Here is presented the George Hiram Coulson papers. These were obtained from the University of North Carolina Libraries on microfilm and then transferred to digital format by the webmaster. The official citation for the collection at UNC is: George Hiram Coulson Papers, #3540, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m indebted to the University of North Carolina for preserving these papers. The originals are presumably still in the possession of members of the family.
George Hiram Coulson was one of five Coulsons (all apparently related) who served in Company E. The others are Eli W. Coulson, Eli G. Coulson, William G. S. Coulson and George S. Coulson. All of the Coulsons are listed as privates in the regimental history; however, one roster of those honorably discharged has an “Eli G. Coulson, M.D.” That a physician would have served as a private seems highly unlikely. Also, the presence of two men named Eli Coulson and two named George Coulson, albeit with different middle names, has caused some confusion.
Most of the letters and documents presented here are those of George Hiram Coulson, save for the last several which are written by some of the other family members mentioned. These final letters relate to the injury, arm amputation and later death of George. As you read through this compilation of documents you will begin to know George Hiram, a school teacher from Morgan County, who learns to adjust to Army life and has some insightful things to say on a wide variety of subjects. In some of his letters he deals with such subjects as the high level of discipline of black troops (two artillery regiments, USCA), the Ft. Pillow massacre, the rebels’ declining morale, the death of General McPherson, his admiration of Abraham Lincoln, and his dislike of what he perceived as Fremont’s attempt to split the party.