Sereno Bridge of Elgin, Ill., served in Co. G, 15th Ill. Vol. Cav. as a private; he mustered in on Oct. 25, 1861 and mustered out Oct. 31, 1864. The Company was attached to the 52nd Ill. Vol. Inf. during the time of these letters.
The three letters were written to his wife, Allisanny Stanley Winchester Bridge. The first letter, from Benton Barracks, Mo., on Dec. 18, 1861, comments on the immoral, unhealthy, and dangerous conditions of camp life, with Union men being killed each night by unknown enemies. The latter two letters were from Jackson, Tenn., when the Company formed part of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Tennessee.
On Sept. 4, 1862, Bridge notes the dangers of scout duty, the uncanny war whoop of the 'secesh' soldiers when attacking, and the confusion of the battle in some detail. On Oct. 25, 1862, he describes taking prisoners from amongst the town's professional class -- he debated slavery with the minister -- and the women's reactions.
Denise L. Stevenson of Goldfield, Iowa, donated the transcripts to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1988 and retained the originals.