Aaron Beck Collection of Civil War Letters

Collection Summary

Title: Aaron Beck Collection of Civil War Letters
Call Number: MS 2017-09
Size: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Acquisition: Purchased from Dennis Coffey, 4-2005
Processed by: JAW, 5-2011; JZ, 9-2016
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher, to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

This collection consists of 18 letters received by Illinois resident Aaron S. Beck from his friends and relatives, almost all of whom served in the Union army between 1863 and 1865. Topics include daily military life, skirmishes with Confederate forces, weather, women, the creation of Negro regiments, and Copperheads.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 Correspondence. This series consists of correspondence to Aaron Beck, 1863-1865. Material is arranged alphabetically by sender, and then chronologically. Typed transcriptions of the letters follow the handwritten documents and are arranged in the same manner.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Diaries

Box 1 FF 1 Letter and envelope from Daniel Baney, Knoxville, Tennessee, General Hospital No. 1, Ward 6, dated 8-14-1864. No military information is included, but Baney was probably with the 66th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company I. This letter describes his gangrenous wound and the subsequent medical treatment he underwent.
Box 1 FF 2 Letter and envelope from Aaron's cousin, Henry Beck, Savannah, Georgia, serving with the 92nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company E, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division, dated 1-21-1865. This letter describes preparing for a march to Charleston, acquiring horses, and reporting and inquiring on common acquaintances.
Box 1 FF 3 Letters and envelope from Elias G. Bowers, Camp White Station, Tennessee, serving with the 142nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company D, dated 7-4-1864. This letter describes soldiers' activities while on leave in Freeport, being mustered into the regiment, picket duty, the unit's march to Camp Butler, boarding a steamer to Cairo and then sailing onto Memphis. A second letter from Bowers (most likely enclosed with the first) contains a description of Fourth of July activities, asks about celebrations and people back home, and also mentions camp meetings.
Box 1 FF 4 Letter and envelope from Orange E. Bowers, Overton Hospital, Memphis Tennessee, dated 4-21-1863. No military information is included, but Bowers probably served initially in the 15th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company H. This letter describes his hospital stay and treatment for a broken leg. It mentions girls back home and his declaration of love to Aaron's sister, Julia Ann.
Box 1 FF 5 Letter and envelope from William H. Fleisher, Hebron's Plantation, Mississippi, dated 11-8-1863. No military information is included, but Fleisher may have served in the 4th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, Company E. This letter includes information about his unit's location near Vicksburg, and the organizing of a Negro army unit.
Box 1 FF 6 Letters and envelopes from Isaac F. Hallman serving with the 92nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company I. Letter from Hallman, near Franklin, Tennessee, dated 3-5-1863, describes picket duty and the punishment of fellow soldiers, and also asks about people at home. Letter and envelope from Hallman, near Franklin, Tennessee, dated 4-19-1863, tells of men who were found sleeping on duty and duly punished, as well as the building of forts against the rebels. Letter and envelope from Hallman, near Franklin, Tennessee, dated 5-9-1863, contains a description of building fortifications and picket duty. Letter and envelope from Hallman, near Savannah, Georgia, serving with the 92nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company I, Kilpatrick's Cavalry, dated 1-21-1865, tells of impending orders to South Carolina, the presence of Henry Beck, and remarks on Aaron's teaching school.
Box 1 FF 7 Letter and envelope from A. J. Kingery, 92nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, near Atlanta, Georgia, dated 8-8-1864. This letter talks about guarding the railroads, shooting occurring across the Chattahoochi [sic] River, General Sherman's activities, and the girls back home
Box 1 FF 8 Letter and envelope from R. D. Krebs, Madison, Wisconsin, dated 12-20-1863. This letter provides information about the author attending school.
Box 1 FF 9 Letters and envelopes from Riley Lower, serving with the 15th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company H. Letter from Lower, Lafayette, Tennessee, dated 3-6-1863, contains patriotic musings, condemns Copperheads, and notes the guarding of railroads. Letter and envelope from Lower, Memphis, Tennessee, dated 4-11-1863, describes being encamped, the depleted South, the raising of a Negro company, and notes contempt for Copperheads.
Box 1 FF 10 Letters and envelopes from Isaac Michael, serving with the 92nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company I. Letter from Michael, near Franklin, Tennessee, dated 4-30-1863, mentions President Lincoln's proclamation of a day devoted to fasting and prayer. It also describes the shelter tents used by the soldiers and a skirmish resulting in the taking of Confederate prisoners. Letter and envelope from Michael, near Franklin, Tennessee, dated 5-16-1863, describes working on fortifications and daily drills, as well as the consequences of missing drill and roll call. Letter and envelope from Michael, near Triune, Tennessee, dated 6-12-1863, describes some skirmishes with the Confederate Army, as well as thoughts of impending battle.
Box 1 FF 11 Letter and envelope from John Reed, Triune, Tennessee, serving with the 92nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company D, dated 6-23-1863. This letter tells of Reed's enlistment and describes the movement of his regiment from Illinois to Tennessee via Kentucky, and his prediction of victory at Vicksburg.
Box 1 FF 12 Transcriptions of letters by WSU student Judith Welfelt, 2011.