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Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language.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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Montraville Reeves Papers (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Montraville Reeves Papers consists of 15 letters mostly from Montraville Reeves to his brother, Ransom Reeves. These letters discuss Reeves’s experiences and thoughts during the Civil War.

Montraville Reeves was from Douglas County, Illinois. He enlisted as a private in Company E, 79th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1862. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Company G of the same regiment in 1863. He was discharged in 1864.

The digitized content contains twelve letters from Montraville Reeves to Ransom Reeves, his brother. Also included are two partial letters to Ransom Reeves from his nephew F.S. McCawley and one letter to Ransom Reeves from his brother Artimas Reeves. Montraville’s letters describe army life, skirmishes, the condition of the Shiloh battlefield after the fighting, and the battle of Chickamauga. He also gave his thoughts on Copperheads, the Emancipation Proclamation and his opposition to black troops, and wrote about his fear of the war reaching Illinois.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Montraville Reeves Papers (MS 222). The collection was completely digitized in 2019. For more information, contact an archivist at