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Bailey Family Papers

Identifier: Ms 213

Scope and Content

The collection includes Civil War correspondence by Casermo Bailey pertaining to the Battle of Chickamauga and Siege of Chattanooga (autumn, 1863) among others. The papers in the collection span the years 1841-1870 with a particular concentration in 1863. In addition to correspondence, the collection also includes invoices belonging to the different members of the Bailey family.

Casermo Bailey's letters to his mother and father, provide the researcher with a first-hand account of life in the Confederate Army at the Western Front. The Southern population's scorn for the "Yanks" comes out through Casermo's description of the Union fighters as "cowards." Casermo makes mention of the pervasiveness of price-gouging and war-profiteering which grew to colossal proportions during the Civil War. Most of the letters originate from a camp near Petersburg, Virginia. Other locations are Camp Beauregard, Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee, Charleston, South Carolina, and Folley Island. They recount the lack of provisions and the cost of a loaf of bread, the promotion and activities of officers including Major Ingram, Colonel Bullock, General Davis Stark, and troop movements. It should be noted that one letter, dated Sept. 21, 1863, is signed by one C.F. Bailey, instead of C.O. Bailey. This may be Charles F. Bailey, also in the Seventh Regiment.

The collection also includes business ledgers detailing the various transactions and purchases necessary to manage the Bailey plantation enterprise. Being a wealthy man and a shrewd entrepreneur, James Bailey kept a precise record of his tobacco, cotton, rice, and sugar cane holdings down to the bushel (Wayne 1981, 28). These ledgers, from 1858-1877, collectively form a sort of microcosm through which the researcher can see the infrastructure of the South operating on the small-scale.

A glass lantern slide of the Bailey House in Gainesville, Florida (1923) is also included.


  • Creation: 1841-1870



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Casermo O. Bailey was born in 1842 to the prominent Bailey family of Gainesville. Cosmo, as he was most commonly called, was the eldest son of James B. Bailey and Mary E. Bailey. In 1863, at the age of 20, Cosmo enlisted in the Alachua Rebels, Company D, Seventh Florida Infantry Regiment to fight for the Confederacy.

The Seventh Florida Infantry (formed at Gainesville in April 1862) was commanded by ex-Florida governor Madison Starke Perry and later by Robert Bullock. Following its deployment to east Tennessee the same year, the Seventh Regiment assisted Edmund Kirby Smith's 1862 invasion of Kentucky. After losing fifteen men at Chickamauga in September 1863 and fighting skirmishes at Chattanooga in November, the regiment was consolidated under the Florida Brigade. It fought in most of the major battles of the Atlanta Campaign (Hartman 1970, 681). Distinguished for their bravery, the surviving troops fought on until the Confederacy's surrender in North Carolina in 1865.

Sources: Hartman, D.W., Biographical Rosters of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers 1861-1865 Volume II (North Carolina: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1970). Wayne, L.B., The Bailey House Site: The Urbanization of A Southern Plantation (M.A. thesis, University of Florida, 1981). Wynne, L.N., and R. Taylor, Florida in the Civil War (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2002).


1.5 Linear feet (2 boxes; 3 ledgers)

Language of Materials



Civil War correspondence written by Casermo Bailey, and miscellaneous correspondence and business papers by Bailey family members, including James Bailey and Mary Bailey.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Related Material

James B. Bailey Papers (1847-1885), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Also available at the University of Florida on microfilm reel 162H, Special Collections.

Diary of Mary E. Bailey, (1869), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Also available as a typescript copy at the University of Florida, FB B155b Florida History Collections, Special Collections.

A Guide to the Bailey Family Papers
Finding aid created by Gene Goldmintz
April 2007
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America