This collection contains typescripts of William E. Dunaway's letters to his second wife, Henriette Boone, between Aug. 14, 1862, when he enlisted from Shelbyville, Illinois, and Feb. 26, 1865, when he died of chronic diarrhea at the general hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Dunnaway (as his name was first spelled in the muster rolls) served in Co. H, 7th Illinois Cav., and provided his own horse and horse equipment. Enlisting when he was 32, he was 6'2" tall.
Except for a furlough early in 1864, and occasional detached service, Dunaway was fully active in his regiment. On May 8, 1863, for example, he noted Grierson's Raid, and he often referred to opposing troops under Sterling Price and Nathan Bedford Forrest, as on September 11, 1864: "I expect we will take up our old trade a running after Old Forrest."
Dunaway occasionally mentioned Capt. Milton L. Webster, Co. H, of Shelbyville, but no higher officers. Repeatedly expecting the war to come to an end sooner than it did, he attacked Copperheads at home for extending it. He was also critical of abolitionists (Aug. 8, 1862).
Dunaway, always eager to receive mail, sometimes remarked on the difficulties in its delivery. This collection contains 31 letters from him to his wife as well as one from her (Dec. 25, 1864) and another from her brother, John F. Boone (July 23, 1865). The collection also includes copies of official documents relating to Dunaway in the National Archives.
Ida Frimodig, great-granddaughter of Dunaway, donated his letters and papers to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections in 2012, at the suggestion of Donald Chaput of Los Angeles.