Fairfield Goodwin papers (1861-1862)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Philip Heslip, November 2009
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Fairfield Goodwin papers
Creator: Goodwin, Fairfield Israel, ca. 1833-1918
Inclusive dates: 1861-1862
Extent: 27 items
The Fairfield Goodwin papers consist of poems, essays and drawings created by a Union soldier from Michigan during the Civil War. Goodwin was part of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery (Taylor's Chicago Battery) at the outbreak of the Civil War and later joined the 8th Michigan Cavalry.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1997. M-3361.1.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation

Fairfield Goodwin Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized chronologically with undated items and drawings ordered at the end.


Goodwin, Fairfield Israel

Rank : Captain

Regiment : 1st Illinois Light Artillery Regiment (1861-1865); 8th Michigan Cavalry Regiment, Co. C (1862-1865)

Service : April 15, 1861-1865

Fairfield Israel Goodwin, (ca. 1833-1918) was the third child of Samuel M. Goodwin and Almira Atchison, residents of Lenox, New York. The family settled in rural Pontiac, Michigan, and as a young man, Fairfield worked in Chicago. Goodwin enlisted in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery (Taylor's Chicago Battery) at the outbreak of the Civil War, on April 15, 1861. He fought with the regiment for 19 months and participated in the battles of Belmont, Fort Donelson, Springfield, Pea Ridge, Fort Henry, Shiloh, and Iuka. At the battle of Iuka, Goodwin was wounded and was soon after discharged. He spent most of his recovery in Michigan, where he organized and became captain of Co. C of the 8th Michigan Cavalry. His company was used primarily for scouting but took part in campaigns in East Tennessee and Georgia.

After the Civil War, Goodwin studied medicine at the University of Michigan and graduated with an MD in 1874. He became a prominent citizen in Cassopolis, Michigan, where he practiced medicine, owned land, was the President of the Cass County Medical Society, and was a member of the Free Masons and Knights Templar.

Goodwin married Pontiac, Michigan, native Mary Gordon in 1862; they had three children: Carrie Lidia (1865-1961), Lena Belle (1868-1932), and Charles Luther (1872-1895). Mary died in 1872, and in 1879 Goodwin married Lidia R. Wadsworth. Goodwin died in Cassopolis, Michigan, in 1918.

Collection Scope and Content Note

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.

Subject Terms

  • Animals--Pictorial works.
  • Beauregard, G. T. (Gustave Toutant), 1818-1893.
  • Birds--Pictorial works.
  • Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889--Portraits, caricatures, etc.
  • Douglas, Stephen A. (Stephen Arnold), 1813-1861.
  • Military camps--Tennessee--Pictorial works.
  • Soldiers--Michigan.
  • Soldiers--United States--Pictorial works.
  • Soldiers--United States--Poetry.
  • United States. Army. Illinois Light Artillery Regiment, 1st (1861-1865)
  • United States. Army. Michigan Cavalry Regiment, 8th (1862-1865)
  • United States. Army--Military life--Pictorial works.
  • United States. Army--Military life--Poetry.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Humor.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military life--Pictorial works.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Poetry.
Genre Terms:
  • Drawing (visual work)
  • Essays.
  • Poems.
  • Songs (document genre)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Box   73, Schoff Civil War Collection  
Fairfield Goodwin papers [series] [View selected images of illustrated manuscripts]
Folder   9  
 November 5, 1861-September 20, 1862
Folder   10  
6  Undated items
Folder   11  
8  Undated drawings

Additional Descriptive Data


Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties. Biographical Publishing Co. Chicago, 1893.