Special Collections Department
Robert B. McKee Papers
Manuscript Collection Number: 416
Accessioned: Gift of Charles Howells, 1956
Extent: .1 linear ft. (66 items)
Content: Affidavits, certificates, circulars, correspondence, dispatches, essays, medical records, military passes, newspapers.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Ryan K. Thompson, July 2001
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Robert B. McKee received his medical training at Pennsylvania Medical College in 1859. Leaving his hometown of Middletown, Delaware, in 1861, McKee volunteered to serve as a surgeon in the Civil War. He worked as a hospital steward and an assistant surgeon for most of the war in Company B of the 1st Delaware Volunteer Cavalry in various areas of Virginia and Maryland. Napoleon B. Knight, with whom McKee seems to have shared a close friendship (see letters of March 1865), organized the 1st Delaware Volunteer Cavalry August 13, 1862. Following his release from active duty in the summer of 1865, McKee returned temporarily to Middletown before moving to Delaware City, Delaware. McKee was married to Anna M. McKee, who received a widow’s pension in 1901 for the service he rendered his country during the Civil War.
Scharf, Thomas J. History of Delaware. 2 volumes. (Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co., 1888), 371, 507.
Index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Delaware. (Washington: National Archives and Records Service, 1964, microform).
Historical and biographical information obtained from the collection.
The Robert B. McKee Papers, 1861-1865, 1901, consist of .1 linear feet of correspondence, military orders, medical supply inventories, casualty reports, military passes, circulars, newspapers, and personal essays. The first sixty- five items are related to McKee’s experience in the Civil War, spent primarily as an assistant surgeon with the 1st Delaware Volunteer Cavalry. The final document is a widow’s pension certificate his wife, Anna M. McKee, received July 15, 1901.
With the recommendations of several associates from his hometown of Middletown, Delaware, including the doctor who trained him, McKee enlisted in the U.S. Army with the hope of serving his country by providing his medical skills as a surgeon. Many of the documents reveal the bureaucratic side of waging a war: supply inventories, casualty lists, requisition orders, medical transfers, and responses to requests for reports. McKee’s service took him from Drummondtown in Virginia to Baltimore, Monrovia, and Relay House, all in Maryland.
The contents of each of the three files are arranged chronologically, with the final file containing several undated documents. About half of the documents reveal the logistical requirements of providing medical attention for army personnel. The other half of the documents relates to McKee’s struggle to receive his final pay after some supplies under his care were either lost or damaged. Internal evidence suggests that the surgeon who served previously to McKee may have caused this problem that plagued McKee for some time after his release from service. The widow benefits McKee’s wife received indicates that the problem was apparently resolved. Two other documents of particular interest are a newspaper, The Regimental Flag, published by the 2nd Regiment of Delaware Volunteers and an unsigned, undated essay believed to have been authored by McKee.
