The Tillotson papers appear to be only a portion of his war-time correspondence, with only one letter present prior to 1863. Among the 80 letters, 29 were written by Lt. Tillotson to his daughter, Mary, and one each to his wife and son. The collection includes three letters from Benjamin St. James Fry and two from Lt. Van Meter concerning Tillotson's death and the dispute between Angeline and Mary over his estate. Finally, there are a series of documents collected by Tillotson during his service, including ordnance stores reports and seven surgeons' evaluations of Tillotson as unfit for duty.
As might be expected from a man so often removed from action, the collection is slight on military news. The diary, which covers only a one month period during the summer of 1863, includes a good description of the engagement at Hoover's Gap, Tenn., in June, 1863. Two letters mention the fortifications at Chattanooga, and one interesting letter discusses three soldiers in the 111th Pennsylvania Regiment and two servants, who froze to death while being transported by rail to Bridgeport, Ala. The best letter by far, however, is a grisly description of the supposed fate of Union dead at Chickamauga. Tillotson charges that Braxton Bragg refused to allow the Union to reclaim their bodies, and that the Confederate Army dismembered bodies, exposed them for hogs to devour, placed skulls on stumps, and took bones to carve into rings and other souvenirs for Southern ladies. An unusual printed poem "On Picket Guard at Stones River" is also noteworthy. On the home front, one letter mentions a gang of escaped prisoners from Johnson's Island who were terrorizing the neighborhood of Cedar Point.
The Tillotson papers will most likely be of interest as an unusual record of a soldier who spends much of his service sitting at home convalescing. Tillotson's mood swings and occasional dark thoughts during his long battle with "neuralgia" and other complaints, and his equally obvious inability either to serve or to secure a discharge are very interesting. The strained relations in his family are also of considerable interest, particularly after they develop into open hostility between mother and daughter over Tillotson's estate.