William Styer Correspondence
This collection consists of ten letters and five envelopes from Union soldier William Styer to his wife Susannah (Defenbaugh) Styer dating from 1862 November 12 to 1863 September 5. One letter was written in Camp Morton, Indiana; one was written on board the Ohio Belle; and the rest were written from Fort Pickering, Tennessee. In his letter written on board the Ohio Belle, Styer describes his travel from Terre Haute Depot to the Ohio Belle at Cairo. Many of the letters give his wife Susannah instruction in domestic matters, for example having the cellar repaired and finding tenants to rent their properties.
Styer also writes about his personal feelings about the war, including his pride in fighting the Confederates, his confidence that the war will not last another year, and his growing determination to resign and return home because of his failing health. His letters mention news of the Battle of Vicksburg and Confederate raids in Indiana.
Interested researchers may also wish to consult MS.3107: William Styer Letter, 1863 April 2 for more information about Styer and his Civil War service.
- 1862 November 12-1863 September 5
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0.1 Linear Feet
This collection consists of ten letters and five envelopes from Union soldier William Styer to his wife Susannah (Defenbaugh) Styer dating from 1862 November 12 to 1863 September 5. One letter was written in Camp Morton, Indiana; one was written on board the Ohio Belle; and the rest were written from Fort Pickering, Tennessee.
William Styer was born on November 25, 1832 in Delaware County, Ohio to Joseph Tyson and Rachel (Kedney) Styer. He married Susannah Defenbaugh (also spelled Defabaugh and Dieffenbach) on May 4, 1858 and the couple had two children, Charles A. and Carrie M. Styer. William Styer worked as a schoolteacher and as a grocer in Kokomo, Indiana.
On August 9, 1862, Styer was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in Company D of the 89th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. He mustered in on August 28, 1862 in Indianapolis and the regiment was sent to Fort Pickering in Memphis, Tennessee, where they performed guard and fatigue duty from December 21, 1862 to October 18, 1863. In March of 1863, Styer was placed in command of the Memphis military prison, which held Confederate prisoners of war, deserters, and civilians charged with crimes. He resigned his commission on October 20, 1863 because of disability and returned to Kokomo.
Between 1863 and 1881, Styer sold groceries and quarried stone. In 1881, he took charge of Spring Mills in Kokomo. He died on February 8, 1890. It should be noted that there is some debate over Styer's exact date of death. February 8, 1890 has here been accepted as authoritative on the grounds that Susannah Styer was granted a widow's pension on July 9, 1890, thus indicating that William Styer died prior to this date and so well before all other proposed death dates.
This collection consists of one oversized folder.
This collection was purchased by Special Collections in November, 2007.
- Memphis (Tenn.) -- History.
- Soldiers -- Indiana -- Correspondence.
- Tennessee -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Prisoners and prisons.
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
- United States. Army. Indiana Infantry Regiment, 89th (1862-1865).
- Vicksburg (Miss.) -- History -- Siege, 1863.
Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA