Collections in the Phelps Category

Charles P. Hutchinson Papers

A native of New York, Charles P. Hutchinson moved to Wenona, Illinois, before the war. A farmer, he enlisted as a musician in the 44th Illinois Infantry on July 1, 1861. He wrote to his brother from Rolla, Missouri on May 28, 1862 describing conditions in the hospitals and recent guerrilla activity. Hutchinson was killed in action at Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863. He left behind his widowed mother Lydia. Hutchinson had financially supported her both before and after his enlistment. She received a pension of $8.00 per month for her son’s service.

Coleman Bruce Papers

Coleman Bruce wrote to his children William and Martha Jane Jackson regarding the political tension within Missouri and the United States. While Bruce’s children supported the Union, he cited in his letter several injustices committed by Northern men. Bruce’s use of derogatory terminology conveyed his feelings about the Union troops. He also, commented on poor market values for crops and recent news from the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Bruce even stated that Sample Orr, an 1860 Missouri gubernatorial candidate, robbed a Springfield bank of $24,000. Allegedly, the money was taken to Rolla to remain in Union hands. Little documentation on this event exists. Bruce encouraged his children to share this letter with their friends and family, perhaps in an attempt to persuade others to support the Confederacy. The letter draw attentions to the impact the War had on family dynamics as well as the crumbling economic condition in the country.

Douglas Bushnell Collection

Douglas R. Bushnell was born 17 June 1824 at Norwich, Connecticut. He was educated as a civil engineer, and moved to New Hampshire as a young man to begin a career in railroad engineering in that state and in Vermont. Bushnell moved to Illinois in 1855 with his wife and family. In May 1861, Bushnell enlisted in Company B of the 13th Illinois Infantry. Bushnell participated in campaigns in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee.

The Enrolled Missouri Militia, 4th Military District, Order Book

On August 17, 1861 Missouri Governor Hamilton R. Gamble ordered a proclamation establishing the Missouri State Militia for defense of the State against guerrilla activity. Gamble soon realized the need for additional troops, and on July 22, 1862 he issued General Order Number 29 organizing the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM). General Colley B. Holland assumed command of the 4th Military district, consisting of the counties in southwest Missouri, on October 30, 1862. Based in Springfield, Missouri, roughly 2,500 men reported for duty, operating under the jurisdiction of the State of Missouri. Holland’s documented all activities related to his command in the enrolled Missouri Militia order book for the 4th Military District in Southwest Missouri, from November 1862 through May 1863. His reports cover the Battles of Springfield and Hartville and also include details about depredation in Southwest Missouri and the extensive guerrilla activity that took place in the region.

Franklin S. Denny Diary

Franklin S. Denny was born 7 October 1825 in Bond County, Illinois. Before the Civil War, he was a blacksmith in Platteville, Wisconsin, and married Mary Ann Pennington, who died in 1859. Denny enlisted in Company C, 1st Missouri Cavalry on August 1, 1861. He was elected third sergeant, and in February 1862 he was promoted to first sergeant. In his diary, Denny recorded the actions of the 1st Missouri Cavalry as they travelled across Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas from 1862 through 1864. He noted engagements with bushwhackers and rebel soldiers, personal thoughts on Kansas Jayhawkers, the impact of the War on civilians, and the routine of military life. Denny was discharged from the service on September 17, 1864. In 1868, Denny mar¬ried Susan Dule¬bon at Freeport, Illinois. By 1874, Franklin and Susan Denny lived in Springfield, Missouri, where Franklin operated a carriage shop. They died in 1902 and 1917, re-spectively.

Isely Family Papers

The Isely Family Papers contain correspondence and other documents dating from the late 1850s through the 1930s. A significant portion of the collection consists of letters written during the Civil War between Christian H. Isely and his wife, Marie Elizabeth “Eliza” Dubach. Christian served in the 2nd Kansas Cavalry and they traveled throughout Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma; which was then Indian Territory. During the war, Eliza went to live with Christian’s parents in Ohio, rather than stay with her father in Willow Dale, Kansas, due to the unstable conditions in the Kansas-Missouri border region. The Isely’s were a profoundly religious family and their correspondences depict the deeply rooted connection between religion and political convictions and how their beliefs often divided their family.

The John A. Mack Collection

The Mack Collection offers valuable insight into the lives of Union sympathizers in the Ozarks. In many ways, their experiences are typical of Southern Unionists, though their home in Missouri placed them squarely in a border region. The war was bitter and personal for the Mack family. Their experiences as refugees and those who fighting guerrillas in the 1st Arkansas Cavalry (U.S.) hardened their feelings towards Confederate sympathizers. As Radical Republicans, the Macks entered the political arena only to find themselves at odds with fellow Unionists.

Regrettably, the Mack collection contains only half of the correspondence between the family members. The surviving letters were written to those serving in the army. While the soldier’s responses are missing, the existing letters provide researchers with a unique perspective on the civilian experience in southwest Missouri.

