John J. Clarke Civil War Papers
Manuscript #00112

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About this Collection:Clarke Papers detail 

Little is known about the personal history of John J. Clarke. His date and place of birth are unknown; during the pre-war years he was employed as a civil engineer. In April 1861, he was commissioned Captain in the Confederate Army Engineer Corps and served as an engineer until the end of the war, rising to the rank of Colonel. By 1864 he was the Chief Engineer for the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. At war's end Clarke settled in Georgia, where he was Superintendent of the Georgia Central Railroad; records indicate that he was living in Savannah in 1868. He died circa 1889 in an accident in New Jersey.

The collection consists of Clarke's Civil War papers (1861-1865; 12 items). Documents include commissions, military orders; correspondence and dispatches concerning activities in and around Charleston, South Carolina during the period 1864-1865; letter (Feb. 4, 1865) to Col. Clarke from Headquarters discussing proposed use of African-American troops in the Engineer Corps.

View original documents (listed below)
  1. Commission document, 1861 July 8.
    For Provisional Army of Virginia; signed by Governor John Letcher.
  2. Commission document, 1862 February 15.
    Issued by Confederate States of America War Department; appointing Clarke Captain, Corps of Engineers, Provisional Army Confederate States.
  3. General Orders, 1862 April 14.
    Clarke appointed Chief Engineer, Peninsula Department, by order of General John B. Magruder.
  4. Dispatch from General Robert E. Lee, 1862 May 8.
    "In prosecuting the work of obstructing James River you are authorized to seize for the Confederate States any vessels in the river which you may need...."
  5. Dispatch, HQ, 1863 November 27.
    Regarding the construction of a bridge.
  6. Letter to Major J. H. Alexander, 1864 September 1.
    From Clarke, requesting "Co. B., 23rd Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Elliott's Brigade, now serving near Petersburg, be ordered to report to me here, for service on boats supplying Fort Sumter."
  7. Letter, 1864 December 9.
    From General P. G. T. Beauregard, thanking Clarke for his gift of a pair of spurs.
  8. Letter, 1865 February 4.
    From Lt. Col. Charles Marshall (HQ, Army of Northern Virginia) to Clarke, conveying Gen. Lee's opinion about Clarke's plan for training of African-American soldiers.
  9. Confidential Circular, 1865 February 15.
    Detailed directive regarding the withdrawal of troops and materials from Charleston, the harbor forts, and on the defensive lines. From Headquarters, Charleston, SC (Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida)
  10. Roll of Engineer Officers, 1865 March 20.
    "Engineer Officers and Acting Engineers now on duty with Major John McCrady, Acting Chief Engineer." Charlotte, North Carolina.
  11. Letter, 1865 April 7.
    Written at Chesterville, SC by Capt. [Smith?]; regarding duty assignments of various officers; surveying and mapping project.