Southern Illinois University Edwardsville William R. Townsend Civil War Diary
(Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)
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About this Collection

Collection Description

The images in this collection comprise the complete Civil War diary of Union soldier William R. Townsend. The diary covers the period from April 11, 1863, to February 2, 1864 and contains descriptions of camp life, battles, furlough and leisure activities, civilian interaction, and other information.

Conflicting sources make it difficult to pinpoint William R. Townsend's actual date of birth. We believe he was born in 1839 or 1840, possibly in October. Townsend was enlisted in the 42nd Illinois Infantry. During his service, Townsend was promoted to the rank of Captain. William Townsend died at the age of 66 on February 23, 1906.

(Photograph of Townsend from Oak Leaves newspaper, Sat. March 3rd, 1906, Vol. xxv No. 9, Oak Park, IL, courtesy of The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, IL)

This digital collection was created by Lovejoy Library in 2008. The project was made possible by Dr. Richard L. Millett, Emeritus Professor of History at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, who donated the use of William Townsend's Civil War diary to the Library.

This collection presents scanned images of the diary's pages along with searchable transcriptions of each daily entry. The diary was scanned and transcribed by Cary Harvengt. Click here for an interpretive tour of excerpts of the diary and additional contextual historical information. For more information, contact Lovejoy Library, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, at 618-650-2712.