Collection Number: 03942

Collection Title: James Trooper Armstrong Papers, 1832-1891.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 180 items)
Abstract Armstrong was the owner of Woodstock Plantation near Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, Ark., and a Confederate Army officer. His wife was Matilda Greene Armstrong (fl. 1832-1891). Also represented in the collection is his sister, Nancy ("Nannie") Armstrong Percy (fl. 1850- 1888), wife of William Alexander Percy of Mississippi and mother of U.S. Senator LeRoy Percy (1860-1929). Chiefly letters from Armstrong at Woodstock Plantation, Jefferson County, Ark., to Matilda at Nashville, Tenn., 1850 through 1852, and while he served in the Confederate Army, 1861 to 1865, primarily in Arkansas. The earlier letters contain mostly personal news, including reports of the well-being of friends and relatives, daily activities, and comments on places visited. The Civil War letters describe Armstrong's experiences as an officer in the 9th Arkansas Regiment, and as an ordnance officer on the staff of Major James Fleming Fagan. Also included are post-war family letters to Matilda at Columbus, Miss., until her husband's death in 1873, and afterwards at Abilene, Tex., where she lived with her son Robert.
Creator Armstrong, James Trooper, d. 1873.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the James Trooper Armstrong papers #3942, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Caro Armstrong of Columbus, Mississippi, in May 1972.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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Processed by: B. Allan, June 1972; Shonra Newman, June 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Nancy Kaiser, December 2021

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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

James Trooper Armstrong (d. 1873) was an antebellum planter at Woodstock Plantation near Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, Arkansas. He served as a Confederate Army officer in the 9th Arkansas Regiment from 1861 to 1862, and as an ordnance officer on the staff of Major General James Fleming Fagan in Arkansas and Missouri, 1864-1865. He died in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1873.

Armstrong married Matilda ("Ladie") Greene (fl. 1832-1891), daughter of R. W. Greene. Matilda Greene's maternal relatives included members of the Porter family, and one of her aunts, Penelope Porter, married James Woods. Both Porter and Woods corresponded with Matilda. She had a brother, Alexander P. Greene, who moved from New Orleans to San Francisco in 1854. She moved to Abilene, Texas, after her husband's death in 1873.

The children of James and Matilda Armstrong included James Trooper Armstrong, Jr., Nellie, Robert, and Woods. James Trooper Armstrong, Jr., married Sarah Ervin in 1887, and they lived in Columbus, Mississippi. Sarah was the granddaughter of William Ethelbert Ervin (1809-1860).

James Trooper Armstrong's sister Nancy, who is mentioned frequently in the correspondence and who wrote a number of letters to Matilda Armstrong, was the wife of William Alexander Percy (circa 1833-1888) of Mississippi and the mother of LeRoy Pratt Percy (1860-1929). She was in Arkansas in 1852.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection consists chiefly of letters from James Trooper Armstrong to his wife Matilda, and letters from other relatives and her children to Matilda. There are two major groups of letters from Armstrong. One group, 1850-1852, was written chiefly when Armstrong was at their plantation, Woodstock, while Matilda remained in Nashville, Tennessee, with relatives. The second group of letters from Armstrong was written during the Civil War when he served in the Confederate Army. Also included during this period are a few letters from Matilda to Armstrong.

Matilda also received a number of letters from relatives and her children, particularly 1866-1891. The letters chiefly contain family news.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1832-1891 and undated.

About 180 items

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1832-1848.

8 items.

Scattered family and personal letters of members of the Greene, Woods, and Porter families, who were related to Matilda Greene, later Matilda Armstrong. The earliest letter is to Matilda's aunt, Penelope Porter, from Matilda's grandfather, Alex Porter, about the health and welfare of Matilda, who was apparently staying with her grandfather. Two of the letters, dated 1841 and 1848, were to Matilda from Penelope, giving family news. Also included is a letter, 22 September 1846, to Penelope from Alexander P. Greene, at a U.S. Army camp near Comargo in Mexico, where he was serving in the 2nd Tennessee Regiment during the Mexican War. He described in some detail a "fandango" he attended and discussed the situation of his unit.

Also included is one letter to Nancy Armstrong Percy from her husband, a social invitation, and a funeral notice.

Folder 1


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1850-1852.

About 40 items.

Chiefly letters from James Trooper Armstrong to his wife, Matilda Armstrong, while he was at his plantation, Woodstock, near Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, Arkansas. He also wrote from Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee, and Paducah, Kentucky. He offered news of himself and friends and relatives, details of his daily activities. He also wrote about how much he missed his wife and inquired about his family. Most of the letters were addressed to Matilda in Nashville, Tennessee, care of James Woods, probably the husband of Matilda's Aunt Penelope.

In 1852, there are also letters to Matilda from James and Penelope Woods while she was at War Trace in Bedford County, Tennessee. Also included is a letter from Matilda's sister-in-law Nancy Armstrong Percy at Chalmette, 27 September, and a letter, 28 December, from F. W. Trapnall of Little Rock, congratulating the Armstrongs on the recent birth of a son.

