Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Bigelow-Monks Correspondence, 1862-1884

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Bigelow-Monks correspondence
Creator: Monks, Susannah Bigelow, b. 1842
Inclusive dates: 1862-1884
Bulk dates: 1862-1871
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
The Bigelow-Monks correspondence contains correspondence from several soldiers serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, as well as a series of letters written by Charles A. Monks to his wife Susannah, when he was staying in Gibbon, Nebraska, in 1871.
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:

2004. M-4345.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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.

Preferred Citation:

Bigelow-Monks Correspondence, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Susannah Bigelow of Newfoundland, New Jersey, was born in May 1842, and married Charles A. Monks of West Milford, New Jersey, sometime after the Civil War. Charles, who was born in April 1842, served as a sergeant with Company C of the 7th New Jersey Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. In 1871, he spent several months in Gibbon, Nebraska, where he considered moving under the provisions of the Homestead Act, but instead returned to West Milford. He and Susannah had several children. His brother, Sidney N. Monks, served as a private in the 15th New Jersey Infantry Regiment during the war. Susannah's brother Jonathan also fought in the war, and was injured in the line of duty.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Bigelow-Monks correspondence contains correspondence from several soldiers serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, as well as a series of letters written by Charles A. Monks to his wife Susannah, when he was in Gibbon, Nebraska. Much of the collection consists of the war-era correspondence of several soldiers to Susannah Bigelow and to the Monks family, from friends and family members. Several of Susannah's friends wrote throughout the war, and described in detail their experiences in camp, on the battlefield, and in the hospital. Corporal Jeremiah P. Williams of the 57th New York Infantry Regiment wrote early of his optimism for the Union effort; he drew a patriotic picture of an eagle holding the shield of the United States in his letter of January 23, 1862; he also discussed his impressions of the battle site of First Bull Run at Manassas, Virginia. Lewis Turner, a soldier in the 15th New Jersey Infantry Regiment, served with Charles A. Monks in Company C, and frequently told Susannah of his experiences, including a detailed description of the Battle of Fredericksburg (May 28, 1863). Turner was wounded in the Spotsylvania campaign, but later returned to his regiment. Beverly Post of the 7th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment became a frequent correspondent later in the war, as did his brother Jerry, who often discussed his experiences recuperating from a wound at Stanton Hospital in Washington, D. C. The Posts often referred to Susannah's brother Jonathan, and alluded to his status as a prisoner of war in early 1865.

The collection holds a large number of items written by Charles A. and Sidney N. Monks to their sister Jarrett and to their father William. The pair described the details of camp life during the defense of Washington, D. C., early in the war, but their later correspondence reflects their increasing involvement in the fighting; Charles wrote at one point that he was lucky to have only a bullet through his clothing. Both brothers detailed their battlefield experiences, and both participated in the Battle of Gettysburg. Sidney mentioned enclosing a ring taken from a dead Confederate soldier in his letter of August 15, 1863, and Charles twice provided detailed descriptions of the fighting, in his letters of July 6, 1863, and July 17, 1863. In the second letter, he drew a small map of the Confederate lines. Each of the soldiers provided a rich view of army life, and several wrote on illustrated Union stationery.

A series of letters from 1871 pertains to the experiences of Charles A. Monks as he headed to Gibbon, Nebraska, to assess the possibility of starting a farm there under the Homestead Act. In his letters to his wife Susannah, who remained in New Jersey, he provided detailed descriptions of people, scenery, and everyday life out west. He liked his neighbors and Nebraska, but he returned to his New Jersey home in October 1871.

Subject Terms

    • Frontier and pioneer life--Nebraska.
    • Fredericksburg, Battle of, Fredericksburg, Va., 1862.
    • Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863.
    • Gibbon (Neb.)--Description and travel.
    • Spotsylvania Court House, Battle of, Va., 1864.
    • United States. Army. New Jersey Infantry Regiment, 15th (1862-1865)
    • United States. Army. New Jersey Infantry Regiment, 7th (1861-1865)
    • United States. Army. New York Heavy Artillery Regiment, 7th (1862-1865)
    • United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 57th (1861-1864)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    • Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Washington (D.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863--Maps.
    • Patriotism--United States.
    • Monks, Charles A., b. 1842.
    • Monks, Sidney N.
    • Post, Beverly.
    • Post, Jerry H.
    • Turner, Lewis.
    • Williams, Jeremiah P.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   72, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Bigelow-Monks correspondence [series]
    Folders   1-10  
     January 1, 1862-June 6, 1865
    Folders   11-14  
     April 6, 1871-October 17, 1871
    Folder   15  
     1876-1884 and  undated