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    Massachusetts Soldier's Pocket Diary, 1863. 3.25" x 5" with entries in ink and pencil from February 6 through December 31. The soldier's identity is never revealed, though he was from Massachusetts and served in the Army of the Potomac until June 6, 1863, when he was discharged. Before his discharge, though, he records some of what he witnessed and experienced as a soldier. On Monday, April 6, he was present at a "big review of all of the Cavalry to day by Abe. Lincoln and Secty [Vice-President] Hamlin. Commenced to rain about noon." Two days later, he saw the president, Mrs. Lincoln and Tad: "Review of the 2, 3, 5, 6 Calv. By Old Abe. It was a big thing about 80,000 Men there saw his wife and boy." (Lincoln's Army of the Potomac review was proposed by Mary Lincoln to celebrate Tad's tenth birthday). Later, following the Battle of Chancellorsville, the diarist notes on Sunday, May 3 about his near capture by the Rebels: "firing most all night, came near being taken." On July 4, he received the news that "Capt. Fogg [likely one of the diarist's commanders] was killed at the battle of Gettysburg," a battle the author fortunately missed. Most of the entries, though, are about the routine life of a soldier, involving life in extreme weather, inspections, picket duty, and the occasional diversion of playing "football at night [April 9]."

    After his discharge in June, the soldier returned home to Massachusetts where he took a civilian job and watched the war from afar. It was during this time that he noted in the "Memoranda" section of the diary that the "Cutter Caleb Cushing was stolen from our harbor by pirates of the Tacony. Steamer afterwards sent in pursuit a short Engagement resulted in the sinkin of the cutter & was on [?] Chesepeake pirate all captured and some afterward Escaped." The final pages of the journal contain the soldiers purchasing records for items such as blankets, butter, coats, books, pants, and watch. Tightly bound in a well-preserved leather cover with "Diary 1863" stamped in guilt.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
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