Image: Guide to the John D. Beach collection
Guide to the John D. Beach collection
The John D. Beach collection
Beach Letters

Guide to the John D. Beach collection


Guide to the John D. Beach collection


Collection of letters written by Union soldier, John D. Beach, to his mother during his time in service with the Illinois 55th Regiment, Company G, covering the years 1861 through 1865.

Source Format


Collection Guide




Willamette University University Archives and Special Collection

Repository Address

900 State Street; Salem, Oregon; 97301 USA; Phone: 503/370/6764; Fax: 503/370/6141; Email:; URL:

Location of Collection

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Collection Number



Materials are in English.


Materials are organized in chronological order.

Biographical/Historical Note

Historical Note

Letters written by Union soldier John D. Beach during his time serving with the Illinois 55th, G Company.

Geographic Place Names

Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.)

Camp Douglas (Ill.)

Camp Sherman (Miss.)


.5 linear foot

Content Description

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. In his letters to his mother, Mrs. Williams, he describes 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.


Bragg, Braxton (1817-1876)

Rosecrans, William S. (William Starke), (1819-1898)

Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), (1820-1891)


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

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


Special Collections

Restrictions on Access

The collection is open to researchers.

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.


Finding Aids


The John D. Beach collection