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Department of Medicine and Surgery (University of Michigan) theses, 1851-1878

57 microfilms (1449 theses)

Theses written by University of Michigan Medical School students; subjects concern the theory and treatment of specific diseases, as well as the psychology of medicine, attitudes toward women and child rearing, the social standing of the physician, and medical practices during the mid-nineteenth century.

E. C. Tillotson papers, 1862-1908

80 letters, 1 diary

E. C. Tillotson enlisted in the 14th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War, but was unable to serve on active duty because of frequent ill health. Among his papers are 29 letters to his daughter Mary and one each to his wife Angeline and son Charles, which describe the fate of Union dead at Chickamauga, the fortifications at Chattanooga, and other topics. His diary covers a one month period during the summer of 1863 and includes a description of the engagement at Hoover's Gap, Tennessee in June. A series of documents collected during his service include ordnance stores reports and surgeons' evaluations of Tillotson. The collection is completed by letters concerning Tillotson's death and the dispute between Angeline and Mary over his estate.

The Tillotson papers appear to be only a portion of his war-time correspondence, with only one letter present prior to 1863. Among the 80 letters, 29 were written by Lt. Tillotson to his daughter, Mary, and one each to his wife and son. The collection includes three letters from Benjamin St. James Fry and two from Lt. Van Meter concerning Tillotson's death and the dispute between Angeline and Mary over his estate. Finally, there are a series of documents collected by Tillotson during his service, including ordnance stores reports and seven surgeons' evaluations of Tillotson as unfit for duty.

As might be expected from a man so often removed from action, the collection is slight on military news. The diary, which covers only a one month period during the summer of 1863, includes a good description of the engagement at Hoover's Gap, Tenn., in June, 1863. Two letters mention the fortifications at Chattanooga, and one interesting letter discusses three soldiers in the 111th Pennsylvania Regiment and two servants, who froze to death while being transported by rail to Bridgeport, Ala. The best letter by far, however, is a grisly description of the supposed fate of Union dead at Chickamauga. Tillotson charges that Braxton Bragg refused to allow the Union to reclaim their bodies, and that the Confederate Army dismembered bodies, exposed them for hogs to devour, placed skulls on stumps, and took bones to carve into rings and other souvenirs for Southern ladies. An unusual printed poem "On Picket Guard at Stones River" is also noteworthy. On the home front, one letter mentions a gang of escaped prisoners from Johnson's Island who were terrorizing the neighborhood of Cedar Point.

The Tillotson papers will most likely be of interest as an unusual record of a soldier who spends much of his service sitting at home convalescing. Tillotson's mood swings and occasional dark thoughts during his long battle with "neuralgia" and other complaints, and his equally obvious inability either to serve or to secure a discharge are very interesting. The strained relations in his family are also of considerable interest, particularly after they develop into open hostility between mother and daughter over Tillotson's estate.