Folder -- Contents
F1 Letters and Documents, dated 1861-1863 (4 items) 27 Jul 1861, ADS 4 Recommendations for McKee to be Asst. Surgeon for the 2nd Delaware Regiment 20 Sep 1861, ALS Thomas Heald, War Dept., to McKee, Middletown, DE McKee notified to report to examinations for Brigade Surgeons. 13 Mar 1862, newspaper (OVERSIZE) copy of “The Regimental Flag” newspaper published by 2nd Regiment of Delaware Volunteers 1 Mar 1863, ALS Brig. Genl. Lockwood, Drummondtown, VA, to McKee, 1st Delaware Cavalry McKee to report to Post Hospital in Drummondtown, VA. F2 Letters and Documents dated 1864 (24 items) 1864, AD Army of the Potomac Weekly Report of the Sick and Wounded 1864, AD Army of the Potomac Weekly Report of the Sick and Wounded 1864, AD Army of the Potomac Weekly Report of the Sick and Wounded 8 Jun 1864, ALS Theodore Jones to Surgeon J. Hayes Shields Jones requested a certificate of disability so that he could receive his Bounty and Pension. 17 Jun 1864, ALS D. C. Clark to James N. Eckler Clark requested to be sent to Washington, D. C. for medical treatment. J. Hayes Shields certified the request. Additional notes are found on the reverse side. F2 Letters, 1864 (cont’d) 17 Jun 1864, ALS William Lobdell to James N. Eckler Lobdell requested to be sent to Washington, D. C. for medical treatment. J. Hayes Shields certified the request. Additional notes are found on the reverse side. 18 Jul 1864, ALS J. Hayes Shields, Surgeon, 1st Delaware Cavalry, to S. J. Simpson, Baltimore, MD Shields reported that both he and McKee were on duty at this post. 26 Jul 1864, TD Surgeon C. F. H. Campbell was assigned to 3rd Separate Brigade as Medical Director by Brig. Genl. Lockwood. Aug 1864, TD Report of Sick and Wounded at Monrovia, MD (OVERSIZE) 11 Aug 1864, AL Dr. E. [Blys?], Baltimore, MD, to J. H. Shields, Annapolis, MD. Blys needs several receipts signed. 12 Aug 1864, TD Special Requisition made by J. Hayes Shields for ambulance and mules. 21 Aug 1864, TD Special Requisition made by J. Hayes Shields for ambulance parts and mules. 2 Sep 1864, AD Packer’s List of Medical Stores sent to Surgeon Shields, Monrovia, MD 7 Sep 1864, ALS Surgeon Shields, Monrovia, MD, to Surgeon Cox, Baltimore, MD Shields received the receipt for medical supplies received. 25 Sep 1864, AD Invoice of Medicines, Hospital Store, & c. received by J. Hayes Shield, Monrovia, MD. 1 Oct 1864, TD Requisition for Medical and Hospital Supplies F2 Letters, 1864 (cont’d) 8 Dec 1864, TL J. J. Woodward, Washington, D.C., to Surgeon in Charge Woodward requires the May Report of Sick and Wounded to be sent. 13 Dec 1864, AD Packer’s List of Medical Supplies 17 Dec 1864, TLS [A. Cummry?], Baltimore, MD, to McKee, Monrovia, MD Cummry sent a Bill of Lading and Invoice of Public Stores. 19 Dec 1864, TLS C. C. Cox, Baltimore, MD, to McKee, Monrovia, MD Cox sent Invoice and Receipts of Medical and Hospital Stores. 26 Dec 1864, ALS McKee to Headquarters, Monrovia, Md McKee explained about a missing report. 28 Dec 1864, ALS J. Hayes Shields, Harper’s Ferry, VA, to McKee, Monrovia, MD Shields sent duplicate invoices and triplicate receipts for medical and hospital stores. 29 Dec 1864, AD Circular ordering inventories to be sent to Headquarters. The reverse side contains statement by McKee that the required receipts had been sent dated 31 Dec 1864. 30 Dec 1864, ALS McKee, Monrovia, MD, to Brig. Genl. J. K. [Barnes?], Washington, D. C. McKee sent receipt of Medical Stores and Instruments given him by Shields. F3 Letters and Documents dated 1865, 1901, n. d. (38 items) 23 Jan 1865, ADS Simpson, Baltimore, MD, to McKee, Monrovia, MD Simpson needed report of sick and wounded. 24 Jan 1865, ALS McKee, Monrovia, MD to Surgeon Simpson, Baltimore, MD McKee sent report of sick and wounded. F3 Letters, 1865, 1901, n. d. (cont’d) 21 Mar 1865, ADS Lt. Col. [Napoleon] B. Knight was to be restored to his command in the Delaware Cavalry. 23 Mar 1865, ALS [Napoleon] B. Knight to Doctor [McKee?] Knight requested help putting things in order for his return. 