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Othniel Gooding papers

Identifier: c-00275

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of Civil War letters from Othniel Gooding of the 4th Michigan Cavalry to his fiancee, Lucy Dexter of Milan, Michigan. The 4th Michigan Cavalry was organized in August 1862, and spent much of the war in Tennessee and Kentucky, in scouting and foraging work. This work brought them into frequent clashes with Confederate forces. Gooding's letters describe life in camp, as well as foraging and scouting expeditions. He also comments on Union leaders such as George Thomas and William Rosecrans, passes on war news and camp rumors, and discusses political news. He reported that the realities of war and soldier's life had worn down his patriotism, and he remained opposed to freeing the slaves.

The collection also includes a booklet, "Col. R.H.G. Minty and the 4th Michigan Cavalry," which describes the regiment's war service.

The letters 1862-65 and the booklet have been transcribed, scanned and placed online at


  • Creation: 1862 - 1892

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Othniel Gooding was born about 1835 in New York. Gooding enlisted in Company A, Michigan 4th Cavalry Regiment on August 28, 1862. He was mustered out on July 1, 1865 at Nashville, TN.

He married Lucy Jane Dexter. Gooding died in 1920.


0.1 Cubic Feet (, 3 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Chamberlain Memorial Museum, date unknown. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Othniel Gooding Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
December 1964
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US