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Andrew and Charles Talcott Letters

Identifier: MSS-4343

Content Description

One letter from Andrew Talcott and ten letters to and from Charles Talcott written between 1852 and 1867. Father and son, both Andrew and Charles worked as civil engineers on railroads in the United States and Mexico. Andrew writes about railroad work, and he is mentioned in Charles’ letters concerning engineering work and some personal affairs. Most of the letters are from Charles Talcott to his wife, Theodosia “Thedie” Talcott, discussing their moves to Mexico in 1865, and the domestic affairs of his family. He wrote about the climate and culture he experienced in Havana, Cuba and the cities of Tacubaya, Orizaba, and Veracruz, Mexico. The letter from Charles dated June 8, 1867, discusses the end of Emperor Maximilian’s rule of Mexico and the instability he experienced before ultimately returning to the United States.


  • 1852-04-17 - 1867-06-08

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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. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. 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.

Biographical / Historical

Andrew Talcott (1797-1883) was a United States engineer, West Point graduate, and friend of Robert E. Lee. He is known for the construction of the Richmond and Danville Railroad constructed in 1849. In 1857, Andrew was hired to construct a railroad between Orizaba to Maltrata as infrastructure was being built to better connect the surrounding regions with Veracruz and Mexico City. With General Lee’s encouragement, Andrew accepted the role of State Engineer of Virginia assigned with the coastal defense of Richmond, Virginia in 1861. However, he resigned from the position to return to his engineering work in Mexico in refusal to fight against either the Union or Confederate armies.

Charles Talcott (d. 1867), an engineer and Andrew’s son, followed his father to Mexico and engaged in the same work. Unlike Andrew, he left Mexico to join the Confederate Army through to the end of the Civil War when he rejoined his father. During Charles service with the Confederate army, he was the Military Superintendent of the Richmond and Danville Railroad.

Maximilian I was the head of French-occupied Mexico from 1864-1867. Many ex-Confederate soldiers fled to Mexico at the conclusion of the United States Civil War. At the end of Maximilian’s government, both Andrew and Charles Talcott left Mexico to return to the United States. Charles had contracted tuberculosis while in Mexico and died not long after he returned to the United States in 1867.


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Language of Materials


Guide to Andrew and Charles Talcott Letters
Finding aid created by Kendall Hallberg, January 2023.
January 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266