Sidney Z. Robinson of Madison County, Ill., mustered into Co. D, 117th Ill. Vol. Inf., on Aug. 9, 1862, and mustered out on Aug. 5, 1865 as first sergeant (although he had been previously commissioned as second lieutenant). His regiment fought in the Meridian campaign, the Red River Expedition, and the Tupelo and Oxford campaigns, and was engaged altogether in six battles and many skirmishes.
The collection includes 117 letters from Robinson to his parents and brothers in which he describes conditions at the various forts and camps where he was stationed as well as marches and battles. He also discusses the relationship between blacks and whites, diseases among the troops, politics, Lincoln's assassination, the scarcity of supplies, and his plans to farm after the war.
Solon J. Buck acquired the correspondence from Robinson's daughters in 1912-13, and had them transcribed for the Illinois Historical Survey at the University of Illinois, which, at the time, was the editorial office of the Illinois State Historical Library. The Robinson collection in the Survey (now a unit of the U. of I. Library) contains a set of the typescripts, while the originals are on file at the Historical Library (now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library).