Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois

The Establishment of Camp Butler

On April 15, 1861, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, sent a telegram to Illinois Governor Richard Yates reading: “Call made on you by to-nights mail, for six regiments of militia, for immediate service.” The Civil War had begun, and the State of Illinois was responsible for organizing men to fight in the Union army. At the time, there were no organized militias within Illinois, and the state’s government began planning military training camps. On August 2, 1861, the State of Illinois announced the construction of a Union army camp about six miles outside of Springfield named Camp Butler, after Illinois State Treasurer William Butler.… Read More

Illinois History Abroad: Manuscript Copies from the French National Archives and Repositories

In the initial decades after its founding in 1909, the Illinois Historical Survey (now part of the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections) focused on research and collecting documents to support the publication of a multi-volume state history as well as an edited series of documents. The Survey obtained copies of archival materials from both North America and Europe. The IHLC currently holds dozens of boxes and reels of microfilm of documents from these early collecting initiatives, including 16 cubic feet and 25 reels of microfilm from French Archives and Depositories (MS 023). The project to collect copies of documents from French archives and depositories involved significant effort and repeated readjustments, as it spanned two continents and the outbreak of two world wars.… Read More