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Hansford D. Norrell Papers

Identifier: MSS-4218

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, receipts, newspaper clippings, and other materials documenting the activities of Confederate courier Hansford D. Norrell between 1861 and 1865. It totals fifty-four items.

One file contains over thirty pieces of correspondence from other individuals about or to Norrell, including letters from P. Thweatt, Georgia Comptroller General, providing introductions to officials in the Confederate government; from Confederate Secretary of the Treasury C. G. Memminger; from Colin J. McRae, chief financial agent in Europe for the Confederate States; and from Confederate Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory. The file also contains receipts for sums of money transported by Norrell; two photographs of Norrell; and three newspaper clippings about Norrell’s activities, including a partial 1922 clipping from the Richmond Times-Dispatch recounting some details about Norrell’s voyage to Paris on behalf of the Confederate government in 1863.

The other file in the collection contains an oversize document granting passage from Britain to America for “William Martin (British subject)” in May 1865.


  • 1861-1865, 1922

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Hansford Duncan Norrell was born on June 10, 1834, in Augusta, Georgia. He was a publisher in Augusta before the Civil War. After the Confederate States of America established their government in February 1861, Norrell moved to Richmond, Virginia, to look for employment with them. He was appointed clerk in the Confederate treasury office in July 1861, and he became a courier for the Confederacy in 1862, transporting millions of dollars in currency between Richmond and various Southern states. Norrell sailed to Paris with Confederate cotton bonds in 1863, escaping a Union naval blockade, and later worked in Europe for the Confederate Navy. He returned from England to the United States around May 1865, after the Civil War had ended, under the false name of “William Martin.” Hansford D. Norrell died on August 22, 1914. He is buried in Augusta’s Summerville Cemetery.


1.4 Linear Feet (Two files, fifty-four items)

Language of Materials



Hansford D. Norrell was a courier for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, transporting currency between Richmond, Virginia, and other Southern locations. This collection contains correspondence, receipts, newspaper clippings, and other materials documenting Norrell's activities on behalf of the Confederate government from 1861-1865.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The University of Alabama Libraries acquired the Hansford D. Norrell Papers in 2017.

Related Materials

The Year of Secession, 1861 Civil War Letter Collection, University Libraries Special Collections, University of Alabama.

C.G. Memminger Papers #502, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, February 2018.
Guide to the Hansford D. Norrell Papers
Erin Ryan
February 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266