Taken from Peterson's 1862 January issue. It can also be found in Godey's Magazine and Mrs. Beeton's Dictionary of Every-day Cookery.
"Beef Fritters - Take the remains of cold roast beef, pepper and salt to taste, three quarters of a pound of flour, half a pint of water, two ounces of butter, the whites of two eggs. Mix very smoothly and by degrees the flour with the above proportion of water, stir in two ounces of butter, which must be melted but not oiled, and just before it is to be used, add the whites of two well whisked eggs. Should the batter be too thick more water must be added. Pare down the cold beef into thin shreds season with pepper and salt and mix it with the batter. Drop a small quantity at a time into a pan of boiling lard and fry from seven to ten minutes according to the size. When done on one side turn and brown them on the other. Let them dry for a minute or two before the fire and serve on a folded napkin. A small quantity of finely minced onions mixed with the batter is an improvement. The fritter will take from seven to ten minutes to cook.
This recipe was so simple that there was no research needed. However, I am interested to know during what meal would it be common to have food served on a napkin.
Conclusion: We loved these. They were so good and so easy to make. The substitutions that I made were to cook them in butter and I added onions to the batter to start. Also, I tried making them two different ways. The first was to slice the beef, dip each piece in the batter and then fry in the butter. The second way was to add the sliced beef to the batter and then drop batter by the spoonfuls into the fry pan. We preferred the first method much better. The second method resulted in some bites with no meat. I also want to note that I halved the recipe and it was plenty for my family of 6, as a supper side dish.