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Special Collections

Musselman Library
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Gettysburg College Box 420
Gettysburg, PA 17325

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MS-050: Robert B. Arms Collection

(3 boxes, .66 cubic feet)

Inclusive Dates: 1835-1926

Bulk Dates: 1862-1887

Processed by: Meggan Emler
Spring 2004

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF

Provenance: Robert B. Arms Collection was purchased from Charles Apfelbaum.  


Robert Bruce Arms was born in Brattleboro, Vermont on September 21, 1834 to Hinsdale and Theda Arms.  He enlisted in the Union Army on August 28, 1862 as Captain, commissioned into Company B 16th Vermont Infantry on October 12, 1862 and was mustered into service eleven days following.  Arms and his company spent much of the winter at Fairfax Courthouse and Fairfax Station.  They helped repulse Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg, and Arms returned there 26 years later with members of his regiment for the dedication of the Vermont monuments.  Less than a year after he enlisted, Robert B. Arms was mustered out of service on August 10, 1863 in Brattleboro, Vermont.  Following the war, Arms aided veterans in their pension claims, and served several years as Deputy Collector.  His obituary reports that he died on March 5, 1901 of Bright’s disease, leaving behind his son, Robert A. Arms, a brother, and his second wife.

Scope and Content Notes

The Robert B. Arms collection consists largely of papers regarding quarterly returns, receipts, and letters from the ordnance office; along with muster rolls, descriptive lists and state of Vermont orders.  There is a section on the 16th Regimental Reunions, as well as documents pertaining to Arms’ role as Deputy Collector.  There is extensive paperwork regarding George Stannard’s account, including at testimony made by Arms on the matter of Stannard’s bankruptcy. The researcher will find a hefty amount of correspondence between Arms and William A. Scott concerning the sale of property in North Dakota

Although this is a Civil War collection, it is not a rich Civil War resource.  There are a few orders to Arms from his commander Colonel Veazey, as well as detailed letter from Arms to his parents describing the raid on headquarters that resulted in the capture of General Stoughton.  The most intriguing item is a letter from Arms to his son written in October 1889 describing his trip to Gettysburg, and the possibility of a misunderstanding of what his Company actually did in the battle.  The majority of the collection, however, is the basic paperwork of an officer.  The post-war documents demonstrate how Arms served his state after the war, specifically his men in aiding with their pension claims.

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF