Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Diary of Union Private Octave Bruso of the 50th New York Engineers. Entries from January 23, 1864, through January 16, 1865, recording experiences at the battles of the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. On May 6, 1864, Bruso writes about fighting at the Battle of the Wilderness: "In line of Battle on the north side of Mine River. Terrible fighting on the early part of the day. Behind the Breast works all day. Made Pits. One man of Co. E. Wounded. . . . layed in Pits for 24 Hours." Bruso spent the next several weeks marching, "Building Roads & Bridges", and witnessing nearby fighting. On June 1, 1864, he writes, "Arrived at Cole [Cold] Harbor at 2 P.M. Marched hard and almost bushed. A most terrible battle was fought and we had to leave our place of nest double quick." Between battles, he watched "A Negro publicly hung at 6th C[orps] for committing adultery on a white woman." Near Petersburg on July 30, 1864, he writes, "Petersburg Seiged at 4 ½ a.m. Terrible artillery and infantry fight." As a member of the engineer corps, he spent much of his time in hard labor, "digging all night" or "making rifle pits".

    Twenty-five year old Private Bruso, from Buffalo, New York, mustered into "E" Co., New York 50th Engineers in December 1862; he mustered out in June 1865. Every day in the diary has an entry, though one week's worth of pages are missing from November 1864. The diary, written mostly in pencil, contains various doodles throughout. Included is an obituary from the Buffalo Courier-Express (1926) of Octave's wife, Charlotte Pierce Bruso, the adopted daughter of the nephew of President Franklin Pierce. Their marriage is recorded in the entry for February 16, 1864. Mostly tight binding with minor and occasional stains. Cloth wraps, back cover is rubbed, creased, and torn. 3" x 5". Very good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,651

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Dec 12, 2009 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 45 days left to consign to the 2022 January 8 Featuring The Michael Ward Collection of Western Americana & Political Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search