The brothers were gallant...Phillips Family Archive: Four Brothers Who Defended the Union. Large group of letters and ephemera related to the Phillips Family of Illinois. Four of the Phillips boys went off to war in 1861. Thomas Robinson Phillips died on June 5, 1861 from disease contracted at Camp Yates, Springfield, Illinois. John Henry Phillips died of a gunshot wound to the head received at Fort Donelson on February 15, 1862. He served in the 2nd Regiment Iowa Infantry Volunteers. Fielding D. Phillips served as a Captain in the 130th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He died from wounds received at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. John Howell Phillips served as a Captain of the 22nd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry and served the entire war. Yet another brother, Charles Wesley, apparently did not serve in the war. The collection is housed in a large binder with tabs indicating the family member. Due to its scope, we cannot provide an itemized list of the contents, but will try to summarize the holding.
There are thirteen war-date letters from John Henry Phillips to family members plus a 7-page letter dated October 1, 1860 regarding a trip to Padukah and St. Louis for employment, plus a "Claim of Heirs for Bounty" form completed after John's death at Ft. Donelson. The last letter was written on January 20, 1862 and is 7-pages long. "The secesh Ladies of the City have a fashion of parading past here waving their handkerchiefs and secesh emblems for the prisoners and making other secesh demonstrations. Our old Col got tired of it and ordered every one that is seen engaged in any thing of the kind to be brought before him... the col threatened them if they didnt stop it he would introduce them to the coal cellar under the prisoners." Condition varies, with some stains, fading and soiling.
The John Howell Phillips material is highlighted by two CDVs, signed three times by Howell. One is inscribed on the verso: "Yours respectfully John H. Phillips Capt. Co. 'D' 22nd Ill Infty" while the other is signed on the front and inscribed on verso: "Coming from Picket May 26th 1863". There are twenty-seven war date letters from John Howell Phillips, ranging in date from January 8, 1862 to May 24, 1865, plus another letter dated June 9, 1866. They were all written to his mother or sister Alice ("Allie"). These tend to be lengthy letters. The locals include Corinth, Camp Lyon, Florence [Alabama], Nashville, Murfreesboro, Stone River, Bayou Pierre [Mississippi], Bridgeport [Alabama], Cairo [Illinois] and others. "The inspector on General Grants staff is to inspect us and I think he will find a ragged and dirty set as the Regt. has been out on the tramp nearly all winter and have not had a chance of keeping themselves in any kind of decency... You have no doubt seen a great deal in the newspapers about the Rebels being nearly starved out and that they are deserting because they did not get enough to eat. But if they fare any worse than we men in this Department have this winter I pity the poor devils."
The Fielding D. Phillips component is by far the most extensive, as he survived the war. It includes various documents, including his 1862 appointment as First Sergeant in Company F 130th Illinois Regiment, a disability report, a pass to Memphis, a hospital discharge, CDV and letter from his sister. a doctor's finding of bilious remittent fever, two leave of absence forms, two requisition forms, a muster-in roll, two muster-out forms and discharge papers, etc. There are sixty-one war date letters, seven partial letters of war-date and ten letters written to "Birdie" Phillips 1865-1874. Writing to his mother from Mansfield, Louisiana on April 11, 1864, Fielding says: " I am under the painful necessity of informing you that I am wounded & a prisoner in the hands of the enemy. I suppose you will hear ere this reaches you of the battle. We had a hard time of it. Our regt. was most all killed wounded & taken prisoners. I am shot in the right knee. The wound is pretty severe but I am geting along prety well... I came near losing my leg but I think the danger is passed now." The locales include: Camps Yates & Butler, Memphis, Fort Pickering, Millikens Bend, Vicksburg, Brashear City [Louisiana], New Iberia, New Orleans, Decrow's Point [Texas], Benton Barracks, Dalton [Georgia] and others. A rare opportunity to acquire the letters and papers of four gallant brothers who served in the war - three of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.
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