Washington Irving Snyder collection  1862-1898
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Washington Irving Snyder papers, 1862-1898, contain 25 items: 2 letters, 2 diaries, 13 offprints from Photographic History of the Civil War, and 8 pieces of ephemera.

James Snyder wrote the first letter on January 23, 1863, to his brother (presumably Irving Snyder), describing the poor health of his regiment (25th Michigan Infantry), his impressions of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and some orders which he found peculiar. The second letter, written by W. Frankish to Snyder's parents, is a notice of Irving Snyder's death and the circumstances surrounding it (October 5, 1863).

Also included in the collection are eight ephemera items: an illustration of Major-General John Logan; a photograph of Borden M. Hicks of the 11th Michigan Infantry; an 1864 dance card for a "May Party" held in Elgin, Illinois; an undated postcard from Havana, Cuba; an order for the 33rd Michigan Infantry during the Spanish-American War, dated August 1, 1898; and a souvenir program for the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison. The last four items have no direct connection to the Snyder family.

The Diaries series contains two pocket diaries kept by Irving Snyder during his service in the 11th Michigan Infantry. The first contains 194 pages covering January 1-December 31, 1862. In it, Snyder described movements around Kentucky and Tennessee, duties, health, and interesting incidents in very brief, near-daily entries. He did not write between September 15 and November 8. In his March 12 entry, Snyder wrote about a visit to Sulphur Springs near Shepherdsville, Kentucky, where he was treated to good whiskey by a generous saloonkeeper. On April 11, he described his arrest of two soldiers for getting drunk and abusing superior officers while on duty. Throughout the year, he kept meticulous records of letters sent and received.

The 1863 diary contains 30 pages of very short entries, for January-March and September of 1863. In early January, Snyder wrote briefly about the Battle of Stones River (Second Battle of Murfreesboro), noting that he took part in driving the Confederates across the river (January 2, 1863). Entries become somewhat more detailed and frequent beginning September 1, including descriptions of time spent in the woods for several days, of wounds sustained during the Battle of Chickamauga (September 20, 1863), about his transfer to a hospital, and about updates on the wound that killed him on October 5, 1863, five days after his last entry.

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