The John D. Beach papers consist of letters written by Beach, a Union soldier, to his mother during his time in service with the Illinois 55th Regiment, Company G, covering the years 1861 through 1865.
Letters written by John. G. Burggraf to his family from 1860 to 1865 comprise the bulk of this collection. The majority of the letters detail his experiences as a member of the 49th Illinois Infantry. Burggraf describes the aftermath of conflicts such as the battle of Shiloh, the capture of Fort Donleson, and the battle of Pleasant Hill. The letters provide details about daily camp life as well. The collection also contains Civil War memorabilia.