William M. Parkinson letters, 1861-1863

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Parkinson, William M., d. 1863.
Title: William M. Parkinson letters, 1861-1863
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 93
Extent: .25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:Photocopies of the correspondence of Union soldier and miller William M. Parkinson of Centralia, Illinois during the Civil War.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Loaned for photocopying, 1972.


[after identification of item(s)], William M. Parkinson letters, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by RMB, 1972.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

William M. Parkinson, a resident of Centralia, Illinois, enlisted in July, 1861, in Company C, 11th Illinois Infantry Regiment. Soon after his enlistment he became a sergeant. After a few weeks of training and routine duty at Bird's Point, Missouri, he moved with his regiment to West Tennessee, where he participated in the Fort Donelson and Shiloh battles. The regiment spent the summer in North Mississippi and West Tennessee. In the autumn he and the regiment, as part of John A. McClernand's Division, served in Grant's campaign from Memphis to Grenada. Early in 1863 they moved to the Vicksburg area, where they engaged in digging canals. In April, 1863, after listening to speeches by Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas, General John M. Schofield and others, advocating recruitment of Negroes, Parkinson helped raise a company of African American troops and was commissioned captain, effective April 10, 1863. His Company B was part of the 8th Louisiana Regiment of African Descent. After several weeks of intensive drilling of his company, in the environs of Lake Providence, Louisiana and Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, he contracted a disease, probably typhoid fever; he died, apparently in July, 1863, at Milliken's Bend. A history of the regiments can be found in Frederick H. Dyer's A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, 1908. (E491D94), pp. 1048-1049; 1214.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of photocopies of letters of William M. Parkinson from August 27, 1861 to November 11, 1863. Most letters are written by Parkinson (39); three are by fellow officers regarding his death; three are by S. Wylie Cunningham, Parkinson's brother-in-law; and one letter is by Parkinson's wife, Susan, regarding his death. Parkinson's letters discuss camp life, troop movements, drills and skirmishes, recruitment and training of an African American regiment, and his impression of the South.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in chronological order.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 - Letters, 1861-1863