John D. Beach papers, 1861-1865

Overview of the Collection

Beach, John D. (soldier)
John D. Beach papers
1861-1865 (inclusive)
0.5 linear feet, (1 box)
Collection Number
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.
Willamette University Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem, OR
Telephone: 5033706866
Fax: 5033706141
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

John D. Beach was twenty-one years old when he enlisted in the Union Army, Illinois 55th, G Company in 1861. He was first stationed at Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois. During his time in the army, he was stationed in Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, and Arkansas. Beach served in the Army until at least July 1865. The final letter in the collection speaks of the possibility of reenlistment.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The John D. Beach papers contain letters written by Union soldier John D. Beach during his time serving with the Illinois 55th, G Company. These letters addressed to his mother, Mrs. Williams, describe life in camp, the daily diet of the soldiers, and other details of his life. In 1863 his regiment was hit with an epidemic which resulted in "five to ten soldiers buaried (sic) a day in hearing distance they die mostly of the Ague and Direah (sic) and Intermiting (sic) Fever." Beach speaks of fighting in various battles, although it is difficult to determine the location of those battles. His last letters speak of reenlistment and plans for his future.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John D. Beach collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Materials are organized in chronological order.

Location of Collection

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Letter written from Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois 1861 September 24
1 2 Letter written from Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois 1861 October 8
1 3 Letter written from Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois 1861 November 1
1 4 Letter written from Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri 1862 January 3
1 5 Letter written from Mississippi 1862 May 27
1 6 Letter written from Memphis, Tennessee 1862 August 22
1 7 Letter written from Camp Sherman, Jackson, Mississippi 1863 August 29
1 8 Letter written from Camp Sherman, Jackson, Mississippi 1863 September 2
1 9 Letter written from Iuka, Mississippi 1863 October 21
1 10 Letter written from Larkins Landing, Alabama 1864 February 17
1 11 Letter written from Chattanooga, Tennessee 1864 June 11
1 12 Letter written from Little Rock, Arkansas 1865 July 25
1 13 Various envelopes used by Beach undated
1 14 Information obtained from the National Archives about the service record of John D. Beach 1991 August 27

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • United States. Army. Infantry--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Personal Names

  • Bragg, Braxton, 1817-1876
  • Rosecrans, William S. (William Starke), 1819-1898
  • Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891

Corporate Names

  • United States. Army. Illinois Infantry Regiment, 55th (1861-1865)

Geographical Names

  • Camp Douglas (Ill.)
  • Camp Sherman (Miss.)
  • Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • correspondence