This collection contains correspondence and records from the Sylvester family of Homer, Ill., and Attica, Ind. A large portion of the collection contains letters written by George W. Sylvester, Co. I (later Co. B), 51st Ill. Vol. Inf., to his wife, Amanda, and children, Alice and William H., between Sept. 1862 and Nov. 1864. George was killed at the Battle of Franklin, Nov. 1864, and after Amanda died in Nov. 1865, their children were raised by William B. Sylvester, George's father.
George Sylvester's Civil War correspondence describes his experiences from Camp Yates, Springfield, Ill., up until two weeks before his death. Spending most of the war in Tennessee, he reports on the advance on Chattanooga, the capture of Atlanta, and several smaller skirmishes. In addition, he describes camp life, drill practice, food, geographical and social differences between the North and the South, and his opinions on various Union and Confederate generals.
The collection also contains Sylvester family correspondence both before and after the war, dealing mainly with family matters. Also included are financial records, printed songs, and photocopies of George W. Sylvester's army pension documents.
Troy Rodman of Wheaton, Ill., donated the collection to the Library in 2005. The collection also includes scans and typescripts of the documents prepared by Ray Cunningham and Molly Shoaf, historians of Homer, Ill.