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McKinney, Erastus R. (fl. 1851-1904) [Collection of Erastus R. McKinney, I company, 11th regiment, Illinois, infantry] [decimalized]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02179.01 Author/Creator: McKinney, Erastus R. (fl. 1851-1904) Place Written: [various places] Type: Header Record Date: 1851-1904 Pagination: 47 items

Summary of Content: Collection of 47 items from the papers of Erastus Root McKinney, who served as a private in the 11th Illinois Volunteers. The collection consists of 43 documents, 4 photographs, and a diary, much of which documents McKinney's service in the Civil War. There are 13 wardate letters from McKinney, along with 6 wardate letters from other soldiers. McKinney, a resident of Lacon, Illinois, enlisted as a corporal in the Illinois 11th Infantry in August 1861. His letters are most often directed to his father and his wife, Cynthia McKinney, and predominantly discuss military life, including the destruction of a railroad bridge in Kentucky (#10), possible capture of Jeff Thompson (#11), the Trent Affair (#13), the Battle of Ft. Donelson (#15), caring for the sick and wounded (#16), and a wound he himself received (#20). The letters he receives from his family comment on the situation of those at home, offer occasional predictions for the end of the war, and respond to the news in McKinney's letters. Other correspondents include Jeremiah and William Cooper, both soldiers in the Illinois 11th Infantry; William Waste, a soldier in the Ohio 23rd Infantry; and Charles E. Austin, a soldier from an unidentified regiment. Jeremiah Cooper was killed on 15 February 1862 at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and McKinney's letter of 18 February 1862 delivers this news. Records indicate that McKinney was discharged in August 1862. In addition to the wartime materials in this collection, a small amount of pre- and post-war correspondence (1851-1856, and 1897-1904, n.d.) pertains largely to family affairs. The collection also contains four photographs, including one of an unidentified infant, one a McKinney in uniform after the war, and two additional post-war photographs of soldiers, possibly from a battle re-enactment. Arranged chronologically, with photographs at the end. Word processed inventory available.

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Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Military HistoryCivil WarUnion ForcesInfantrySoldier's LetterUnion Soldier's LetterPhotographyInfrastructureRailroadWartime Pillaging and DestructionPrisoner of WarConfederate General or LeaderConfederate States of AmericaBattleGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyNavyInjury or WoundHealth and MedicalDeathTrent Affair

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