The Peterson papers consist of 14 letters addressed to Simon Peterson of Oakfield, Mich., written by acquaintances in Civil War service, including soldiers in Co. C, 13th Michigan Infantry (William N. Barnard, Bradley McArthur, Isaac Lewis Tower, and R.L. Wells) and Co. L, 1st Michigan Cavalry (H.A. Rowley). One letter was written by Peterson's cousins, Nellie and E. C. Schumeshorn, of Clifton Park, N.Y. Most of these letters are brief and relatively breezy, and their most notable feature may be the wide assortment of stationery and envelopes emblazoned with patriotic scenes, figures, and mottoes.
Although war-related content is comparatively sparse, there are reports of the battle of Shiloh and the advance on Corinth, references to daily routine, marches, the pros and cons (mainly cons) of post-war service, and slaves in Alabama. H.A. Rowley's letters are particularly interesting in that he actively discouraged thought of Peterson's (or anyone else's) enlistment. After the war, one of Peterson's friends, R.L. Wells, became a successful photographer in Cleveland, and one of his letters encloses some excellent, unmounted samples of his work.