University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

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Osbun Family Letters (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Osbun Family Letters consists primarily of photocopied Civil War letters written to Private Freeman Osbun, Company D, 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, by various family members from 1862-1866. There are no letters from Freeman Osbun in the collection, only letters addressed to him or between other parties.

Private Freeman Osbun served in Company D of the 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Company D was mustered on September 6, 1862 at Covington, Kentucky, and was mustered out on June 30, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the letters Osbun received were from his immediate family in Mansfield, Ohio, especially his sister Emma and his brother Mel. His parents, Ezra and Emily Osbun, wrote their 19-year old son frequently as well.

The digitized content contains photocopied letters addressed to Private Freeman Osbun of Company D, 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War. The collection contains only letters addressed to Osbun from various family members, or between other parties. The letters, written mostly by women, describe their perceptions of the war, Copperhead sentiments against the war, and life on the home front. Many of the letters also mention the railroad being built nearby and problems with Irish railroad workers. Also included is a letter describing the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Osbun Family Letters (MS 167). The collection was completely digitized in 2017. For more information, contact an archivist at