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Hardenbergh family papers

Identifier: c-00527

Scope and Contents

The Hardenbergh family papers is a collection of letters written by various members of Catharine's family between 1858-1866. The letters written by James and Solomon Hardenbergh (b. 1835; d. 7-7-1864), (an older and her youngest brother, respectively) and Charles Stanton, one of Catherine's sons-in-law, reflect on various aspects of military life and the campaigns in which they participated. They also make frequent reference to the diseases which took the lives of many Union soldiers. The letters written by Catharine and her sister, Deborah, provide some insights on the conditions on the homefront during the war.

The collection includes a brief history of the Hardenbergh and Baker families which provides the researcher with an idea of the genealogical relationships between individuals represented. The collection is arranged alphabetically by writer of the letter.

Also included is correspondence detailing Solomon's death, a letter from an Albert Boyce (who was possibly one of Solomon's friends), three documents written by members of the Stanton family, one letter writer by G. W. Gordon (relationship unknown), and one letter signed ER, possibly Catharine's nephew (ER Harmon). The battles which are describe in the collection are Dr. Caine's Farm, Virginia Bayou Teche, Louisiana Port Hudson, Louisiana Sabine City, Louisiana Alexandria.

Civil War related materials (folders 2-9 and the CDVs) have been transcribed, scanned and placed online at


  • Creation: 1858 - 1866


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.

Annotations can only be published with consent of Helen Snowberger.

Biographical Note

Thomas Baker (died 10-15-1862) and his wife, Catharine (nee Hardenbergh; born 5-2-1826; died 11-17-1909) emigrated from Cayuga County in western New York State to Barry County, Michigan in 1852. There, they established a farm on 80 acres of bounty land. While some of Catharine's family later came to Michigan and set up their own farms close to the Baker's, the majority of her family remained in New York State.

Before Thomas Baker enlisted with the Union forces (as a private, Company H, 17th Michigan Infantry) in 1862, the Bakers asked Solomon to help his sister run the farm, to which he was ultimately given the deed. Solomon deeded the farm back to his sister when he joined the Union forces in December, 1863 (Company H, 1st Regiment, Michigan Engineers and Mechanics).

Catharine also had three other relatives join the Union ranks. James Hardenbergh originally enlisted with Company H, New York State Engineers, and later enlisted as First Sergeant, 133rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on or about December 3, 1863 for his actions during the Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana. He was promoted again, to First Lieutenant, in January of 1864. After the war, he moved west to California.

Her younger brother, Solomon Hardenbergh, enlisted in the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, Company C in 1864.

Russell Stanton, a brother to Charles Stanton, rode with Company K, 6th Michigan Cavalry and fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Winchester (Virginia, 1864). Edward Davis, another of Catharine's sons-in-law, enlisted in Company A, 161st New York State Volunteers.

Although James Hardenbergh received accolades for his actions, the other members of Catharine's family were not so fortunate. Her husband, Thomas Baker, was captured by the Confederate Army, and died of typhoid fever while in prison in Helena, Arkansas, in October 1862. Solomon's letters indicate he contracted mumps and recovered, only to die of typhoid fever on June 7, 1864. Russell Stanton died of his wounds following the Battle of Winchester (Virginia, 1864).


0.25 Cubic Feet (, 9 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Dorothy Stanton Higgins and Ruth Stanton Randolph, 1984-06-01.

Legal Status

Copyright: Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Hardenbergh Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
W.R. Adams
November 28, 1984
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