Born in Brooklyn, N. Y., James G. Watson was farming near Middletown (now Mahomet), Champaign County, Ill., when the Civil War began. In Aug. 1861, Watson joined Co. I, 25th Ill. Vol. Inf., initially serving as the company's drum major. Watson accompanied his regiment into Missouri and Arkansas in pursuit of Confederate Gen. Sterling Price, and later fought at Pea Ridge, Perryville, Stone's River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and participated in Gen. William T. Sherman's march on Atlanta. On Sep. 5, 1864, the unit was mustered out and returned to Illinois.
This collection contains a forty-page transcript containing excerpts of Watson's letters to his father in New York. Watson describes battles, camp life, Confederate war-weariness, his opposition to the Emancipation Proclamation, his support for Abraham Lincoln, and his distaste for most officers, especially Don Carlos Buell.
Gerald J. Miller of Champaign, Ill., a descendent of Watson, compiled the transcript and donated it to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1987.