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​Military Conflicts in Special Collections

This guide offers brief descriptions of relevant collections related to conflicts. Links are provided whenever online inventories exist.

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Teaching with Primary Source Materials

Our collections exist to be used. When students work directly with primary source materials, historic photographs, and documents that are old or unique, they discover an excitement and passion not generated by textbooks.

Primary source documents can inspire, but they also teach about learning to verify sources, tracking down connections, finding evidence from content and from physical clues.

For specific questions, contact our Instruction Program Coordinator Jennifer O'Neal, University Historian and Archivist.

Civil War materials in SCUA Collections

Bensell, Royal Augustus, 1838-1921.
Diary, 1862-1864, and scrapbook.
1 box; .5 lin. ft.
Bensell was born in Cassville, Wisconsin, and went to California with his father in 1849. He was a resident of Volcano, California, at the time of the Civil War, and enlisted in Company D, 4th California Infantry. The company was assigned to Ft. Yamhill, Oregon, where Bensell, a corporal, spent the next three years. He later moved to Yaquina Bay and was an early settler of Newport, Oregon.
The diary was edited by Gunter Barth, and published by University of Oregon Books in 1959 under the title All Quiet on the Yamhill.
Ax 118

Borthwick Family.
Papers, 1859-1948.
20 boxes, 10 vol.; 11 lin. ft.
The major part of the Borthwick family papers consists of the diaries, letters, and business papers of Alexander Borthwick. A native of Cornwallville, New York, he served in the Civil War with Company B, 4th New York Artillery, and Company C, 2nd Regiment, New York Cavalry. After the war, he attended school, first at Ft. Edward Institute, Ft. Edward, New York, then at the Eastman National Business College, Poughkeepsie, New York. In 1867 he went west to seek his fortune, working in various places and at various jobs en route. At various times he worked for railroads, was a county clerk, a real estate agent, and dealt in mining properties. In 1905 he settled in Portland, Oregon, and remained there until his death, working in the real estate business.
Five of the diaries cover Borthwick's Army service.
Ax 16

Bowermeister, Simon R., d. 1864.
Letters, 1863.
1 folder.
Bowermeister was an enlisted man in Company D, 3rd Regiment, Virginia Mounted Riflemen. The letters are to Harriet A. McConnell; most are from Beverly and New Creek, West Virginia. Bowermeister died in a Confederate prison in 1864.
A 173

Bradford, Jacob A.
Diaries and letters, 1861-1864.
1 box; .5 lin. ft.
Bradford was an enlisted man in Company F, 2nd Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. Most of the letters are to his wife in Greenville, Michigan.
Ax 119

Burns, Edward.
Letter, Dec. 18, 1862.
1 letter (8 p.)
Letter to James D. Boyle, Newark, New Jersey, describing the battle of Fredericksburg. Written from a camp opposite Fredericksburg, Virginia.
CA 1862 Dec. 18

Campbell, John F.
Letter, Aug. 6, 1893.
1 letter (4 p.)
Letter to "Aunt and relatives," reporting the death of his brother at the battle of Gettysburg, and describing the burial arrangements.
CA 1863 Aug. 6

Claypool, George.
Letters, 1861, 1862.
2 letters.
Claypool served in the 81st Ohio Volunteers. The letters are addressed to George Porter.
In the Isabella Porter Spencer papers, A 115

Gibbs Alfred, 1823-1868.
Letters, 1864-1965.
4 letters.
Gibbs graduated from West Point in 1846. He served in the war with Mexico, 1846-1848, and in the Civil War, 1862-1865, as Colonel of the 130th New York Volunteers and the 1st New York Dragoons. Gibbs was brevetted Major in 1864 after the Battle of Winchester. He also served at the battles of Cold Harbor, Five Forks, and Appomattox. The letters, written to various family members, discuss battles and Army life.
In the Wolcott-Gibbs Family papers, Ax 277

Gillian, James H.
Letter, Dec. 19, 1861.
1 letter (2 p.)
Letter to his mother, saying that his company is building winter quarters and that they expect no fighting until spring.
CA 1861 Dec. 19

Gillian, James H.
Letter, Dec. 11, 1862.
1 letter (2 p.)
Letter to his mother, written from a camp near Bridgeport, Alabama. Asks about two friends who are also in the Army.
CA 1862 Dec. 11

