John J. Russell Letters
Scope and Content of the Collection
Twelve letters, 1861-1864, of John J. Russell of Sterling, Illinois, documenting his service as a sergeant and 2nd lieutenant in Company B of the 13 Illinois Infantry in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Russell writes to his brother, Charles, and sister, Julia, from Rolla, Franklin, and Keytesville, Mo., Vicksburg, Miss., Cairo, Ill., and Bridgeport and Madison Station, Ala. In letters revealing of the morale and living conditions of the regiment, Russell captures the anxiety of the troops as they prepare to march to undisclosed sites; describes problems concerning government distribution and reimbursement of military uniforms; itemizes the absences of certain required foods that may have contributed to poor health; and explains how badly the men of the 13th feel at having been stuck on guard duty in Missouri while other newer regiments pass through. There are also letters describing his company's part in the siege of Vicksburg and a skirmish at Madison Station, Ala. Russell also comments on war issues beyond his immediate experience, including McClellan's inaction and the impact of an Army of the Potomac victory. One letter (Dec. 6, 1861) is written on stationery containing a printed vignette portrait of McClellan and another letter (Jan. 5, 1862) contains a transcribed copy of Gen. Samuel Curtis' Special Order No. 15, issued from the headquarters of the Southwestern District of Missouri.
- Creation: 1861-1864
- Russell, John J., 1839-1901 (Person)
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The John J. Russell Letters are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The John J. Russell Letters are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Literary rights, including copyright, may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.
Biography of John J. Russell
Union soldier from Sterling, Illinois, who served in the 13th Illinois Infantry Regiment, 1861-1864.
John J. Russell enlisted as a sergeant in Company B of the 13th Illinois Infantry on May 24, 1861 and was promoted to 2nd lieutenant on March 24, 1863. After serving in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama, he was demobilized due to an injury and was mustered out of service with his regiment on June 18, 1864.
The 13th Illinois was organized in Dixon, Illinois, under the Illinois Ten Regiment Bill, and was mustered into U.S. service by Capt. John Pope. Company B was composed of recruits from Whiteside County. In total, 67 members of the regiment were killed or wounded, and another 125 were lost to disease.
0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)
Twelve letters of John J. Russell of Sterling, Illinois, documenting his service as a sergeant and 2nd lieutenant in Company B of the 13th Illinois Infantry in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama. Russell writes to his brother, Charles, and sister, Julia, from Rolla, Franklin, and Heetsville, Mo., Vicksburg, Miss., Cairo, Ill., and Bridgeport and Madison Station, Ala. One letter (Dec. 6, 1861) is written on stationery containing a printed vignette portrait of McClellan.
Letters are arranged chronologically.
Collection Stack Location
1 31 5
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives, 2002.
Karyn Goldstein, 2003.
- United States. Army. Illinois Infantry Regiment, 13th (1861-1864) (Organization)
- Russell, John J., 1839-1901 -- Correspondence (Person)
- United States. Army -- Officers -– Correspondence (Organization)
- McClellan, George B. (George Brinton), 1826-1885 -- Portraits (Person)
- Russell family (Family)
Genre / Form
- Correspondence -- Alabama -- 1851-1900
- Correspondence -- Illinois -- 1851-1900
- Correspondence -- Mississippi -- 1851-1900
- Correspondence -- Missouri -- 1851-1900
- Pictorial lettersheets -- 1861
- Alabama -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
- Madison (Ala.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
- Mississippi -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
- Missouri -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Military life
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
- Vicksburg (Miss.) -- History -- Siege, 1863 -- Personal narratives
- Whiteside County (Ill.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
- Soldiers -- Alabama -- Correspondence
- Soldiers -- Illinois -- Correspondence
- Soldiers -- Illinois -- Sterling -- Correspondence
- Soldiers -- Mississippi -- Correspondence
- Soldiers -- Missouri -- Correspondence
- Soldiers -- Southern States -- Correspondence
- Inventory of the John J. Russell Letters, 1861-1864
- Karyn Goldstein
- Language of description
- Script of description