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Dickey, Edgar Van Buren, 1841-1925. Letters, 11 October 1861-2 July 1865

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0127

Scope and Contents

The Edgar Dickey letters were written to members of the Dickey family while Dickey was serving with Company I of the Minnesota Second Regiment in the Civil War. Letters dated 11 October 1861 through 2 July 1865 covered Dickey’s entire time in the Minnesota Second Regiment and paralleled the history of the regiment. Also, William Wells, who served with Dickey and was a neighbor of the Dickey family, wrote some letters or the fragments of letters.

Dickey’s correspondence illuminates numerous aspects of a soldier’s sometimes dreary and at other times hectic life. The letters ranged from joy, sorrow, economic worries, homesickness, and patriotism. Throughout his years in the Civil War, Dickey saw battles such as Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, the battlefield of Shiloh, the taking of Atlanta, and Sherman’s march to the sea. Furthermore, Dickey mentioned foraging for food, military chaplins, “niggars,” the war’s end, and Lincoln’s death. The letters’ conclude with his return home in the summer of 1865.

The collection is arranged chronologically dating from October 1861 through 1965. The folders for the letters are dated according to a numbering system designed by the collection’s donator, E. Dudley Parsons. The numbers represent the year, month, and letter. For instance, a letter numbered 61-10-1 was the first letter written during October 1861.


  • 1861-10-11 to 1865-07-02


Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property and libel laws as they apply.

Biographical / Historical

Edgar Van Buren Dickey was living in the Pine Island-Zumbrota area during the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, he enlisted in the Minnesota Second Regiment. Dickey served in the regiment until the war’s end in 1865. In 1880, he ran a livery stable in Appleton, Swift County, Minnesota. He died in the Old Soldiers’ Home in Minneapolis on 20 March 1925 and was buried in Appleton.

Biographical information was obtained from E. Dudley Parsons, grandson of Edgar Van Buren Dickey, and from the Minnesota Soldiers’ Home Hospital.


18.00 folders

Language of Materials



The collection of Edgar Van Buren Dickey contains Civil War letters (11 October 1861-2 July 1865), written from various places in the southern United States, by Edgar Van Buren Dickey and William S. Wells. The letters contain information detailing life in the military during the Civil War. The letters were written to friends and relatives in Zumbrota and Pine Island townships in Goodhue County, Minnesota.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

E. Dudley Parsons donated this collection to the Minnesota Historical Society in September 1974. Thereafter, the collection was transferred to the Southern Minnesota Historical Center in September 1974.

Dickey, Edgar Van Buren, 1841-1925. Letters, 11 October 1861-2 July 1865.
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Revision Statements

  • 2001-09: Finding aid revised by Jeff A. Jenson.

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US