1742-1884; bulk: 1861-1867
Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of the papers of Albert Gallatin Browne of Massachusetts, kept while serving as a special supervising agent of the Treasury Department in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida during the Civil War.
Albert Gallatin Browne was born in Salem, Mass., on December 8, 1805, to James Browne and Lydia Vincent Browne. Before the Civil War, Browne was a partner in the ship chandler and ropemaker firm of Whiton, Browne, and Wheelwright of Boston and Salem. During the Civil War, Browne served as the special supervising agent, 5th Special Agency of the U.S. Treasury Department in Beaufort, Port Royal, and Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. He was in charge of seizing supplies and goods left behind by the Confederate Army for shipment to the North and supervising trade and commerce in areas of the Confederacy occupied by U.S. forces. Under certain acts, the agency received and collected abandoned, captured, and seizable property. Albert G. Browne died in 1885.
The Albert Gallatin Browne papers contain correspondence with government officials, the War Department, and others relating to Browne's duties as special supervising agent; lists of captured and abandoned property; expenditures; deposits and receipts; printed and manuscript government regulations pertaining to treasury agents; orders for subsistence stores; vouchers for seized merchandise; legal documents regarding the ownership of cotton and other confiscated items; letterbooks; printed material; and account books. Also included are letters written to Browne by his son Albert G. Browne, Jr. (1835-1891), who served as military secretary to Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew during the Civil War, and miscellaneous letters collected while in the South.
Gift of Warburton K. VerPlanck, Nov. 1980 and May 1987.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Professional papers, 1863-1868
A. Correspondence, 1863-1867
Letters sent by Browne to War Department officials, government officials, the treasury secretary, local special treasury agents, and businessmen about the shipment of goods and supplies, cotton, and other subjects relating to his duties as special supervising agent for the Treasury Department.
Letterbooks of correspondence sent and received by Browne and records relating to his duties as special supervising agent in the South. Letters in Vol. 1 were received by Browne. Vols. 2-4, labeled "department" on the spine, include letters sent by Browne to local special agents, Customs Commissioner Nathan Sargent, and Secretaries of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, William P. Fessenden, and Hugh McCulloch. Vols. 5-6 include correspondence written by Browne to local special agents, mostly in the 4th Special Agency. Vols. 7-9 include letters written by Browne's secretaries regarding shipments of supplies and goods, business transactions, and information relating to the acquisition of seized property. Vol. 10 is a list of reports and communications sent by Albert G. Browne, Jr.
B. Financial records, 1863-1868
Loose financial records
Material related to the financial aspects of Browne's position as special supervising agent. Included are receipts for confiscated property, expenditures, deposits, lists of captured and abandoned property, statistics of delivered cotton, quartermaster store lists, orders for subsistence stores, receipts for property captured aboard ships, abstract returns for the 4th and 5th Special Agency, and miscellaneous accounts, vouchers, and receipts.
Bound financial records
Records of goods shipments; records of captured and abandoned property; invoice books; a stamp account book; sales of cargo of the ship Rebecca Hunt; unsold inventory and appraisal books for St. Helena, Ladies, and Port Royal Islands; certificate and expense books; and federal rules and regulations concerning abandoned property.
II. Personal papers, 1830-1873
A. Correspondence, 1852-1873
This subseries contains personal correspondence sent and received by Browne, mostly from his son Albert G. Browne, Jr., military secretary to Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew. Letters discuss happenings at home in Massachusetts, thoughts on the war, and family information. Also included in this subseries is a typed transcription of a diary kept by Browne while in Jacksonville, Fla., describing his work environment and transactions, traveling with the army, and daily activities.
B. Papers collected, 1830-1865
This subseries contains a memorandum book, correspondence, and other papers, mostly written by people living in South Carolina, confiscated by Browne as abandoned and captured property while he was stationed in South Carolina. Also included is a letterbook from the National Alarm Corporation.
III. Printed material, 1742-1884
This series contains pamphlets, broadsides, and broadsheets related to the Treasury Department and local and national politics during the Civil War. Included are bound volumes of printed Union Army orders and rules and regulations concerning captured and abandoned property.
Sermons and prayers; historical and biographical sketches; almanacs; legal reports and depositions related to the Treasury Department; reports and regulations of the Treasury Department; House resolutions; political speeches; articles and legal decisions related to slavery; newspaper clippings; and other printed material.
Albert Gallatin Browne papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
Materials Removed from the Collection
Photographs from this collection have been removed to the MHS Photo Archives.