The Wingard and Forney Families: Civil War Experiences

Civil War envelopes from Benjamin Franklin Wingard correspondence

Throughout August, we’re celebrating Illinois Civil War soldiers in honor of the bicentennial. As the Land of Lincoln, Illinois has a rich Civil War legacy. Follow along here on our blog and on our social media to learn more about Illinois’s impact on the Civil War.


In 1980 and 1988, James Russell Vaky donated the Wingard-Forney-Vaky Family Papers to the Library. This collection offers two unique perspectives on the Civil War. Records and letters document Benjamin Franklin Wingard’s life as a Union soldier, while Mary Forney’s teenage diary illustrates the home front experience in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The two married on October 13, 1870 and resided in Champaign, Illinois after the war.… Read More

Jonathan Catlin: 52nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Throughout August, we’re celebrating Illinois Civil War soldiers in honor of the bicentennial. As the Land of Lincoln, Illinois has a rich Civil War legacy. Follow along here on our blog and on our social media to learn more about Illinois’s impact on the Civil War.


Photograph of Jonathan Catlin, undatedBefore the Civil War, Jonathan Catlin was a farmer in Dekalb County. He joined Company G of the 52nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry in September 1861. The 52nd Regiment was organized at Geneva, Illinois and mustered into federal service on November 19, 1861. The regiment engaged in the Battle of Shiloh, the Siege of Corinth, operations against Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign, and the March to the Sea.… Read More