Montraville Reeves, of Douglas County, Ill., enlisted as a private in Co. E, 79th Ill. Vol. Inf., and rose to the rank of 1st lieutenant in Co. G of that same regiment. In these letters of 1863 to his brother, Reeves describes army life, a skirmish near Murfreesboro, the condition of the Shiloh battlefield after the fighting, and the battle of Chickamauga. He also writes about Copperheads, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his opposition to black troops.
The collection also includes two letters from F. S. McCawley (Reeves's uncle) to Ransom R. Reeves (Reeves's brother), as well as a Reeves family genealogy.
Artie Lee Reeves, a descendant, donated the collection to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1963, with the assistance of Norman Graebner. Cora B. Reeves, of Tuscola, Ill., provided the genealogical information, also in 1963.