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961. Finding aid
Notes on American folklore, folk songs, and ballads, and personal papers, 1909-1934.
16 boxes, 4 vol.; 8 lin. ft.
Gordon was a folklorist and writer. The notes are typed material from published sources, singers, and reciters. The collection is especially representative of the Civil War period and the South. It includes the private collections of Joanna Colcord, Joseph McGinnis, Mary Newcomb, and Betty Bush Winger. There is a file of Gordon's folk-song columns from Adventure magazine, and his (and others') Harvard class notes.
NOTE: The collection contains NO audio materials; these are housed in the Library of Congress.
Ax 39

Green, Theresa, Mrs.
Letters, 1862-1864.
1 folder.
Consists of 16 letters from 8 soldiers of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry, addressed to Mrs. Theresa Green Of Prairie Home, Iowa. The letters were written between 1862 and 1864 from Benton Barracks and New Madrid, Missouri.; and Memphis, LaGrange, and Ft. Pillow, Tennessee. With the letters is Vol. 1, no. 1 of The Independent (Mar. 4, 1862), "published by the Typos of Co. 1, 2nd Iowa Cavalry" at Charleston, Missouri, a 3-column broadsheet.
In the Orrin Elmore Stanley papers, Ax 409

Howard, Nathaniel Clinton, d. 1864.
Letters, 1864.
1 folder.
Howard was a private in Company D, 135th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers. He died at Schofield Barracks, St. Louis, on Sept. 1, 1864. Most of the letters are to his wife and children in Pilot, Illinois.
A 55

Hutchison, David Watt, d. 1864.Finding aid to Sheldon-Fife Family Papers
Letters, 1863-1864.
1 folder.
Hutchinson served in Company H, 122nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteers. He was killed during the Battle of Cold Harbor in June 1864. Includes a typed transcript of the letters and the letter of notification of his death. The letters are to his sister, Elizabeth Hutchison Theaker.
In the Sheldon-Fife Family papers, Ax 79

Johnson, John W.
Letters, 1861, 1862.
3 letters.
Johnson served in the 89th Ohio Volunteers. The letters are addressed to George Porter.
In the Isabella Porter Spencer papers, A 115

Kerr, James B.
Letters, 1863-1864, 1889-1892.
2 folders.
Brother of Alexander Kerr. He served as a Lt. Col. in the 74th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. One series of letters, 1863-1864, was written by James Kerr to Alexander Kerr from various points in Tennessee and Georgia. A later series of letters, Aug. 1889-July 1892, was written to Mabel Bushnell while James Kerr was an attorney in Wisconsin and traveling in Europe.
In the Alexander Kerr papers, Ax 361

McCamant, Thomas. Finding aid to Wallace McCamant Papers
Diaries, 1862-1863, and memoir, 1903.
2 folders.
Thomas McCamant served in Company G, 125th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. The memoir is titled Personal Recollections of the Maryland Campaign of 1892 (1903).
In the Wallace McCamant papers, Ax 155

McMinnville Ladies Sanitary Aid Society, Oregon.
Records, 1864-1865.
1 folder
The society was formed May 25, 1864 to be of "assistance to the U.S. Sanitary Commission or to the U.S. Christian Commission." Having done its work, it disbanded Aug. 2, 1865. Officers of the society were Mesdames G.C. Chandler, G.W. Burnett, D.J. Yeargain, and H.V.V. Johnson.
The records include a secretary's book and a treasurer's book. The secretary's book contains the constitution, bylaws and minutes of the meetings. At the end of the volume is a list of members of the "Juvenile Sanitary Society" with notations of individual contributions. The treasurer's book includes receipts and expenditures, an annual narrative report, and a final report dated Aug. 2, 1865. Loose papers consist of three letters, one from Mrs. Addison C. Gibbs, one from E.D. Shattuck, secretary of the Oregon Board of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and one from George Chandler. There are also receipts and "orders" of the treasurer authorizing transfer of funds. With the records is a feature story based on them, written by Victoria Case and published in the Portland Oregonian, Feb. 19, 1961, p. 7.
B 152

Rawalt, John, Jr.
Letters, 1862-1864.
1 folder.
Served in Company I, 51st Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, 1862-1864.
In the Walter Rawalt Baker papers, Ax 7

Schnee, George W.
Letter, Mar. 9, 1864.
1 letter (1 p.)
Soldier in the Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry stationed at Ft. Brown, Brownsville, Texas. Letter from Schnee to his cousin, Alonzo F. Foster in Wisconsin, describing the organization of an Army church and other general news.
SFM 98

[Seide?], Chas. B.
Letter, Aug. 3, [1862?].
1 letter (1 p.)
Letter written from Camp Halsted, Virginia, to a Miss Ritie in Fulton, Oswego Co., New York, describing war conditions.
SFM 9

