Corporal Abraham H. Newton kept a daily diary (109 pages) while serving in the 51st Massachusetts Infantry Regiment in eastern North Carolina from November 26, 1862-July 27, 1863. He wrote about his daily experiences and commented on aspects of military life such as drills, illnesses, and troop movements. His diary has additional brief notes pertaining to his military service and family genealogy.
Newton dedicated his diary on October 17, 1862, and began writing daily entries on November 26. He served in eastern North Carolina, particularly in the area around New Bern. Most entries concern his daily activities, such as drilling and performing guard duty, weather conditions, and correspondence with his wife and his sister Lydia. He sometimes reported war news, such as the anniversary of the Battle of New Bern (March 14, 1863, and March 15, 1863), his arrest of a drunken sailor (March 22, 1863), and the steamer Little Victoria's capture of a Confederate supply ship (March 23, 1863). On April 5, 1863, Newton fell ill and reported to the surgeon, and from April 6, 1863-April 18, 1863, he described his stay and treatment in the hospital. When most of the regiment departed in late June, Newton remained behind, along with other ill soldiers and convalescents. He commented on a ration shortage in his entry of June 25, 1863, and sailed for Boston on July 6, 1863. After his entry of July 27, 1863, when he was mustered out, Newton wrote 2 further entries: one concerns his discharge and final pay (August 18, 1863), and the other pertains to a business trip to Boston (September 3, 1863).
Following the diary entries are brief notes about Newton's service and 5 pages of additional notes about military personnel, troop movements, and Newton's father and grandfather. One page contains accounts for articles of clothing. Newspaper clippings with the names of the officers of the 51st Massachusetts Regiment and the members of Company F are pasted onto the endpapers.