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Collection Title: Ainsworth (Garrett Smith) Papers

Collection Number: M194

Dates: 1860-1863

Volume: .25 cu. ft.

Provenance: Donated by Paul A. Gregory in July 1982.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Garrett Smith Ainsworth served as a private in Company A, 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, United States Army, from May 24, 1861, until September 24, 1863, when he was medically discharged. Born on October 2, 1839, in Middleville, New York, he grew up in McHenry County in northern Illinois and enlisted in the service in Freeport, Illinois. His regiment saw action at Fort Donelson and Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, in February and March 1862 and at Shiloh and Corinth, Mississippi, in April and May. After duty in Memphis, the unit was a part of Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign, including operations on the Mississippi Central Railroad, and the sieges at Vicksburg and Jackson. In mid-August 1863 the unit moved to Natchez, where Ainsworth was medically discharged on September 24, 1863. He died on November 8, 1863, probably as a result of the malaria from which he had suffered for more than a year. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery, McHenry, Illinois.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of Garrett Smith Ainsworth's memorandum book (diary), October 2, 1860-Dec. 31, 1861; diary, Jan. 1, 1862-April 28, 1863; and pocket diary, Aug. 24, 1862-April 27, 1863. They mainly recount his experiences while a private in Company A, 15th Illinois Volunteer Regiment, United States Army. Included are details of conditions in camp, particularly accidents and illness among the troops, especially the malaria from which Ainsworth suffered. He discusses day-to-day activities, food and clothing of the soldiers, and rumors in camp. Miscellaneous items in the collection include newspaper clippings of poems of the Civil War period, letters from Ainsworth to his mother in McHenry, Illinois, and music that Ainsworth composed.

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