In 1861, George S. Durfee of Decatur, Ill., joined Co. A, 8th Ill. Vol. Inf. He served with that unit until 1866, rising to the rank of captain. The correspondence in this collection describes camp life, various political and military figures, and army policies. Durfee reports on several campaigns and battles, including Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and the occupation of Texas. The collection also contains papers regarding family matters, and Durfee's 1901 appointment by Gov. Richard Yates as a member of the commission to determine and mark the positions of Illinois troops in the siege of Vicksburg.
The Library acquired the collection in 1973.