Wilbur Nelson Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Nelson, Wilbur
Wilbur Nelson papers
Date [inclusive]
0.1 Cubic feet 3 folders

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing,Michigan".

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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.

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Scope and Contents note

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 http://civilwar.archives.msu.edu/collection/7-1C-1C/wilbur_nelson/.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections August 1968

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

 Updated biographical note. March 2000

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University Property Rights: Michigan State University

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial History

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

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States. Army -- Military life -- History -- 19th century.
  • United States. Army. Colored Infantry Regiment, 102nd. (1863-1865)
  • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1865).

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865

Personal Name(s)

  • Nelson, Gaylord
  • Nelson, Miles
  • Nelson, Wilbur

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Collection Inventory









Oversized Materials 


Muster Roll 1864 


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