Pepper, William A. (b. 1831). Diary, Letters, 1862-1865 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection contains transcripts of family correspondence and excerpts of a diary from William A. Pepper, who served in the Illinois Infantry during the Civil War.
William Allen Pepper was born in 1831 in Bracken County, Kentucky. In 1838, he moved from Kentucky to Coles County, Illinois. He enlisted in Co. A., 123rd Ill. Vol. Inf. on Aug. 1, 1862, and mustered out on July 9, 1865, after fighting in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
The transcripts included in the collection were created by A. Kent Kilen, Pepper's great-grandson. The first several pages consist of introductory material and maps. Pages 3-14 consist of transcripts of letters Pepper wrote to his mother and sister in 1862 and 1863. In the letters included in this collection, Pepper describes preparing for a Kentucky battle with Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army, a march south from Louisville, and the aftermath of a battle, with specific details on the wounded and dying. Pages 15-46 consist of transcripts of a portion of Pepper's 1864 diary, with entries dating from July 18 to October 25. A note about this diary follows on page 47. Pages 48-74 contain transcripts of Pepper's 1865 diary, with entries dating from January 1 to August 9. A note about this diary follows on page 74. In his diary entries, Pepper describes the weather, travel conditions, rations, camp life, and his post-war travels in Minnesota, where he made a homestead claim in Faribault County.
A. [Arnold] Kent Kilen, Pepper's great-grandson, included the transcripts in his paper, "Civil War Writings of William Allen Pepper" (Mankato State College, 1961), which he loaned to the Illinois Historical Survey, the predecessor of the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit, for copying in 1967.