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Lemuel P. Grant papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS100

Scope and Content

This collection contains letters to and from Grant regarding construction of railroads in Pennsylvania and throughout the southeastern United States; the defense of Atlanta during the Civil War; and personal matters. Other items in the collection include Grant’s personal diaries from 1843, 1844, and 1845, as well as account books covering railroad land transactions; railroad costs; and cash accounts. Additional items include a report on the condition of railroads around Atlanta, Georgia, (undated) and blank slave pass forms from the 1860s. The account book listing "Negroes Hired and Impressed for the Defense of Augusta" includes for many entries the date, name of enslaved person, owner, post office, county, rate of hire, valuation, date of discharge and remarks, physical description, age, and value of clothing.

Personal letters from Grant’s brother James provide insight into Grant’s family; his schooling in preparation to become an engineer; James’ efforts to get his brother a position as an engineer; Lemuel and James’ health; and James personal opinions and aspirations regarding ladies, marriage, and life in general. James’ letters provide details of the personal life and viewpoints of an American man in the antebellum period. James also describes railway accidents during 1846.

Grant’s diaries document where he was living, health issues, work, reading habits, personal life and weather. Business correspondence from Grant’s boss, J. Edgar Thomson, and others provide details (including some sketches) on costs and supplies for construction of the railroad, including land purchases and court cases involving railroad right-of-ways. Details include information on lumber and millwork, as well as comments about prospects for Atlanta, cotton prices, and the use of enslaved African American labor. Mr. Thomson discusses his investments in the Montgomery and West Point Railroad and the Atlanta Hotel which was built in 1844.


  • 1838-1869


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

Lemuel P. (L. P.) Grant (1817-1893) was born in Frankfort, Maine. In December 1843 Grant married Laura L. Williams (d. 1879), daughter of Ammi Williams of Decatur, Georgia, and they had four children. In 1881 he married Jane L. Crew of Atlanta, Georgia. He was hired as a rodman in the engineer corps of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad at the age of nineteen and then worked his way up to assistant engineer. Grant came to Georgia in 1840 as assistant engineer of the Georgia Railroad under J. Edgar Thomson. Grant was hired as an assistant in the engineer corps by L. O. Reynolds, chief engineer of the Central Railroad (later Central of Georgia Railroad) in February 1841. In 1843, Grant briefly returned to the Georgia Railroad before he became chief engineer and superintendent of the Montgomery and West Point Railroad (1845-1848). He returned to the Georgia Railroad as resident engineer until 1853 and also did work for the Atlanta and West Point Railroad. In summery, Grant helped to survey and build the railroads which connected in Marthasville, Georgia, (later Atlanta).

In 1853, Grant left Georgia to work on railroad construction in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. In 1859 he returned to Georgia to work on surveys for proposed roads but these were interrupted by the Civil War. In 1862 Grant was appointed a captain of engineers for the Confederacy. Among other projects, he designed and built the Confederate defenses for Atlanta. Grant served as general superintendent of the Atlanta and West Point Railroad (1866-1881) and as president (1881-1887).


3.75 linear ft. (nine document cases and two oversize folders)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1932


America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Description Control

This collection was reprocessed in 2012.

Lemuel P. Grant papers
Melanie Stephan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305