Rufus Atherton served in Co. I, 77th Ill. Vol. Inf. during the Civil War. A resident of Elmwood, Ill., Atherton enlisted on Aug. 14, 1862, and served until June 17, 1865.
The collection contains six letters written by Atherton to family members between Dec. 12, 1862, and Feb. 10, 1865. The letters mainly concern his family, although he also discusses many different aspects of army life. He refers to the capture of Arkansas Post (Fort Hindman) and the Fall of Vicksburg as well as to his life as a soldier, including picket duty in a wet uniform, bad food, measles, and time in a prisoner of war camp in Texas.
The Survey purchased this collection in 2003.