This collection consists of a transcript of letters from James G. Watson, a soldier in the 25th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, to his father during the Civil War.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, James G. Watson was a farmer near Middletown (now Mahomet), Champaign County, Illinois. In August 1861 Watson joined Company I of the 25th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, initially serving as the company's drum major. Watson accompanied his regiment into Missouri and Arkansas in pursuit of Confederate General Sterling Price, and later fought at Pea Ridge, Perryville, Stone's River, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. He participated in General William T. Sherman's march on Atlanta. On September 5, 1864, his unit was mustered out and he returned to Illinois.
The collection contains a 40 page transcript of excerpts of Watson's letters to his father in New York during the Civil War. Watson described battles, camp life, weariness of Confederate soldiers, his opposition to the Emancipation Proclamation, his support of Abraham Lincoln, and his dislike of most officers, including Don Carlos Buell.
Gerald J. Miller of Champaign, Illinois, a descendent of Watson, compiled the transcript and donated it to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1987.