Montgomery Dent Corse, 1816-1895

Papers, 1846-1982.
Box 65, (.5 linear ft.).

Biographical/Historical Note: Montgomery Dent Corse was born at Alexandria, Va. on 14 March 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).
    Elizabeth Beverley Corse (1871-1933).

Scope and Content Note: 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 to Mrs. Corse are included.

Arrangement: 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.

Additional Physical Form Available: Xerox copies of the letters are located with the originals in Box #65.

Related Material: Alexandria Vertical file: Biographical Material - Corse, Montgomery Dent, including a biography written by Corse's grandson. Portraits of Montgomery Dent Corse and Elizabeth Beverley Corse hang on display in Lloyd House. See also, Hurd, William B. "Montgomery Dent Corse," Alexandria History. Allan W. Robbins, ed. Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Historical Society, 1982.

Source: Donated by descendant, December 1981.

Subjects: Alexandria (Va.) - History - Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Corse, Elizabeth Beverley, 1825-1894.
    Corse, Montgomery Dent, 1816-1895.
    17th Virginia Regiment.

Debby Waller, Summer Intern, 1992


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