler, Register of the Treasury; and a printed form, 18964, required by the Confederate government to collect a portion of "all of the hogs... slaughtered since the 24 April 1863... and before the 1st day of March, 1864, in accordance with the provisions of section 12, of 'an act to lay taxes for the common defen[s]e and carry on the government of the Confederate States.'" Signed by H.P. Pou, Planter of Orangeburg District (S.C.) on 7 March 1864, the form records that he slaughtered sixteen hogs and produced 1,850 pounds of pork. Of that quantity, he turned over 111 pounds of bacon on 12 April 1864 to government agent, John D. Stocker, at Depot No. 4 in Orangeburg (S.C.).


  • 1771 - 1940


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.


7 Linear Feet (4423 items)

Biographical / Historical

Lawyer, legislator, Confederate Army officer, and Governor of South Carolina (December 1862 until December 1864); other offices held include: S.C. Representative, U.S. Representative, and railroad commissioner (1878-1890); native of Edgefield District (S.C.).


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

This collection is held by the South Carolinina Library. Contact the library at 803-777-3132 or to inquire about scan-and-deliver options or to set up a research appointment. Please provide at least three business days’ notice for in-person appointments.


Also includes accessions number 1001, 1171, 3000, 3422, 5044, 5753, 5815, 6841, 7323, 9024, 10592, 10607, and 13149.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-5747 (Fax)

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