Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Thomas Hughes Papers, 1862-1864

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, October 1991

Summary Information
Title: Thomas Hughes papers
Creator: Hughes, Thomas
Inclusive dates: 1862-1864
Extent: 11 letters, 2 photographs
Thomas Hughes was a lieutenant in the 28th Iowa Infantry Regiment. He served in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana and participated in both the Vicksburg Campaign and the Red River Campaign. The eleven letters in this collection describe the harsh living conditions Hughes faced as soldier.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated, 1990. M-2606.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.


The Thomas Hughes papers were donated to the Clements Library in December 1990, through the generosity of Sally Pyne Kennedy, a descendent.

Preferred Citation:

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


Hughes, Thomas

Rank : Lt.; Quartermaster

Regiment : 28th Iowa Infantry Regiment (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 October 10-1865 July 31

Thomas Hughes, a Lieutenant in the 28th Iowa Infantry Regiment, was an atypical soldier for the Union army. At 48, he was older than most soldiers, he served in a regiment that never ventured further east than Mississippi, and he served as a quartermaster. Hughes served in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana and participated in both the Vicksburg Campaign and the Red River Campaign.

Hughes' letters suggest that he was unwavering in his pro-Union sympathies. While serving in Arkansas, he witnessed the destruction of a small town by Union troops in retribution for a sniping incident. Although admitting that his opinions might sound extreme to people at home, Hughes defended the destruction, arguing that "we must have this river a safe highway while we are upon its borders -- And I believe the Military Commanders have at last determined to have it so, at the sacrifice of every town upon its banks from Cairo to New Orleans if that is necessary. And I must say that I fully endorse the determination."

At times, though, it seemed to Hughes as if he spent more time fighting the elements than fighting the Confederacy. From Arkansas to Louisiana, the regiment sloughed through mud under a seemingly constant deluge of rain. These conditions were only made worse by bouts of hunger and theft from fellow soldiers. Hughes's family could not offer much comfort because their finances were a constant source of worry. A daughter, Delia, helped out by bringing in 'scholars' to teach, Hughes' wife took on boarders, and his son, Ellis, left college to work (though Ellis claimed that college was nothing but 'humbug').

Hughes distinguished himself at the Battle of Mansfield in April 1864 when he aided a wounded officer from the field and then returned in an attempt to locate more ammunition for his regiment. He was surrounded by Confederate soldiers and shot at and struck with the butt of a rifle. Only the intervention of a rebel Colonel prevented him from being more seriously assaulted, and the colonel subsequently provided Hughes with personal protection on the march to prison, "though during the ride to Mansfield he had to cock his gun three times to do so." Hughes was kept a prisoner at Camp Ford, near Tyler, Texas, and was still held there at the end of November 1864.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The eleven letters in this collection describe the harsh living conditions Hughes faced as soldier. Ten of the letters are addressed to Hughes's wife. An account of an artillery barrage during the siege of Vicksburg and his account of his participation and capture in the Battle of Mansfield are noteworthy.

The collection also includes two photographs.

Subject Terms

    • Mansfield, Battle of, La., 1864.
    • United States. Army. Iowa Infantry Regiment, 28th (1862-1865)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
    • Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.
    Genre Terms:
    • Correspondence.
    • Photographs.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   40, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Thomas Hughes papers,  1862 December 21-1864 November 26 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Simmons, J. T. History of the 28th Iowa volunteer Infantry... Washington, 1865.

    Partial Subject Index
    • 1864 February 23
    Camp Ford (Tex.)
    • 1864 November 26
    Fathers and sons.
    • 1863 June 15
    Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 1822-1885.
    • 1863 October 1
    Majestic (Steamboat)--Fire, 1863.
    • 1863 May 6
    Mansfield (La.), Battle of, 1864.
    • 1864 July 7
    • 1863 February 5
    • 1863 October 1
    St. Charles (Ark.)--Description.
    • 1863 January 14
    • 1864 February 23
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Artillery operations.
    • 1863 June 15
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction and pillage.
    • 1863 October 1
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction and pillage--Arkansas.
    • 1862 December 21
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspects.
    • 1863 February 5
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
    • 1864 July 7
    • 1864 November 26
    United States. Army--Iowa Infantry Regiment, 22nd.
    • 1863 September 22-23
    United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
    • 1863 June 18
    • 1864 February 23
    United States. Army--Quartermasters.
    • 1863 September 22-23
    • 1863 October 1
    United States. Navy. Mississippi Squadron.
    • 1862 December 21
    • 1863 January 14
    Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • 1862 December 21
    Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.
    • 1863 June 15
    • 1863 June 18