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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Behrnes, J. P. (J. Polite), b. 1829. Journal, 1853-1893 (bulk 1853-1880). 1 v. Location: Misc. This journal of J.P. Behrnes of Irene Plantation in East Baton Rouge Parish, La., records rains; temperatures; and the planting, cultivation, harvesting, and yields of cotton and other crops. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4335.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War

Belcher, F. A. Letter, 1863 April 18. 1 item (10 pages). Location: Misc:B. Union soldier. Letter to Belcher's mother and brother written from Brashear City (now Morgan City), St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. It remarks on fighting in the area, the death of 'Matthew,' and General N. P. Bank's practice of remaining with his troops during battle. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3196.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War

Belcher, Francis A. Letters,[1863 Apr. 1]. 2 items. Location: MISC:B. Soldier in the 4th Massachusetts Infantry, Company D. Letters to his family describe marching and camp life and mentions Port Hudson and the explosion of the "Mississippi." For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3966.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War

Bell, Helena Jones, Letter, 1938 Jan. 28. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Southern civilian during the Civil War. Letter describes Union occupation, the loyalty of a former slave, Union soldiers killing a child, and harsh living conditions during and after the war. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4545.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, African Americans

Bell, James T. Letter: Johnson Island Prison, Ohio, to Mary Whitaker, Alabama, 1864 February 28. 1 item (2 leaves). Location: Misc:B. Confederate officer in the Civil War. Bell assumed charge of the 21st Alabama Infantry after Captain John B. (Boyington) Hazard died at Johnson Island Prison, February 1864. Letter written to Hazard's sister, Mrs. Mary Whitaker and her husband, Benjamin Andrews Whitaker, describing Hazard's illness, last wishes, death, those present at his death, and general conditions of the medical facilities and the prison itself. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 2. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3453.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Medicine

Bell, John W., Captain. Papers, 1862-1864. 3 items. 1 vol. Location: Misc:B. Captain in the 32nd Alabama Infantry who served in Alabama and Tennessee during the Civil War. He was married to Nancy Bell of Coffeeville, Clarke County, Alabama. Letters to Nancy written from Camp Forney, Alabama, and Lavergne, Tennessee, discuss monetary concerns of the soldiers. Also described are local economic conditions, women searching for food for their children, and women who worked as laundresses. Included is a notebook listing personal items and expenses of John W. Bell. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 2. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 771.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War

Bell, William R., ca. 1814-1874. Papers, 1842-1941 (bulk 1842-1874). 78 items, 2 vols. Location: C:6. Native of Scotland, mortician, and owner of Union Stables in New Orleans. Business papers document Bell's stable and mortuary and include transactions with Union soldiers occupying New Orleans. Correspondence with his family discusses economic conditions and the Civil War. Collection includes a photograph of Bell. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2117, 2118.

Belmont, August, 1816-1890. Letter, 1863 September 10.1 item (2 leaves). Location: Misc:B. German immigrant, financier, and diplomat of New York City, who was married to Caroline Slidell Perry in 1849. Letter written to Rhode Island governor William Sprague recommending the promotion of Captain William J. Slidell, giving an account of his war record, and commending him for resisting inducements to join the Confederacy under the patronage of his uncle. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1557.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War

Benedict, Edwin Letters, 1862 Dec. 12-1863 Mar. 20. 13 items.Location: Misc:B. Corporal with Company G of the 23rd Connecticut Infantry. Mentions the building of Fort Massachusetts and the presence of female Confederate prisoners at Ship Island, and describes food, camp conditionsand illness, as well as duty guarding Louisa Plantation, his interaction with slaves, and belief war is divine lesson for slaveholders. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4318.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, African Americans

Bennett family. Papers, 1862-1910. 220 items, 1 volume. Location: W:25, OS:B. Residents of Trenton, Monroe, and Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Confederate soldier's letters, from John Bennett, describe Civil War camp life, the Battle of Corinth, and aspects of the Vicksburg campaign. Family letters pertain mainly to children's welfare and education, household management, and social life. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2976.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War

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