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Collection of Confederate State of America Materials

Call Number: MS191

Scope and Contents

This collection includes materials documenting the political and economic activities of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The collection includes bills and amendments; bonds; correspondence; forms; notes; reports; speeches; a list of members of the Confederate States of America House of Representatives; Confederate States of America policy regarding the employment of African American troops; a blank muster roll; and a ledger listing legislative acts and joint resolutions passed by the Congress of the Confederate States. Forms document the desertion of Jefferson Davis (former president of the Confederate States of America), John C. Breckenridge (former Confederate secretary of war), and George Alfred Trenholm (prominent politician and Confederate secretary of treasury), on April 16, 1865. There are also 'Oath and Parole' forms for Davis and Trenholm, of the same date. Reports include a report of the attorney general and the minority report of the Special Committee to investigate the affairs of the navy department.


  • Creation: 1861 -- 1865


This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Biographical / Historical

The Confederate States of America was a collection of eleven Southern states which formed a government when they seceded from the Union in 1860-1861. The government was led by Jefferson Davis, and lasted until the spring of 1865. Though the Confederacy carried on a major war, it ultimately was never recognized as a sovereign nation, and was disbanded after its defeat in the Civil War.

Prior to the outbreak of the war, the South felt their economy and traditions threatened by rising abolitionist sentiment in the North. With the election of Abraham Lincoln, seven states initially seceded from the Union: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas. After the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia additionally joined the Confederacy. Headed by President Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy created its own constitution, modeled after the U.S. Constitution.

The principal issue of the Confederacy was raising and equipping an army to fight Union forces. Though bolstered by initial victories in 1861 and 1862, the army was defeated in battles at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, which shattered the illusion of the supremacy of their army. General Robert E. Lee and General Joseph E. Johnston were able to fend off the Northern armies in the North and West for a time, but ultimately were worn down by dwindling manpower and stronger Union armies. After the surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9th, 1865, Confederate generals in the South subsequently surrendered or disbanded their armies. The Confederacy ceased to exist with the end of the Civil War, and each state was readmitted to the Union in the Reconstruction Era, after individually ratifying the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.


1.96 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized in one series.

Custodial History

These proclamations were found in the Ryder Collection of Confederate Archives in 2011; the Ryder collection was cataloged as part of the WPA in 1939/1940 but in later decades the catalog ( A Calendar of the Ryder Collection of the Confederate Archives at Tufts College 1940) was forgotten and library staff added other materials to the Ryder collection, usually items from the South, from the 18th and 19th century and around the time of the Civil War.

Because the proclamations were not part of the original Ryder collection, items were removed and a separate, 'artificial' collection was created.

Processing Information

Processed by Susanne Belovari, spring 2012.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States