The papers of army officer, engineer, architect, and scientist Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-1892) consist of 11,000 items (39,635 images), most of which were digitized from 51 reels of previously produced microfilm. Spanning the years 1799 to 1971, with the bulk concentrated in the period 1849 to 1892, the collection is composed mainly of correspondence, diaries, journals, notebooks, military papers, family papers, scrapbooks, drawings, maps, plans, sketches and studies, photographs, and other papers.
Collection materials relate primarily to Meigs’s work in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, his service as quartermaster general during and after the Civil War, and family matters. The collection also documents his work supervising construction in Maryland and Washington, D.C., on the Washington Aqueduct, additions to the U.S. Capitol, and the Pension Office building. Meigs’s journals contain detailed notes in mid-nineteenth century Pitman shorthand on the planning for the aqueduct as well as the expansion of the Capitol and the construction of the Pension Office building. The collection also includes material relating to the death of his son John Rodgers Meigs in 1864, and travels in Europe and Texas after the Civil War. Family papers include correspondence of Meigs’s wife, Louisa Rodgers Meigs, his father, Dr. Charles D. Meigs, and his brother, Emlen, as well the papers of his son Montgomery Meigs (1847-1931), who followed in his father’s footsteps as a public works engineer.
Prominent correspondents include Spencer Fullerton Baird, James Buchanan, Bernhard Ernst von Bülow, Ambrose Everett Burnside, Simon Cameron, Adolph Cluss, Jefferson Davis, John B. Floyd, Horace Greeley, Joseph Henry, Joseph Holt, Charles P. Manning, George Brinton McClellan, Helmuth Graf von Moltke, David D. Porter, Frederick William Seward, William Henry Seward, William T. Sherman, Edwin M. Stanton, and Joseph Gilbert Totten.