Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Civil War Diary of an Unknown Soldier in the 129th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. One pocket diary, in pencil, 2.5" x 4"; bound in coated leather over thin boards. Forty-four pages from July 9, 1836 to March 4, 1864. The diary belonged to an unknown soldier in Company D of the 129th Ohio Infantry. The 129th was attached first to DeCourcy's Brigade until October 1863, then 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division until January 1864 before finishing out their service. They participated in the Battle of the Cumberland Gap. A typed transcription is included with the lot.

    The diary opens with the organization of the regiment in Columbus, Ohio. Company D was organized under Captain [David J. Bailey, First Lieut. [John G.] Mechen, and Second Lieut. [Charles H.] Head. They received their weapons from July to August and were occupied with guard duty and drill while marching through Ohio. Despite an auspicious start, the diary records a shortage of rations by late August. On September 5th, men in the camp were getting desperate, and the author's remaining rations were stolen while he was at firing practice.

    He did not have long to dwell on the event, as the 129th quickly moved up the Cumberland where they participated in the Battle of the Cumberland Gap under General Burnside. His entries on September 8, 9, and 10 recounts the bloodless battle. "Traveling up the Cumberland - awful within 1 ½ mile of their fortifications. They fired 3 cannonballs over our breastwork, went 11 miles. / Sent a flag of truce demanding an unconditional surrender. Planted batteries. Drawn in line of battle. Piled our knapsack. At one o'clock they surrendered. / Passed up through the rebel fortifications. Passed through [Cumberland] Gap. Seen the prisoners between 18 & 20 hundred, 11 cannon, 2600 standing arms."

    The fall of 1863 saw the 129th continuing into Tennessee to take part in the Knoxville campaign. On December 1, he records, "Left the Gap going towards Knoxville. Went through Taswell. It has been almost destroyed by fire." The next two days, he recounts heavy fighting along the Clinch River. "...Had a fight in the evening. The balls whistled around our heads pretty keen. 200 of our men killed, 340 wounded... / Fell out quite early to commence battle but during the night the rebels skedaddled. Sent out a reconnoitering but found no rebels..."

    The regiment stayed near the Clinch River until late December when they moved on to Tazewell and then back to the Cumberland Gap. By February, they were ordered to Camp Nelson, Kentucky. The entries during this period cover some smaller skirmishing and the day-to-day responsibilities of camp life. By March, they were back in Ohio. The final entry occurred on March 4, 1864 and reads, "Got out of the guard house. Got paid off and mustered out of the service of the United States."

    Condition: First ten pages loose but laid in. Some dampstaining and soiling internally with a few entries moderately rubbed. The rest of the text block chiefly detached from boards, but just holding. Boards rubbed with some chipping and loss to flap.

    Auction Info

    Proxy Bidding Ends
    6th Saturday 10:50 am CT
    Auction Dates
    6th Saturday
    Proxy Bidding Time Remaining
    11 Days 18h 32m 47s
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: 8
    Page Views: 52

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 15% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    This lot is in: 1 - Signature® Floor Session (Live Floor, Live Phone, Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
    (Lots 47001-47191) - 11:00 AM Central Time, Saturday, November 6, 2021.
    (Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 7 days before the live session begins and continues through the session.)

    Show All Session Information

    Show Auction Type Info

    Exhibition Viewing Times, Title Page, Floor Session and License Information

    Additional Location Info:
    Heritage Auctions
    2801 W. Airport Freeway
    Dallas, TX 75261

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    ** Lots bearing estimates and without Consignor Reserve shall open at Heritage Auctions' discretion (usually 25% to 60% of the low estimate).

    Opening Bid:
    Bid Protection
    w/ Buyer's Premium (BP) : $750.00 Minimum Next Bid: $600 ($750.00 w/ BP)
    Track Item