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Charles E. Hewins Papers

Collection ID: MG 26

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters, military records, and other material related to Charles E. Hewins, a Massachusetts soldier who fought in the Civil War. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written to and from Hewins, mostly dealing with the Civil War. Some of the topics include the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, General Sherman's southern campaign, and daily life during the war. The collection also contains military records for Hewins as well as a genealogical chart of his family. The collection has been digitized and can be found in the Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Collections.


  • 1856-1951, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 03/10/1978



0.20 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Captain Charles Hewins was born in Dorchester, Mass., September 2, 1841 and was the second of six children born to John and Charlotte Hewins. Volunteering at the beginning of the Civil War in the Union Army, Hewins was enrolled in Company I, 42nd Massachusetts Infantry. Hewins served in Company I until January 1863 when he was taken prisoner at Galveston, Texas. During this same year, Charles' oldest brother William was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Charles however, was fortunately paroled after a short confinement in a prisoner of war camp. After a prisoner exchange was arranged at New Orleans, Hewins returned for a brief period to his home in Dorchester and then came to Fort Monroe near the close of the Civil War. While stationed at Fort Monroe, Hewins and his friend Albert Howe served under Captain Charles Wilder in the Freedman's Bureau. Following the war, both Hewins and Howe began collaborating in the general mercantile business in Hampton, Virginia. A few years later, Charles Hewins began developing his business interests in oyster planting and harvesting. He remained in the oyster field for the rest of his life, and during the first year of business, owned and sailed two vessels, The Independence and The Farmer's Return. As one of the pioneer oyster planters of Virginia, Hewins held oyster grounds at Ballast Marsh and Hampton Bar. On March 31, 1891 Charles Hewins married Mary E. Coats of New York state, at the time a teacher at the Hampton Institute. They resided until his death in the home that he had built on a tract of land purchased from the former Bates Estate. Charles Hewins was active in community affairs and was a member of St. Tammany Lodge No. 5, A.F. & A.M., and of the Hampton Commandry, Knights Templar. In 1927 Hewins suffered a stroke of paralysis and died several months later, at the age of 86. Among those who survived Charles Hewins was his only son, Edward F. Hewins. Edward Hewins was born in 1893 in Hampton, Virginia and is the donor of the Hewins Papers to the Old Dominion University Department of Archives and Manuscripts. Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Edward Hewins achieved prominence in the Tidewater area as a marine architect at the Newport News Shipbuilding Drydock Company. As was his father, he was active in local civic organizations until well advanced in years.

Note written by Susan E. Yates

Language of Materials



Relates primarily to Captain Charles E. Hewins (1841-1927), a Union soldier who settled in Hampton, Virginia after the war. Contains correspondence, and Civil War military papers documenting his activities in the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into three series: Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Military Records; Series III: Miscellaneous. The correspondence is arranged by receipient.

Physical Access Requirements

For preservation reasons, researchers should use the digitized documents in ODU Libraries Digital Collections.

Preservica Public URL

Source of Acquisition

Mr. Edward F. Hewins

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A78-19

A Guide to the Charles E. Hewins Papers
Susan E. Yates
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US