The Abram H. Draper Collection consists of 34 unique pieces of correspondence, including letters and poetry from Sergeant Abram H. Draper to his wife Anna M. Wiley Draper during the American Civil War. The content of this collection offers a detailed description of Draper’s time while on guard and picket duty, everyday details of the life of a Union soldier in the United States Army from 1861 – 1863. The collection also includes correspondence to and from members of Draper’s extended family, as well as letters and documents to Anna notifying her of his death on January 22, 1863, from typhoid fever at Camp Gilpins, Virginia.
Abram H. Draper was born in New York City and made his way to Delaware as an apprentice who ultimately became a blacksmith. He served in the 1st Delaware Regiment Infantry, a 90-day unit of volunteers formed in the spring of 1861. When the unit was mustered out of service in the Autumn of 1861, Draper waited during the winter and re-enlisted in the army in the spring of 1862. He enlisted in Co. A, 4th Delaware Infantry Regiment as a sergeant. The majority of his enlisted time was on guard duty in Virginia.
This collection came to the attention of the Delaware Public Archives in 2018. The collection was secured due to the efforts of a fundraising campaign started by private citizens, support from the Friends of the Delaware Archives, and the Delaware Heritage Commission. As a result of this collaboration, the unique items of the Abram H. Draper Collection will be preserved in perpetuity and available digitally to the public.