Civil War Special Collections

Oct 27, 2005

A number of Civil War-related collections are available in the manuscript collections in the Library's Special Collections Department. These collections include soldiers' diaries, correspondence, and reminiscences. Some highlights include:

  • Reminiscences by General Cyrus Bussey (MS 606) detail his exploits with the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, including accounts of the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (or Pea Ridge) and the Siege of Vicksburg.
  • Letters in the Van Zandt Family Papers (MS 213) document the experiences of a family with members in both the North and the South. The collection also features the diaries and letters of William Vanzant who participated in the Battles of Pea Ridge, Chickasaw Bayou, and Arkansas Post as a sergeant in the 1st Iowa Light Artillery.
  • The James Robertson Civil War Diary (MS 646) includes an account of the Battle of Shiloh, where Robertson was captured, and details of his subsequent experiences.
  • The McCall Family Papers (MS 1) contain T. C. McCall's diary as well as letters with his wife and son while he was serving as quartermaster with the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry. The collection also includes Mary A. B. McCall's correspondence related to her responsibility for the family business while her husband was at war.
Van Zandt papers

These collections and others are available for use Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., in the Special Collections Department, 403 Parks Library. See also the guide to the Civil War collections.

For more information concerning resources and services in the Special Collections Department, see the Special Collections department web page, or contact department staff at (515) 294-6672 or by e-mail at