Ira Russell papers, 1861-1865.

Creator: Russell, Ira, fl. 1861-1865.
Collection number: 4440
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Abstract: Ira Russell, physician of Massachusetts, who served in the Union Army as a surgeon during the Civil War, first as administrator of hospitals in northwest Arkansas, then as surgeon-in-charge of the hospital complex at Benton Barracks near St. Louis, Mo., which could serve between 2,000 and 3,000 patients at one time. Papers chiefly relating to Ira Russell’s service at Benton Barracks, Mo., including orders and military and personal correspondence. Most of the orders were recorded in an 84-page volume that covers operations at the hospital in 1864. Many of the letters, 1861-1865, relate to the running of the hospital at Benton Barracks. In some of them, Russell discussed the condition of African-American troops who were stationed at Benton Barracks and employed at the hospital. After March 1864, one of the hospitals at Benton Barracks was designated as a facility “for Colored troops only.” There are also a few letters of Ira’s son, Fred W. Russell, who, in one letter, discussed the progress of the war in Missouri and Arkansas. There is also a four-page journal Fred Russell kept of his sightings of meteors in Massachusetts in 1863.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: ¬†Folders 2 – 4 contain Some of Russell’s military correspondence that discusses issues pertaining to the African-American troops employed at the hospital, including their pay. Letters also cover the designation in 1864 of one of the hospitals to serve only African Americans .

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