Stevens, Hazard, 1842-1918. Finding aid
Papers, 1687-1918 [bulk 1853-1913].
8 boxes, 11 map folders, 6 vol., 9 scrapbooks; 21 lin. ft.
Stevens, the son of Isaac Ingalls Stevens, first governor of Washington Territory, was an Army officer and attorney. He enlisted in the 79th Highlanders, New York Volunteers, and served in several regiments and campaigns through the Civil War. He was admitted to the bar in 1870.
The papers include correspondence, materials on the Internal Revenue and railroads, family papers, and publications. The correspondence contains letters (1861-1865) written by Hazard Stevens to various family members during the Civil War, and letters written to Stevens after the war which mention Civil War history and events.
Ax 42

U.S. Pension Bureau.
Record of examinations by United States examining surgeons, 1905-1920.
1 vol.
As recorded by Dr. M.H. Ellis, Albany, Oregon, a form book of surgeon's certificates relative to pension claims by Civil War veterans.
B 141

Van Wagonen, Maria.
Letters of John R. Young and Charles Scriber to Maria Van Wagonen, Fulton, New York, 1861-1862.
1 folder.
Both men were in the 24th Regiment, New York Volunteers, and stationed in or near Arlington, Virginia. They were much bored with Army life.
A 125

Walker, George Washington.
Letters, 1847-1895.
2 folders.
Walker was from Waupun, Wisconsin. He was a soldier in Company A, 32nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, one of the regiments that participated in Sherman's march through Georgia and South Carolina. Most of the letters are to or from Walker and his wife, Mary Webster Walker, and describe Army experiences and life at home. Letters before and after the Civil War are minor family correspondence.
A 154

Weir, Andrew N.
Diary, Apr. 17 - Dec. 11, 1864.
1 vol.
Weir was a surgeon for the 6th Indiana Cavalry, 71st Regiment, Indiana Volunteers.
In the Edward Andrew Weir papers, Ax 687

Wellington, William Fursar, 1835-
Letters to Mrs. W.F. Wellington, 1864-1865.
1 folder.
Wellington was born in Batavia, New York, and moved to Wisconsin. At the time of these letters he was in Cairo, Illinois, as a private in Company K, 42nd Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. His letters refer to camp conditions, prisoners, copperheads, and guerrilla warfare on the Ohio River. A military photograph of Wellington and his discharge papers are with the letters.
A 196

Weston, George.
Letter, Apr. 28, 1865.
1 letter (3 p.)
Letter to Thomas Kern, Ft. Walla Walla, Washington Territory; written from Ft. Colville, Washington Territory. Comments on the troubles of soldiering at Colville, refers to the arrival of news about the capture of Lee, and the death of Lincoln.
CA 1865 Apr. 28

Williams, Edward B.
Letters, 1864-1865.
1 folder.
Williams served in Company C, 32nd Iowa Infantry. The letters are to Mrs. E.B. Williams. With the letters is a broadside, Sketch of Marches and Campaigns Made by Company C, Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, under Maj. Gen. A.J. Smith . . . from the Time They Left Union City, Tenn., about January 1st, 1864, to Montgomery, Ala., April, 1865.
. . . (Dillon, Iowa, n.d.)
A 176

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Preferred Citation Format for SCUA Materials

[Identification of item], Date (if known), Collection Title, Collection Number, Box and Folder number [or photo ID number], Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Mission | Special Collections & University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives is the primary repository for the University of Oregon’s archives, rare books, historic photographs, and one of the largest historical manuscripts collections in the Pacific Northwest. Our mission is to acquire, preserve, and make available a clearly defined set of primary sources and rare books, reflecting the written, visual, and audio history and culture of Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and selected aspects of American and world history. Our diverse collections support all types of research, from K–12 education to international scholarship. We strive to play an active and creative role in the teaching, research, and service missions of the University.

Historical Collection Strengths

  • Oregon history, politics, culture
  • Authors and illustrators of children’s books
  • The conservative and libertarian movement in the last half of the twentieth century
  • Popular literature, with an emphasis on Western fiction
  • Missionaries to foreign countries, especially in the Far East
  • Labor History
  • Journalism and Communications
  • Photographs of the Northwest, including the Major Lee Moorhouse and Angelus Studio collections
  • Environmental history
  • Northwest literature, including fiction by Ken Kesey, Damon Knight, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula K. Le Guin, Molly Gloss, and William Stafford
  • Doris Ulmann photograph archives of Appalachia
  • Utopian and intentional communities
  • Northwest architecture
  • Northwest economic history
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