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    Description

    Civil War Diaries of Calvin W. Brown, 2nd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. Two diaries. 1) 3" x 4.75", 32 pages, recto and verso (30 blank); bound in coated cloth over thin boards. Dating from January 1, 1863 to October 21, 1863. Entries in pen. 2) 3" x 5", 53 pages, recto and verso; bound in coated cloth over thin boards. Dating from October 11, 1863 to February 3, 1864. Entries in pen; a few appear to have initially been written in pencil but were traced over in pen by Brown later.

    Calvin Washburn Brown (1838-1883) was from Cincinnati, Ohio, and enlisted into Company D of the 2nd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry as a Corporal on June 11, 1861. He was promoted to Sergeant November 1, 1861, and First Sergeant on September 5, 1862. Brown's earlier diaries appear to be lost as the first of the two is listed as "No 3" and opens with his accounting of the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee on January 1, 1863. "This day the "Battle of Stone River near Murfreesboro, Tenn was being fought. Our regt in a position rendered slightly unpleasant owing to the wicked balls & shells, and bullets from the enemy flying thick and fast around and among us. Several were wounded." He picks back up after their march to Cripple Creek on April 2 with a brief note that he lost his small diary containing the events from January 4 to April but mentioned that nothing of importance had occurred. His diaries include the regiment's progress from Cripple Creek to Chattanooga and entries throughout the Tullahoma and Chickamauga campaigns. He discusses camp life and military news.

    On May 26, 1863, he wrote about the rumors surrounding Grant's success at Vicksburg. "good news from Seat of war around Vicksburg...Grant is in a fair way to capture the rebel army there. God grant that it is so..." In June of 1863, while encamped at Cripple Creek, the camp was rocked by a series of deaths. Brown's entry from June 13 mentioned a soldier in Co. K who died by suicide. "...About midnight last night a man, soldier of Co K. blowed his brains out, went to K Company quarters to see him. He is about half lying down on his bed, the sock is off one foot. The butt of his gun on the bed and mussle [sic] on a small stand or table, which is at head of his bed." Ten days later, he and his fellow soldiers were summoned to a field to watch the execution of a private from Company I. He wrote about the experience saying, "...1st & 3rd Brigades marched into a field to witness execution of Jno. Shockman or Shottman of 1st Ky Vol. inf. His crime was desertion and offering violence to his superior officer. He was shot by guard of men detailed."

    His entries on September 19 and 20 cover the Battle of Chickamauga. He wrote, "...2nd Ky fighting all day Co D lost heavily...2nd Ky in the fight today, but Co D Sustained one loss today Major Baldwin recd a bad wound in the face. We suffered in this fight worse than at Shiloh or Stone River." After the fight, they began to fortify Chattanooga because, as he wrote on the 22nd, "The 'rebs' will no doubt attempt to retake the City." This diary concludes shortly after this entry on October 21, 1863, but the last few pages of the book are cash account records from April 1863 to October 1863.

    His second diary begins on October 11, 1863. Throughout the month, he discusses the contentious gubernatorial election in Ohio between John Brough and Clement Vallandigham. On the 13th, he wrote, "As a Citizen of Hamilton Co. Ohio I have voted for Brough for Gov. of Ohio. Voting at or near Chatta, Hamilton Co. Tenn. Hurrah for 'Brough & Anderson' 'Down with Vallandigham' the hypocrit [sic] & traitor." The regiment then moved on to Bridgeport, Alabama, where he remained until the final entries of the diary. While at Bridgeport, Brown was promoted to First Lieutenant and placed in charge of reenlistment amongst what he referred to as the "Veteran Volunteers," though the reenlistment numbers remained low. The final entry is from February 3, 1864, and finds Brown near the Tennessee line in Georgia. He writes, "We can see Lookout Mountain from this place, are about 15 miles from it and Chattanooga." He mustered out with his regiment at Covington, Kentucky, on June 19, 1864.

    In April of 1865, he re-enlisted in Company D of the 8th U.S. Veteran Volunteers in Hancock's Corps. Later he worked as a clerk in the Bureau of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Lands until the office was abolished. He then worked in the clerical force of the Surgeon-General of the Army until his death in Washington, D.C., on August 19, 1883.

    Condition: Boards rubbed and worn. The flap of the second diary is very fragile and attached by a small thread. A few pages are loose but laid into the diaries. Pages are lightly toned from age, with a few sentences obscured due to ink blotting.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2021
    6th Saturday
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