Guide to the Marshall McDonald papers, 1777-1926 and undated, bulk 1819-1896
Born in 1835 in area of Virginia that is now West Virginia; Confederate officer during the U.S. Civil War, and U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries from 1879-1895. The collection concerns early history of the fur trade and the French-Indian War; events during the Civil War, including McDonald's position as ordnance officer at Vicksburg, Miss. for the Departments of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana; his appointment in 1879 as Fisheries Commissioner; the organization and work of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and to a lesser extent the Sons of the American Revolution. The Civil War papers are particularly substantive, giving details on the Vicksburg Campaign, the role of African Americans in the war, and topics such as supplies, movement of troops, and other logistics. Letters from the 1820s written by his grandfather, A. W. McDonald, a colonel in the French and Indian War, touch on the fur trade and related topics; and early letters of the Reverend Robert T. Berry and the Griggs family, of Virginia, contribute to the genealogy of those families. Marshall's correspondents include Virginia politicians and U.S. scientists. Includes correspondence of McDonald's wife, Mary Eliza McCormick McDonald, who served as a leader in the DAR.
- Collection Number
- Marshall McDonald papers
- 1777-1926 and undated bulk 1819-1896
- McDonald, Marshall, 1835-1895
- 4.1 Linear Feet, 5,090 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Correspondence, invoices, receipts, requisitions, and other personal and military papers of Marshall McDonald and others, dating chiefly from 1819-1896. The collection concerns early history of the fur trade and the French-Indian War; events during the Civil War, including McDonald's position as ordnance officer at Vicksburg, Miss. for the Departments of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana; his appointment in 1879 as Fisheries Commissioner; the organization and work of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and to a lesser extent the Sons of the American Revolution.
Early items include two letters from the 1700s: one is a copy of a letter dated Mar. 16, 1777, from George Washington, urging McDonald's grandfather, Angus McDonald, to accept an appointment as lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army; the other letter of 1798 is from a John Henry. The letters from the 1820s belong to Angus McDonald and primarily concern the career as colonel during the French and Indian War, and his occupation as a fur trader and partner in the Missouri Fur Company, which dissolved in 1824. There are descriptions of several Plains Indian tribes including the Sioux and the Aricaras.
Marshall McDonald's Civil War papers include a small handwritten volume that notes military tactics, supplies, and the organization of the First Army Corps of the Confederate Army. Other Civil War papers include letters and orders from Gen. Martin Luther Smith and other army officers; slave rolls from 1862-1863 which indicate the payment to the owner for the use of slaves at the Vicksburg Arsenal; a list of free African Americans turned over to the engineers at Fort Anderson; and a report of enemy operations in West Virginia in 1864. There are good accounts of the First Battle of Bull Run and the Vicksburg Campaign. The Civil War papers from 1863 were also microfilmed and a negative reel is available in the library.
Includes family correspondence of McDonald's wife, Mary Eliza McCormick McDonald, who served a leading role in the DAR, and his grandfather, A. W. McDonald, a colonel in the French and Indian War; and early letters from the 1830s of the Reverend Robert T. Berry and the Griggs family, of Virginia. There are letters sent to Mary from prominent women of the time such as Flora (Adams) Darling and Mary Desha. The original spelling of the family name was MacDonald, which Marshall shortened to McDonald, but his wife Mary continued to sign her letters with the original spelling.
Marshall's later correspondents include scientists F. Baird and William Stimpson, and Fred Mather, editor of Fish and Stream, George A. Anderson, John Warwick Daniel, John M. Forbes, Frederick W. M. Hollyday, James Wilson Alexander McDonald, Charles Triplett O'Ferrall, James L. Pugh, William Lyne Wilson, and George D. Wise. There is a large amount of correspondence from the 1870s on McDonald's patented fish ladder, which won a gold medal at the International Fisheries Exhibition in London; McDonald traveled to and received letters from European persons about fish conservation and the use of fish ladders. The letterpress volume listed at the end of the collection consists of McDonald's correspondence while U.S. Fish Commissioner, chiefly concerning his inventions.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Marshall McDonald Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Marshall McDonald was a Confederate officer and U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries.
- William Leavell Thomas papers (contains papers of Marshall McDonald's brother Edward Allen Hitchcock McDonald, Leavell Thomas' brother-in-law; includes Civil War letters) (Rubenstein Library, Duke University)
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Confederate States of America. Army -- Officers -- Correspondence
- Confederate States of America. Army -- Ordnance and ordnance stores
- Daughters of the American Revolution -- History
- Gregg family (Va.)
- Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870
- McDonald, Angus William
- McDonald family (Va.)
- Sons of the American Revolution -- History
- United States. Bureau of Fisheries
The Marshall McDonald papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from 1932-1947.
Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, November 2011
Encoded by Paula Jeannet and Matthew Warren, April 2012
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 33(32)-126, 35-711, and other accessions to 1947.