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    "At this point Gen. Sheridan made his appearance & a shout arose from the men as he passed along the line"

    Unusual Civil War Diary Containing Entries from Two Union Soldiers, Bandsman Hollis Haven and Private John Rush. Haven recorded his life as a soldier through daily entries, while Rush chronicled his Civil War experience as a narrative, which included an account of General Philip Sheridan's famous ride to rally his troops at the Battle of Cedar Creek.

    This diary was begun on January 1, 1865, by Bandsmen Hollis J. Haven, a twenty-three-year-old drummer from Worcester, Massachusetts, who had enlisted three years earlier. He had served in the Massachusetts 15th Infantry band until August 1862, when he joined the U.S. Brigade Band. The young musician fills nearly thirty pages with accounts of his rehearsals, parades, "serenades", picket attacks, Rebel deserters, and more. He also records news on the capture of Wilmington, North Carolina (Battle of Fort Fisher), the promotion of Elisha Hunt Rhodes (prominently quoted throughout Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War), Philip Sheridan's threat to Richmond, a visit from President Lincoln and General Grant ("rather an exciting day"), the "25th Corps of Negroes", and much more. His January 6 account of the execution of a deserter is especially poignant: "formed line at 10 a.m. and marched in front of the works. Formed in hollow square & stood till 12 n. ready for the execution of a deserter as he was driven through the lines and there shot from his own coffin."

    The Massachusetts musician mysteriously ends his portion of the diary abruptly on April 1, 1865, recording that he had not "chewed tobacco for two days. Reports of Genl. Sheridan getting whipped &c." Likely Haven, who survived the war and lived another sixty years, lost the diary in the confusion of preparing to pursue Lee's fleeing army on April 2, 1865.

    If Haven lost it, then at some point Private John Brisk Rush of Company H, 15th New Jersey Volunteers, found it. He begins his story, which appears to have been written after the war, three pages after Haven's final entry. The private leaves out the details of his daily life as a soldier, concentrating instead on all the battles that he participated in, including Salem's Church, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Fisher's Hill, Hatcher's Run, and the final pursuit of General Lee. He begins his story -- which lasts nearly twenty-five pages -- at his enlistment, August 9, 1862, and ends, "We got to Washington on June the 2, 1865 and left June the [blank] for home." The action in his narrative, though detailed, moves quickly: "started on Burnsides famous Mud March . . . got stuck in the mud [January 1863]"; "left camp & crossed over to Fredericksburg a second time - drove the rebels from the town & the heights - fought them at Salem Church [April 28]"; "continued musketry all day - at night - the rebels turned our right flank & caused a stampede. We fell back and formed a new line [May 6]"; "Gen. Sedgwick killed while superintending the erection of a battery. Heavy loss on both sides [May 9]".

    One of the highlights of Rush's narrative is his account of Sheridan's famous rallying ride on October 19, 1864, in the face of Confederate General Jubal Early's surprise attack: "The rebels surprised the 8 Corps camp. They became panic stricken & left every thing. The panic extended to the 19 Corps & by the time the 6 corps could form the rebels was on all sides . . . we was forced back 2 miles. Here the men rallied. . . . At this point Gen. Sheridan made his appearance & a shout arose from the men as he passed along the line. An advance was ordered & in less than an hour the rebels was in full retreat hurried by our cavalry. The battle resulted in the recapture of all we had previously lost besides 4000 prisoners."

    The final pages were used to record various business transactions, most likely from after the war. The diary was printed as a "Diary and Memorandum Book" with daily entries for the year 1865, published by N. Little & Company of Boston; it measures 3.75" x 6". Both soldiers have recorded their entries in pencil. Pages are mostly clean, with some expected stains, soiling, and foxing. Most pages have become unbound, as have the leather covers.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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