University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Alvin French Papers (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Alvin French Papers consists of typed transcripts of the correspondence of Alvin French, a Union soldier from Springfield, Illinois. The correspondence is dated from 1861 to 1864.

Alvin S. French, born circa 1840, was the son of Alonzo W. French of Pittsfield, Illinois. He lived in Springfield with his uncle, Dr. Amos Willard French, a dentist and early resident of the city. Alvin French enlisted as a corporal in the 114th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1862, and served as a hospital steward and then as First Assistant Surgeon for the regiment. He was killed in action in June 1864 at Guntown, Mississippi, reportedly while tending to wounded soldiers on the field.

The digitized content contains transcripts of Alvin French's correspondence dating from 1861 to 1864. The incoming letters are from French's friends and family, and discuss the war, troop activities, or news from home. Outgoing correspondence, typically from French to family members, details the activities of the 114th on the front, his work in the regiment hospital, or other personal matters.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Alvin French Papers (MS 641). The collection was partially digitized in 2018. For more information, contact an archivist at