Friday, July 6, 2007

Manuscripts of the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era

I'm writing a section of my family history that concentrates on my Campbell ancestors and the part they played in the War Between The States. Little of that part of our family history has been documented. I am compiling the specific battles, locality information, etc. and found the website for the Manuscripts of the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era.

This is an ongoing project of the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries of Notre Dame that contains images and textual transcriptions for many of the letters and correspondences in their Civil War collection. It is an excellent resource for adding realism to your writing.

Items that have been scanned and transcribed include one topical collection, four diaries, thirteen personal letter groups or correspondences; these comprise a total of approximately 275 letters, and two military records.

Diary Example:

Diary of:
1862-1863. 1 vol., 15 cm., 47 leaves total, with 90 pages of manuscript entries in Arthur's hand. A diary kept by David B. Arthur (b. 1837), as 1st sergeant and 2nd lieutenant in Co. I, 20th Wisconsin Infantry. Arthur was a lead miner, from Beetown, Grant County, Wisconsin. He was mustered in to the 20th Wisconsin in August 1862 and served in that unit for the duration of the war, ultimately rising to 1st lieutenant. The diary includes dated entries ranging from 20 October 1862 to 12 June 1863; during this time the regiment was attached to the Army of the Frontier, serving in Missouri and Arkansas. Arthur's entries describe three distinct expeditions or campaigns, the most important of which culminated in the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas (7 December 1862).

Diary Transcription:
June 12th 1863

Dear Mary as I want to send this book home I thought I would write a few lines as I have not got time to write a letter now. we are at or a little below Millikens bend on the Louisiana side of the river. we will march away to day but I cant tell where. I will write as soon as we stop. you must not be uneasy God will take care of me. I am tolerable well. So good bye we can here the cannon roar all the time day and night.

Some of the collection:

. 1864-65. 16 manuscripts, clippings. A collection of records and personal papers pertaining to the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, Sumter County, Georgia, and to the commander of the prison stockade, Captain Henry Wirz.

This is certainly a website worth looking at for anyone working on the Civil War.


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