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Charles G. Rogers journal, 1865

22 pages

Charles Geddings Rogers graduated from West Point in 1854 and served in the cavalry of the Army of the Tennessee during the Civil War. His pocket diary contains entries from February to May 1865, with a brief retrospective of his unit's movements in 1864. It also includes registers of pupils from his post-war teaching days, drafts of poems, and various other personal notes.

The pocket diary in which Rogers writes has on the flyleaf and in several other places the name Alfred Stout, but the entries begin in Rogers' hand on February 9, 1865, with a retrospective detailing briefly his unit's movements from September, 1864, through Tennesee and Alabama with General Forrest. Engagements noted include the capture of Athens and fighting at Sulphur Branch Trestle, Ala., and at Pulaski, Tenn., where he notes that he was within 400 yards of his family, but could not see them because of the presence of Union troops. Rogers apparently spent most of December and January visiting friends and family, but rejoined his unit in early February just in time to participate in the largely unsuccessful attempt to block Sherman's march through South Carolina. He mentions briefly the defense and evacuation of Fayetteville, skirmishing along the Black River, and the Battle of Bentonville, N.C. Disappointingly, he mentions Lincoln's inauguration and assassination with little more than a straightforward notation; Lee's surrender at Appomattox rouses him slightly more: "sad news indeed, " though he does inveigh briefly and bitterly against the men at home who are too cowardly to join the fight: "so much for the boasted chivalry of the South." By war's end he seems embittered by the fate of "our noble little army" whom he sees as having been "sacrificed on the altar of a ruthless and hopeless cause." His anger is seemingly directed against the C.S.A., and he notes, it seems without irony, on the day of his mustering out, "and now for home, and there forever as a truly loyal citizen of the great U.S." The diary ends shortly thereafter, although the notebook also contains registers of pupils from his post-war teaching days, drafts of poems and various other personal notes.


William Ellis Jones diary, 1862

1 volume

The diary of William Ellis Jones documents nine months of service in the Crenshaw Battery, Virginia Light Artillery, by a 24-year old private. Jones describes the mustering of Crenshaw’s Battery on March 14, 1862, participation in several battles, including the Battle of Gaines’ Mill and the Second Battle of Bull Run, and meeting Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

The diary of William Ellis Jones is contained in a single volume and covers the period of Jones’ service in the Confederate States Army between March 14 and December 31, 1862. Jones apparently found the mostly-blank book on the battlefield at the Gaines’ Mill; it had previously belonged to a Union Soldier named William Daugherty. Jones tore out most of the used pages and transcribed a narrative he had been keeping into the book, but Daugherty’s signature and a few of his notes remain.

Jones’ record begins when he was mustered into service in Crenshaw’s Battery, Virginia Light Artillery, and contains brief but extremely rich daily entries describing morale among Confederates, the intensity of battle, and frequent illnesses and deaths. Jones also described receiving medical treatment for several health problems (June 14: “Feel much better this morning, the calomel acting with talismanic effect on my liver”), the execution of deserters (August 19: “…the prisoners were marched up to their graves, preceded by the band playing the dead march and their company with loaded muskets”) and meeting Stonewall Jackson (August 11: “He… looks on the ground as if he lost something; altogether he presents more the appearance of a well-to-do farmer than a military chieftain.”).

In a particularly long entry on June 27, Jones described participating in the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, covering his psychological state, the “terrifically hot” enemy fire, and the battle’s casualties. Jones’ diary is a literate and observant record of nine months of service in Crenshaw’s Battery.