The Fairfield Goodwin papers (27 items) consist of poems, essays, and drawings created by a Union soldier from Michigan during the Civil War. While most of the items are undated, the identified items range from November 5, 1861, to September 20, 1862. Goodwin likely created many of these items while with the Chicago Battery and during his six-month convalescence, before he joined the 8th Michigan Cavalry in 1862.
The bulk of the items are sentimental or comical poems and essays with titles such as: Decay, Thoughts of Spring, Our March, Flowers, Friendship, My Mother's Voice, A Dream of Heaven, What is Pleasure?, The Lazy Club Song, and Minute Men. In these, Goodwin expressed feelings of longing and loneliness, as a soldier away from home. He also mentioned several notable military figures, including Jefferson Davis, General Beauregard, and Stephen Douglas.
Goodwin illustrated many of these poems and essays with pencil and color pencil drawings. He sketched pictures of birds, soldiers with beards, a horse, a cat, and a dog. Of particular interest is a full-page illustration of a union camp at Shiloh depicting men chopping wood, killing pigs and fowl, cooking, and reading, as well as cannon, felled trees, and tents. This drawing is colored with blue and orange details. Another recurring sketch is of the artist propped up in his sick bed. Some of the drawings are independent of essays, including pictures of a cannon, a man and woman under a flowering tree, Goodwin's home in Pontiac, Michigan, a "Missouri Rural Cotage," a picture of "Jeff Davis returning from war," portrayed with a large beard and lying on his back, and, finally, a picture of a man on a horse.