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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 1, 2011: "A Southern Confederacy will be Formed!"    Uriah Hunt Painter papers

Uriah Hunt Painter papers, 1859-1890

George Richards

Uriah Hunt Painter (1837-1900)

Chester County Historical Society

Battle of Antietam

Battle of Antietam

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, Pa.) External Link
Uriah Hunt Painter (Mar. 5, 1837- Oct. 20, 1900) was a native of West Chester, Pa., and a journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer during the Civil War. His ventures in West Chester included a lumber company, an ice company, the West Chester Telegraph Company, the Delaware and Atlantic Telegraph and Telephone Company, and the West Chester Opera House at Horticultural Hall. As a newspaper correspondent in Washington, D.C., Painter was able to become acquainted with many of its citizens and emerged as an influential person in the town and government. During this time he maintained his telegraph business in West Chester and Washington, D.C., and had additional lines constructed along the Union Pacific Railroad line. As a friend of Thomas Edison and Alexander G. Bell, he promoted their inventions throughout Washington, D.C., and West Chester. In 1884, he established West Chester's first telephone company, the Delaware and Atlantic Telephone and Telegraph Company. Painter was credited with two important reports during the Civil War. He was the first to publish the news in 1861 that the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) had turned to defeat for the North, and he informed the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in 1862 of the invasion of Maryland that was planned by Gen. Lee and his forces. The invasion resulted in the Battle of Antietam. After the Civil War, he was, on occasion, a correspondent for the New York Sun and the New York Tribune and built the Lafayette Square Opera House in Washington, D.C. He died in 1900.
The collection spans the years from 1859 to 1890. It consists of personal and business correspondence, business records and ledgers, and scripts of telegrams that were sent and received. The main body of the collection consists of approximately 27,000 telegrams. Telegram topics include the Civil War (battles, draft and recruitment, war reports, and people) and civilian life (including social life, schools, business life, the telegraph and telephone industry, transportation, and politics). The collection contains an article (1891) written by Smith D. Fry which provides an account by Painter of his arrest by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton because of his published article concerning the imminent invasion of Maryland by the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee. Painter’s published account appeared before officers of the Army of the Potomac were aware of the raid which resulted in the battle of Antietam:
"The information was obtained by me and my assistants from negroes, malingerers, deserters and tramps from both armies.  I interviewed parties who were beneath the notice of the gentlemen who commanded the scattered fragments of the army of the Potomac. Having satisfied myself fully of the intentions of Gen. Lee, I wrote the news, sent it to Washington by courier, from whence it was mailed to Philadelphia and was printed the following morning.  At about noon on the 12th of September I was summoned a second time before the secretary of war and was informed by Mr. Stanton himself that I was under arrest. He said that the publication of the proposed raid had caused a great sensation in the national capital. Mr. Seward, the secretary of state, was greatly alarmed because it was feared that the publishing of such intelligence in Great Britain would cause the recognition of the southern confederacy by the British government. Mr. Seward believed the publication was prompted by treasonable motives… "

(See the NUCMC catalog record)


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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 1, 2011: "A Southern Confederacy will be Formed!"    Urian Hunt Painter papers
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   July 23, 2014
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