Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The Eugene Payne journal has been microfilmed
Eugene B. Payne Collection, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
A descendent of Thomas Paine, Eugene Beauharnois Payne was born to Thomas Hubbard Payne and Susannah Newcomb Payne (née Smith) in Seneca Falls, New York, on April 15, 1835. He briefly practiced law after graduating from Northwestern University in 1860 and helped organize the 37th Illinois Volunteer Regiment in September 1861. After serving in the Battle of Pea Ridge and the Siege of Vicksburg, he left the army on September 14, 1864. Payne returned to Illinois, where he served in the state legislature (1865 or 1866-1869) and had a legal practice. He later became a member of the review board for the Bureau of Pensions in Washington, D. C. On January 26, 1862, he married Adelia A. Wright ("Delia"). Eugene B. Payne died on April 6, 1910.
This collection contains correspondence, journals, military documents, and ephemera related to Eugene B. Payne's service in the 37th Illinois Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.
The Correspondence series (25 items) consists primarily of 16 letters that Payne wrote to his wife Delia during his military service. He provided news of the army's movements and recent engagements, such as the Siege of Vicksburg (June 14, 1863), and shared his opinions about the war. Payne also commented on Nathaniel P. Banks, African American army units, and abolitionists. On one occasion, he recorded scathing remarks about a fellow officer who had volunteered to lead an African American Regiment (September 2, 1863), and he shared similarly negative remarks about abolitionists who wanted slaves not only to be freed but also to have "all the rights of the white race" (July 30, 1864). In addition to Payne's outgoing letters, the collection has 1 letter that Payne received from his brother Frank; 2 letters from Payne to his commanding officers; and 6 postwar letters concerning Payne's political career, of which 2 are by Elihu Washburne.
Eugene B. Payne kept 3 Journals , which recount most of his military service with the 37th Illinois Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Loose documents and notes laid into the volumes relate to several aspects of his time in the army.
The Documents series contains 4 items related to Eugene B. Payne's time in the army, including 2 documents regarding unauthorized absences from headquarters, a chart providing the names of promoted men from the 37th Illinois infantry regiment, and a copy of Payne's military record (1888). The Ephemera series contains a cardboard menu for a reunion dinner of the 37th Illinois infantry regiment, held on March 6, 1885 at The Palmer in Chicago.