Manuscript Resources on The Civil War

This guide describes collections documenting the Civil War in the Lower Mississippi Valley, including the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU. The guide includes not only materials from the war years (1861-1865) themselves, but also materials from later periods containing manuscript sources for Civil War history. Thus such sources as post-war reminiscences and records of veterans' groups--materials dealing with the war as memory and experience--will be found alongside soldiers' and civilians' letters, diaries, and daybooks from the war itself. In addition, the guide includes collections of papers of Louisiana and other area soldiers who fought outside of the Lower Mississippi Valley.

LSU's holdings of Civil War manuscripts make LLMVC a rich treasure-trove for researchers. Many researchers are studying these documents from new perspectives, to see what they have to tell us about women's experiences on the home front and about Louisiana's African Americans, a significant number of whom fought for the Union. Louisiana played a central role in the war, with the fall of Port Hudson in July 1863 a critical event. Much of the state was long occupied by Union forces, and LLMVC contains the papers of numerous Union as well as Confederate soldiers. Other areas of strength include materials documenting the siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Shiloh, and the Red River campaign.

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Bennett, Ezra. Family Papers, 1818-1881. 217 items [on microfilm]. Location: Mss.Mf:B. Planter and storekeeper of Cheneyville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Papers include letters written from Port Hudson and Camp Pratt, Louisiana, during the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2896.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Business

Benson family. Papers, 1775-1969, undated. 2,790 items, 27 volumes (on 11 microfilm reels). Location: E:105, MSS.MF:B. Cotton planters of DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. Letters, documents, and plantation diaries reflect plantation economy, the administration of secondary schools, the history and administration of the Baptist Church, and civilian and military participation in the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2424, 2440.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Plantations, Civil War, Education, Business

Betts, Ephraim. Diaries, 1862 Sept. 2-1864 Feb. 19. 4 items (2 ms. Vols.). Location: J:13, Mss. Mf.:B. Sergeant in the 114th New York Volunteers during the Civil War. Diaries describe Betts' journey from New York to New Orleans, camp life, the assault on Port Hudson. The Confederate surrender, the Sabine Pass Expedition, and events on the boat back to New York. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3433.

Billiu, John S. Civil War letters, 1861-1862. 12 items. Location: 107:18. Civil War letters written by John S. Billiu of the 4th Regiment, Louisiana Infantry from May 1861 to March 1962. They comprise a first person account of a Confederate soldier's life at Louisiana and Mississippi camps early in the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4941.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War

Bills, John H. and family. Papers, 1825-1880 (bulk 1855-1861). 103 items. Location: A:17. Postmaster, merchant, and major of Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee, who also owned a plantation on Bayou Bartholomew, Louisiana. Bills was the father-in-law of Tennessee and Louisiana legislator Horace M. Polk. Personal and business letters discuss lands in Arkansas, dealings with factors, cotton trade, national and Louisiana state politics, the Democratic Party, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh, and slave customs and behavior. Correspondents include Daniel Graham, James Walker, and Horace M. Polk. Additional items consist of statements of accounts, receipts, and bills of lading. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2075.

Binning, Wayne. Collection, 1830-1896. 106 items. Location: U:114. Professor of history at University of Mississippi. Constable's bills of costs (1830, 1832) St. Augustine, Territory of Florida; and other items (1850, 1877-1896) pertaining to the treatment and railroad transportation of prisoners and the insane in the state of Florida. Photographs of American and European historical figures, largely nineteenth century, include Civil War military and political figures. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2043.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Transportation, Civil War, Education

Birge, N. A. Papers, 1861-1865 (bulk 1862-1864). 88 items. Location: OS:B, U:15. Confederate assistant quartermaster at Monroe Army Post and Shreveport, Louisiana, and agent of the Trans-Mississippi Department at Jefferson, Texas. Papers include requisitions, vouchers, and receipts for clothing, camp equipment, transportation, and medical supplies. Included are copies of official forms, routine correspondence from army personnel, and a few letters from soldiers. The impressment of cotton in Texas is discussed in two letters from Lieutenant Colonel W. A. Broadwell, Office of the Cotton Bureau, Headquarters, Trans-Mississippi Department. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reels 2-3. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 918, 1036.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, African Americans, Medicine

Birge, N. A. Transportation record book, 1862-1863. 1 volume. Location: F:12. N. A. Birge was captain and quartermaster in the Confederate army. Franklin Garrett was transportation agent in the Confederate army. Ledger contains records of transportation tickets issued by N. A. Birge, indicating the movement of Confederate army men and supplies on various railroad, steamboat, and stage lines. Also recorded is the movement of soldiers on sick leave to and from hospitals at Delhi and Monroe, Louisiana, as well as those soldiers who were on detail to Texas or discharged. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1050.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Civil War, Medicine

Bishop Polk Benevolent Society. Record book, 1862, 1865-1868. 3 items, 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:B., M:20. Treasurer's book for benevolent societies at Trinity Church, New Orleans. Entries record the receipts and expenditures of the Benevolent Society. Entries for 1862 give the officers of the 'Ladies Society for the Promotion of Christian Objects.' For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 772.

Black, Norman P. Document, 1861. 1 item [copy]. Location: Misc.:B. Contract containing the terms of sale by William London to Norman P. Black of an African American slave. Notarized by Tom. John McHugh, of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, African Americans