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Montgomery Dent Corse Papers (MS065)

Identifier: MS065

Content Description

The bulk of the collection is related to Montgomery D. Corse's military career, including muster rolls, commission and discharge certificates, and 63 letters written by Corse to his wife, Elizabeth Beverley Corse, during his participation in the Civil War. In addition, the papers of Midshipman William H. Peters and a few letters written by Mrs. Corse are included.


  • 1846-1982


Biographical / Historical

Montgomery Dent Corse (1816-1895) was born at Alexandria, Virginia on March 14, 1816, the eldest son of John and Julia Corse. He attended Major Bradley Lowe's military school and Benjamin Hallowell's school on Washington Street. As a young boy he witnessed Lafayette's 1825 visit to Alexandria and participated in the inauguration of President Jackson in 1829.

In 1846, Corse mustered a company of volunteers for service in Mexico, serving as their captain. He sailed for California in 1849 and participated in gold mining. Although he made a short visit to Alexandria in 1855, he did not permanently return until December 1856. Thereafter, he was employed in the banking business of his brothers.

Corse served as 1st lieutenant of the Alexandria Home Guard in 1859 and was elected captain of the Old Dominion Rifles on January 7, 1861. He eventually was commissioned as colonel of the 17th Virginia Regiment, taking part in the major battles of the Army of Northern Virginia. He was wounded at Second Manassas, South Mountain, and Antietam. Promoted brigadier general after Antietam, Corse's brigade was on detached service in the Blackwater River area southeast of Petersburg. After attempting to retake New Bern, NC, the brigade returned to Howlett's Line, between Petersburg and Richmond, where he was wounded for the fourth time. At the battle of Saylor's Creek, Corse was captured and held prisoner-of-war at Fort Warren, Boston, Massachusetts until July 24, 1865.

He returned to Alexandria and went into a trading business with his brother. He was a charter member of the R.E. Lee Camp, United Confederate Veterans, and on May 24, 1880 was a distinguished guest along with Governor Fitzhugh Lee and General Joseph E. Johnson, at the dedication of the Confederate monument at Washington and Prince Streets. He died on February 11, 1895.

Corse married Elizabeth Beverley (1825-1894) on November 22, 1862. They had four children: Virginia Beverley Corse (1863 or 1864-1919), Montgomery Beverley Corse (1866-1931), William Beverley Corse (1867-1911), and Elizabeth Beverley Corse (1871-1933).


1.86 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Letters, certificates, and additional papers of Montgomery Dent Corse are filed chronologically and by related topics, the Mexican War and the Civil War. Midshipman William Peter's papers are organized chronologically within folder #14, followed by the xerox copies of related photographs.

Existence and Location of Copies

Xerox copies of the letters are located with the originals in Box 65.

Montgomery Dent Corse Papers Finding Aid
Debby Waller
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Local History and Special Collections Branch, Alexandria Library Repository

717 Queen Street
Alexandria VA 22314 United States