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    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.


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