Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Adam Cosner Papers,1864-1865; 1880

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, January 1995

Summary Information
Title: Adam Cosner papers
Creator: Cosner, Ann
Inclusive dates: 1864-1865; 1880
Extent: 25 items
The Cosner papers document the experience of a middle-aged Union soldier serving with the 21st Ohio Infantry during the Civil War.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1976. M-1761.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Adam Cosner Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Cosner, Adam

Rank : Pvt.

Regiment : 21st Ohio Infantry Regiment. Co. F and I (1861-1865)

Service : 1864 January 25-1865 July 25

In January, 1864, Adam Cosner enlisted in the 21st Ohio Infantry at the relatively advanced age of 43, leaving behind his wife, Ann, and children (including Martha A., Jacob, Rose, Angeline, and Sumner) in Findlay. After only four months of duty in northern Georgia, marked most notably by his industrious efforts to make money by doing other soldiers' laundry, Cosner fell ill and was sent to hospital in Chattanooga where he remained until August. Early in September, he returned to his regiment, and served during the later stages of the Atlanta Campaign and on Sherman's March to the Sea.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Cosner's letters reflect his rather unusual position as a middle-aged soldier. Sixteen of the 18 letters in the collection were written to his wife, Ann B. Cosner, and the other two were addressed to his daughter, Martha, one in 1880. Cosner's handwriting suggests that he was not an experienced letter-writer, nor are his descriptive skills well developed, seldom advancing beyond straightforward comments and never at length. Cosner's letters, however, do reflect the attitudes of many pious, honest soldiers trying to live a Christian life in the middle of a seemingly godless war, and, unusually, display an open reticence about entering combat.

Subject Terms

    • Combat.
    • Laundry.
    • Sherman's March to the Sea.
    • United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 21st (1861-1865)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Veterans.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   2, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Adam Cosner papers,  1864 March 30-1865 January 6;  1880 October 13 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Canfield, S.S. History of the 21st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Toledo, 1893)

    Partial Subject Index
    • 1864 June 17
    • 1864 April 17
    • 1865 January 1
    Sherman's March to the Sea.
    • 1864 December 17
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    • 1864 May 5-August 7
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Veterans.
    • 1880 October 13