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.