27 Mar 1865, ALS [Napoleon] B. Knight to Doctor [McKee?] Knight received earlier letter. Reverse side contains portion of another letter. 4 Apr 1865, ADS McKee to report to Relay House, MD. 2 May 1865, ADS McKee is detailed to temporary duty at Headquarters, Relay House, MD. 15 May 1865, ALS McKee to Lt. Col. Samuel B. Laurence, Relay House, MD McKee requested permission to visit Baltimore City on personal business for ten hours. 18 May 1865, ADS Leave of absence granted to McKee. 28 May 1865, ADS McKee to return to duty at Monrovia. 30 Jun 1865, ALS N. P. Rice, Relay House, MD, to Col. Simpson, Baltimore, MD Rice requested instructions on how to help McKee with problem of property in his care. 7 Jul 1865, ALS Henry Johnson, Washington, D. C., to McKee Johnson requested McKee to send Invoice of Medical and Hospital Stores. 10 Jul 1865, ALS McKee, Middletown, DE, to Henry Johnson, Washington, D. C. McKee explained that he had sent invoices and boxes of supplies. F3 Letters, 1865, 1901, n. d. (cont’d) 14 Jul 1865, ALS McKee, Middletown, DE, to F. Speel, Baltimore, MD McKee desired to know if the goods he had shipped to Speel had arrived. 25 Jul 1865, AL list of items that were not included on a receipt 29 Jul 1863, ALS Henry Johnson, Washington, D. C., to McKee, Middletown, DE Johnson returned a receipt for Medical and Hospital Supplies to McKee. 17 Oct 1865, ADS Affidavit sworn by McKee regarding missing supplies. 4 Oct 1865, TLS John Billings, Washington D. C., to McKee, Middletown, DE McKee needed to return invoices and affidavits before he could settle the return of Medical and Hospital Property. 19 Oct 1865, ALS McKee, Delaware City, DE, to Paymaster Genl., Washington, D. C. McKee informed him that there was no stoppage on his account so he should receive his final pay. 1 Nov 1865, ALS McKee, Delaware City, DE, to 2nd Auditor, Washington, D. C. McKee requested a certificate of non-indebtedness in order to receive his final pay. 20 Nov 1865, AL to Q. M. Genl. The letter informs the Quartermaster General that the affidavit had been sent. 29 Nov 1865, ALS from Charles Thomas, Washington D. C. Affidavits taken after October need additional certificates. 8 Dec 1865, TLS A. J. Perry, Washington, D. C., to McKee, Delaware City, DE The affidavit had been forwarded to the Office of the Second Auditory of the Treasury. F3 Letters, 1865, 1901, n. d. (cont’d) 12 Dec 1865, ALS McKee, Delaware City, DE, to 2nd Auditor, Washington, D. C. McKee informed them that he had received the proper certificates and was awaiting their certificate in order to receive his final pay. 12 Dec 1865, ALS McKee, Delaware City, DE, to 2nd Auditor, Washington, D. C. McKee informed them that he had received the proper certificates and was awaiting their certificate in order to receive his final pay. 16 Dec 1865, TL Benjamin Card, Washington, D. C., to McKee, Delaware City, DE McKee informed that the Quartermaster General’s office did not issue certificates of non-indebtedness. 20 Dec 1865, AL E. B. Frank, Washington, D. C., to McKee, Delaware City, DE McKee informed that the Second Auditor’s Office will examine the matter. 27 Dec 1865, ALS Alex P. Perry, Washington D. C. to McKee, Delaware City, DE Perry acknowledged receipt of affidavit. 15 Jul 1901, TDS Widow’s Pension Certificate for Anna M. McKee n.d., ALS N. P. Rice, Relay House, MD, to McKee, Monrovia, MD Rice inquired about men who could work as a hospital steward. n.d., AL The letter contains an explanation of missing reports. n.d., AM short essay of 2 pages by [McKee] n.d., AM Copy of military regulations concerning lost property. n.d., TD Circular from 2nd Auditor’s Office, Treasury Dept, concerning settlement of property accounts. (2 copies) F3 Letters, 1865, 1901, n. d. (cont’d) n.d., AD Invoice of Medicines, Hospital Stores, &c…J. Hayes Shields n.d., AD Invoice of Medicines, Hospital Stores, &c…R. B. McKee n.d., AD list of medical supplies