Folder 2


Folder 3


Folder 4

January-September 1852

Folder 5

October-December 1852

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1853-1858.

8 items.

There are a few scattered letters during these years. They include a letter, 27 April 1853, from Jacob Lindley in Hernando, Mississippi, to his grandchildren William and Molly Anderson. Also included is a letter, 13 December 1853, to Matilda from her uncle, James Woods, and a letter, 19 January 1854, from Jacob Lindley in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, to his daughter Sarah Anderson. The connection between Lindley and the Armstrongs is not clear. Matilda Armstrong received a letter, 4 December 1854, from her brother, Alexander P. Greene, on board the ship Prometheus, on his way from New Orleans to San Francisco by way of Nicaragua, and a letter from Alex in San Francisco, 19 February 1857.

Folder 6


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. 1860-1865.

About 60 items.

Chiefly letters from James Trooper Armstrong to his wife Matilda, and a few from Matilda to him, while he was serving in the 9th Arkansas RegimentConfederate Army during the Civil War.

Armstrong's letters give information about his situation, recent military movements and activities, news of friends, speculation about coming events, hopes for peace, comments on news from Matilda, and arrangements to supply her with money. Also included are a few letters to Matilda from her relatives.

In 1861 and 1862, Armstrong wrote to Matilda from Camp Lee, near Pine Bluff, from Memphis, and from Union City. In 1861, Matilda wrote a number of letters to Armstrong from "Home" (probably Woodstock). In April 1862, Armstrong wrote from Corinth, Mississippi, and described the recent fighting in which he participated (either Shiloh Church or Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee). Also in 1862, Matilda received letters from her cousin S. R. Woods in Nashville, and her cousin Lizzie Kirkman of Tuscaloosa.

In 1863, there is a letter to Matilda from Armstrong, doing adjutant and inspector general duty "about 8 miles from Gen. (John S.) Marmaduke's Headquarters." He expected to move towards the Arkansas River.

In 1864, Matilda was in Washington, Arkansas, staying with Mrs. Eakins, wife of Col. John R. Eakins. Armstrong was in and around Camden, Arkansas, working with ordnance and ammunition wagons on the staff of Major General James Fleming Fagan through April, May, and part of June, and he wrote to Matilda from various locations. His letters from June through August were written at Monticello, Arkansas, the headquarters of the Mid Sub District Arkansas (ordnance), and from Princeton, Arkansas.

In July 1864, Armstrong received a letter from his brother Frank, who was near Atlanta. During September Armstrong wrote Matilda that the whole command was on the move because the Missouri and Arkansas troops were being joined under one command, and his letters were written from various places including Yell County, Batesville, Dardanelle, and Frederickstown, Missouri (headquarters of Fagan's Division). He described his long, grueling march, and his doubts about the effectiveness of the generals and their plan. On 13 November 1864, Armstrong wrote from Perryville in the Choctaw Nation, and on 5 January 1865, he wrote from Cavalry Headquarters, District Arkansas, at Camp Smith Plantation near Fulton, Missouri.

Included are a few typed transcriptions of letters from James Trooper Armstrong to Matilda.

Folder 7


Folder 8


Folder 9

January-June 1864

Folder 10

July-November 1864

Folder 11


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. 1866-1891.

About 40 items.

Chiefly letters to Matilda Armstrong, who was at Columbus, Mississippi, until her husband's death in 1873. After his death, she went to Abilene, Texas, where her son Robert and her daughter Nellie lived. The letters here were written by members of her immediate family, other relatives, and old friends. Most of the letters from the 1870s are from cousins in Jackson, and Nashville, Tennessee. Also included are two letters from Greene relatives in Chillicothe, Missouri, dated June 1873 and May 1875, concerning family property and family history. Cousin James Woods, Jr., of Nashville wrote on 29 November 1875 about family portraits and gave news of Nashville relatives. The letters of 1886 and 1887 are chiefly from her son James Trooper, Jr., at Columbus, Mississippi, and her son Woods Armstrong at the Agricultural College in Mississippi. James wrote about his marriage to Sarah Ervin in October 1887.

In January 1888, there is a letter from Nancy Percy of Greenville, Mississippi, enclosing an obituary for her husband Col. William Alexander Percy. Also in 1888, there are several letters from James Trooper, Jr., of Columbus, Mississippi, describing his becoming a clerk of the circuit court and the birth of his son Frank Ervin Armstrong. There is one letter in 1889 from an old friend, J. A. Harris, of Bloomington, Illinois. The letters in 1890 and 1891 are chiefly about an old property title, and include some Greene and Coffey family data.

Folder 12


Folder 13


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.6. Undated.

17 items.

Chiefly family letters and a few poems and recipes. Most of the letters are from Nancy Percy at "Home" to Matilda Armstrong in Abilene, Texas.

Folder 14


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Microfilm.

Microfilm copies of the entire collection are held in the Southern Historical Collection (M-3942).

Reel M-3942/1


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Microfilm (M-3942/1)

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