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George B. Sanford manuscript


Identifier: 00-1964-18-0

Scope and Contents

The George B. Sanford manuscript (1964-18-0, .21 linear feet) consists of an original typescript draft and copy of his memoir, "Experiences in Army Life of Col. George B. Sanford, Retired, U.S.A., lately Col. 6th Cavalry U.S.A.," written about 1893 or 1894, which details his experiences during the American Civil War. A copy of this manuscript was edited and published in 1969 by E. R. Hagemann in book form titled Fighting Rebels and Redskins: Experiences in Army Life of Colonel George B. Sanford, 1861-1892. Hagemann noted in his introduction that as he was editing, he "divided the manuscript into ten chapters, shortened many of the paragraphs considerably by dividing them, regularizing the spelling and punctuation, and silently corrected obvious errors of fact or style, although there are a few exceptions to these rules." Currently housed in 3A Box 31.


  • created: circa 1893
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/05/1964


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical or Historical Information

Col. George Bliss Sanford was born in New Haven, Conn., Jun. 28, 1842, the son of William Earle Sanford and Margaret Cranney Sanford, of an old New Haven family. He fitted for college at the Russell Military School, New Haven, and entered Yale with the class of 1863. He left college during his sophomore year to enter the regular army, having been appointed second lieutenant of the First Dragons, April 26, 1861. After the war, he was given his degree of B.A. with his class. After being appointed second lieutenant he was sent to Missouri, where he fought through the Wilson Creek campaign under Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, who was killed during one of the first engagements. In 1862, Col. Sanford, with his regiment, was with the Army of the Potomac and engaged in the Peninsular and Antietam campaigns. Later he was attached to the staff of Gen. Wesley Merritt in command of the first division U.S. Cavalry, and was in that service during 1863 and the early part of 1864. In the spring of 1864 he rejoined his regiment and was engaged in the battles of Cold Harbor, the Wilderness and in the James River campaign. Later he was appointed to the staff of Gen. Alfred Torbert, who cammanded Ulysses Grant's cavalry corps, and he was engaged in the valley campaign and remained with Torbert till the close of the war, when he rejoined his regiment, which was acting as escort to Gen. Sheridan at New Orleans. He then went to California and later to Fort McDowell in Arizona and during the next five years he was engaged in almost daily conflicts with the passing Indians and in exploring unknown parts of this country north of the Gila River. When Arizona was organized into a territory, Col. Sanford was strongly urged ot become its first governor but declined, preferring to remain in the army. In 1871, Col. Sanford was granted a leave of absence which he passed in European travel. On his return he joined his regiment in Idaho and spent the next few years fighting Indians and in exploring the then unknown portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. He was subsequently transferred to San Francisco and Nevada and was active in the campaigns agains the Nez Peres, Bannocks, and Apaches. He was also in the Sioux campaign in 1876 when Custer was killed. In 1884 Col. Sanford was ordered to the Military School of Applied Science at Fort Leavenworth and later to Washington as a member of a board to devise a new system of tactics for the United States army. Col. Sanford married Gertrude Minturn, daughter of Jonas Minturn, formerly of Bristol, R.I., who survives him as well as two daughters, Margaret, wife of Capt. Edwin Landon, U.S.A., Fort Totten, N.Y., and Gertrude, wife of W. K. Wallbridge of New York City. He also leaves three sisters, Mrs. Charles B. Woodruff, Litchfield and New York; Mrs. Morris W. Seymour, Litchfield; and Mrs. William B. Hornblower, New York City. After retiring from active service in 1892, Col. Sanford came to Litchfield, of which he was always very fond and where he had frequently visited, and purchased the house on South Street, the residence of Oliver Wolcott, Jr. This he greatly enlarged and beautified. Col. Sanford died at the New York Hospital, New York City, on July 13, 1908.

Note written by quoted from The Hartford Courant, Jul. 14, 1908, and The Litchfield Enquirer, Jul. 16, 1908.


0.21 Linear Feet

1 half-document box other_unmapped

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

William K. Wallbridge

Method of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

George B. Sanford collection, Arizona State Universty Libraries, Dept. of Archives & Special Collections

Related Publications

Sanford, George B. Fighting Rebels and Redskins: Experiences in Army Life of Colonel George B. Sanford, 1861-1892. Edited and introduction by E. R. Hagemann. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969.

Other Descriptive Information

This collection was processed with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

George B. Sanford manuscript
Leith Johnson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)