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Wilbur Nelson papers

Identifier: c-00159

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of Nelson's war diaries, several transcriptions, a narrative describing Nelson's war experiences, and a muster roll. Nelson wrote his diaries in shorthand. Included are his original diary for 1864, typed and handwritten transcriptions of the 1864 diary, and a typed transcription of Nelson's diary for 1865 (the original is not included in the collection). The narrative, written by Nelson's grandson Gaylord Nelson, is based on Wilbur Nelson's diary for 1863 and his correspondence (which are not included in the collection). The muster roll for Company J, 102nd Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, dated February 14, 1864, lists the name, age, and rank of Nelson's soldiers.

This collection has been transcribed, scanned and placed online at


  • 1864 - 1865

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Wilbur Nelson of Arcadia Township, Clinton County, Michigan, was born January 15, 1839. Nelson served in the 8th Michigan Infantry from 1861 to 1863. He was promoted from sergeant to second lieutenant on January 1, 1863. In late November 1863, Wilbur was wounded in action and resigned. In March 1864, he accepted a commission as Captain in the 102nd U.S. Colored Infantry (in the Civil War, black troops served in segregated units commanded by white officers). When the war ended Nelson returned to Michigan, opened a store, and married Cornelia Church.


0.1 Cubic Feet (3 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Miles Nelson, 1959-07-07. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University Property Rights: Michigan State University
Wilbur Nelson Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
August 1968
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US