A Guide to the John H. Myers Memoir, 1888 Myers, John H. Memoir Ms2009-061

A Guide to the John H. Myers Memoir, 1888

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2009-061


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2009 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
John H. Myers Memoir 1888
Physical Characteristics
1 container; 0.1 cu. ft.
Civil War reminiscences of John H. Myers, a corporal in Company G, 55th Illinois Infantry, providing an overview of the common soldier's life, focusing particularly on the behavior of officers; food, water and clothing rations; marches; encampments; battle preparation; picket duty; battle and its aftermath. Accompanied by post-war carte-de-visite identified as Myers

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the John H. Myers Memoir must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: John H. Myers Memoir, Ms2009-061 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The John H. Myers Memoir was purchased by Special Collections.

Processing Information

The processing and description of the John H. Myers Memoir commenced and was completed in April 2009.

Biographical/Historical Information

John Henry Myers was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania around 1841. Census records indicate that Myers was the son of Henry H. and Maria Myers, and that he was living with his parents and siblings in Fulton County, Illinois by 1860. Myers enlisted in Company G of the 55th Illinois Infantry and was mustered in with the company on October 31, 1861. He reenlisted as a veteran at Chicago on April 12, 1864, and mustered out as a corporal with his regiment on August 14, 1865. After the war, Myers returned to Pennsylvania. By his own account, Myers began practicing medicine around 1871, though he did not obtain a degree in medicine until graduating from the Baltimore Medical School in 1883. John Henry Myers died at his home in Lewiston (Mifflin County), Pennsylvania on March 6, 1919.

The 55th Illinois Infantry was organized at Chicago, Illinois and mustered into Federal service on October 31, 1861. The regiment, part of the Army of Tennessee, participated in many of the larger battles in the western theater of operations, including Shiloh, Champion's Hill, and the Siege of Vicksburg, as well as the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's "march to the sea." The 55th Illinois was mustered out of service on August 14, 1865.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a Civil War memoir written by John H. Myers, a corporal in Company G, 55th Illinois Infantry. Rather than a strictly personal narrative, Myers' memoir provides an overview of military operations as he experienced them. He writes at length on military personnel (never naming individuals, however), likening officers to monarchs and privates to serfs, detailing several instances of injustices and incompetence committed by the former. Also discussed, often in a somewhat humorous manner, are army rations. (The writer particularly describes the soldiers' experiences with hardtack and the worms with which one shipment became infested.) Myers relates several anecdotes about foraging and the procurement of food, water and clothing. In subsequent sections, the former corporal describes the day-to-day experiences of the soldiers within an invading army--marches, encampments, picket duty, and battle preparation--providing specific details on army procedures. In the final section, Myers takes the reader step-by-step through the experience of battle, then its aftermath, as the dead and wounded are removed from the field.

Accompanying the memoir is a carte-de-visite, the verso containing--in modern-day ink pen--the name of Dr. J. H. Myers, Lewistown, Pa. The portrait was executed in the studio of F. R. M'Carthy of Philadelphia.

Index Terms

Contents List

Folder 1
Memoir 1888