The Lizzie Gilmore Collection

The Lizzie Gilmore collection is a series of letters written by Elizabeth C. Gilmore, primarily to her cousins in Crittenden County, Kentucky. Through her letters, “Lizzie” notes political differences among her family, guerrilla warfare in Missouri and Kentucky, and the hardships she faced in Laclede County. She commented on the fears of living among the war split community of Lebanon and the nature of co-existence. Lizzie declared her loyalty to the Union, but she specifically states, “but that is as far as I go.” It is unknown if she was opposed northern aggression, advocated for states rights, or supported slavery. This collection provides a glimpse of life for a Laclede County citizen facing the struggles of war and reconstruction in the Ozarks.

The Lyman Gibson Bennett Collection

Lyman Gibson Bennett enlisted in the 36th Illinois Infantry in 1861. Prior to the War he trained as a surveyor and civil engineer, working for the railroad. The military utilized Bennett’s skills as a cartographer, and assigned him to survey battlefields, road systems, and fortifications. Bennett’s diaries document his daily duties as both a soldier and an engineer for the military. His regiment participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge, which he describes in vivid detail. Bennett was discharged from the military in August 1864.

In 1865, Bennett joined the engineering department of General Samuel R. Curtis as a civilian. He mapped the 1864 battlefields of Sterling Price’s Missouri Expedition. Bennett was then assigned to survey fortifications in Nebraska and Colorado, and eventually served as an engineering officer on the Powder River Expedition of 1865. Bennett’s diaries provide colorful insight to his perception of the Ozarks and its inhabitants.

The Moses J. Bradford Collection

The Moses J. Bradford collection consists of forty letters written to his wife, Malissa Jane, and family. Bradford joined the Missouri State Guard under General James H. McBride, and later served in the 10th Missouri Infantry (CSA). In July of 1863, Bradford was captured in Helen, Arkansas. Bradford was incarcerated with other Confederate officers at five different Union prisons: Johnson’s Island in Ohio, Camp Hammond in Maryland, Fort Delaware in Delaware, Morris Island in South Carolina, and Fort Pulaski in Georgia. Bradford wrote ten letters while in the Missouri State Guard and 10th Missouri Infantry. The remainder of the collection was written from the prison. These letters tell of the worsening conditions Bradford faced as a prisoner of war, and the resolve of his dedication to the Confederate States of America.

Remley Family Papers

George and Lycurgus Remley were brothers from Oxford, in Johnson County, Iowa who joined Company F of the 22nd Regiment of the Iowa Infantry. The brothers spent most of their time in service at Rolla, Missouri, but travelled further south and participated in the Battle of Port Gibson, in Georgia and the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi. George and Lycurgus frequently corresponded with their parents, the Reverend James Remley and their mother Jane back in Iowa, telling them of the conditions of military life and their movements across the country. They also sent letters back and forth to their Uncle William Zoll who lived in Warrensburg, MO. Unfortunately, both brothers did not survive through the war. Lycurgus died in camp near Vicksburg from illness in June 1863. George died at the Battle of Opequan in Winchester, Virginia in September 1864.

The Robert Carnahan Letters

The Robert Carnahan Letters consists of two correspondences written by Carnahan to his wife in November of 1861. Carnahan enlisted as an officer in the 3rd Illinois Cavalry at Camp Butler, Illinois in August of 1861. The 3rd Illinois Cavalry first served as part of John C. Fremont’s campaign to capture Springfield, Missouri. The first letters is written from Springfield, and the second is from Lebanon as the 3rd Illinois Cavalry marched to Rolla.

Sarah Jane Smith Collection

The Sarah Jane Smith collection consists of documents related to her imprisonment for guerrilla activity in Southwest Missouri. Sarah destroyed the telegraph line between Rolla and Springfield twice in 1864. Sarah and her noted guerrilla cousins destroyed three to four miles of telegraph wire and cut down several telegraph poles outside of Springfield in May 1864. In August 1864, she was paroled in Rolla. She destroyed another section of telegraph wire outside of Rolla in September of 1864. After the second incident, Sarah was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the War, and sent to Alton Military Prison in Illinois.

Thomas Murray Collection

The Murray Collection contains 16 letters detailing the activities of the 20th Iowa Infantry as they marched through the Ozarks. The letters are addressed to Thomas Murray from his brother William Murray and his cousin, Thomas Murray, serving in the 20th Iowa. William wrote the bulk of the wartime letters, offering his perspective of the Ozarks and the events that unfolded in the region. The 20th Iowa marched through St. Louis, Rolla, and Springfield. They camped at Newtonia in early October 1862. William reported to his brother about the 1862 Battle of Newtonia that took place there only a few days before his arrival. In December of 1862, the 20th Iowa then participated in the Battle of Prairie Grove in Arkansas. William was severely wounded in the Battle, and died shortly after. The collection contains three post-war letters, in which Thomas inquires about his brother’s grave in Arkansas. Thomas Murray continued to write his cousin, as the 20th Iowa traveled to Mississippi and participated in the Siege of the Vicksburg.