Description

    Union Staff Officer's 1865 Diary Written by Lieutenant William H. Mickle of the 20th Corps, Army of Georgia During Sherman's March Through the Carolinas. Written in pencil, in a calf-skin bound notebook, 4" x 6.5", the diary covers the period of January 19 through June 3, 1865. Mickle writes his name on the front pasted down: "Lieut. Wm. H. Mickle, A. A. Q. M. Artillery 11th A. C., Bridgeport, Ala., Jany. 4, 1864," which is when he likely first obtained the notebook. There are a scattering of notes from 1864, including some battle field messages, but the main body of the diary consists of approximately 50 pages written in 1865 detailing military movement, and battle and staff officer related content. He references many high ranking officers including Sherman, Slocum, Williams, Ward and Howard; and includes unrecorded incidents which will be of interest to researchers and collectors.

    In small part, from the first part two months of the diary: ...[Chiver's House near Savannah, Jan. 19, 1865]... left Savannah about 12...arrived here about 3 p. m...pretty rough beginning...at dark started for Genl. Ward's Hd. Qr at Hardeesville...was kindly received by the Genl. & staff...[Jan. 20]... Genl. Williams & staff enjoyed the night without anything to eat or drink...Genl. Williams & staff arrived...after having been down to the river & found a terrible freshet. The Hd. Qrs. train being nearly inundated. The major was terribly ducked... [Jan. 21]... went with Genl. Williams & staff to Purrysville, boarded the Pontiac visited there for awhile, saw the armament etc. Genl. W_s, Col. Perkins, Capt. Weigle and Kent the reporter of Tribune... [Jan. 23]... called on Batty. I...started in company...of Genl. William's staff for Purrysville & thence by boat Genl. Lee for Savannah. At R. R. crossing she struck her wheel on piles & disabled it, she floated down about 2 miles when the wind blew her ashore... [Jan. 29]... moved on the Robertsville road...Wheeler's Cav. made a slight resistance. [Battery] M fired 3 solid shot for a signal to Genl. Slocum...sent scouts to Sister ferry...[Jan. 30]...went out in front of the pickets to Lawton's plantation & found corn & meal...two Reb scouts came down to the house, soon went back...[Jan. 31]...went down to the river with Col. Perkins...Genl. [Nathaniel J.] Jackson went with us to Sisters ferry. Saw Genl. Slocum &...returned in a yawl boat of the Pontiac... [Feb. 2]... went out with a scout, ran a narrow escape from capture & drove the Rebs capturing their breakfast. Had quite a skirmish before Lawtonville... [Feb. 4]... went back to Sisters ferry with dispatches from Genls. Sherman & Williams to Genl. Slocum...met 2nd Div near Robersville & Genl. Kilpatrick between R_e & Lawtonville went from Pontiac to Sisters ferry in cutter manned by her mariners... [Feb. 6]... moved across Beaufort Bridge, passed the 15th Corps to their left...[Feb. 7]... struck the R. R. about 2 1/2 pm had a gay chase after... the Johnies camp on R. R... [Feb. 8]... was at Genl. Ward's Hd. Qrs while Col. Dustin presented a set of captured holsters to the Genl. who in turn made a splendid patriotic speech... [Feb. 9]... to Blackville...began there to destroy the R. R. Kilpatrick destroyed a mile or two...the Mich Engineers twisted the rails thoroughly...[Feb. 10]...destroyed the R. R. Genl. Geary came up & joined us... [Feb. 12]... started for Duncan's Bridge on a foraging expedition went about 15 miles & struck Wheeler's Cav. they captured 2 horses & equipment from us & Charlie is missing. Got 6 horses & 2 mules. Drove the Rebs on a charge... skirmish at Jeffcoat's bridge... [Feb. 14]... started after stock, moved to the left of column, found very poor people & a barren country, the escort had a narrow escape, the Rebs got into their rear & the escort charged through them...Capt. Gardiner was chased about 4 miles, but by taking to the woods & swamps made his escape. Capt. Reynolds of Genl. Robinson's staff was gobbled... [Feb. 17]... went to Broad river where they were laying another pontoon. Before it was completed news came that Columbia had been formally surrendered to a Col. comdg. a Brig of Ward's Div, 15th Corps. About 1 p. m. the pontoon bridge was finished & Genls Sherman & Howard...crossed and moved into town... The citizens received us with little demonstration... a few seemed glad & the escaped prisoners were wild with delight. The negroes were vociferous in their idea of freedom & shouted for Sherman & his army. We rode through different streets & found much cotton strewn in the centre of the Sts. preparatory to being burned which had been ordered by Beauregard prior to [his] evacuating. The new capitol was partly built and the green palmetto (iron) just in its rear was a fine production... there was about 200 invalid Rebel soldiers & some of our left... saw the open field in which our officers had been here'd like cattle. Many of our troops were intoxicated by spirits captured in the place or given them by the citizens, by nightfall hundreds were drunken, we anticipated trouble by fires as that is the prevailing tendency of Sherman's men... [Feb. 18]... Maj. Reynolds and several of the staff went to Columbia, found most of it burned, was set on fire by Rebels & our drunken soldiers & the wind blowing fiercely, nearly the entire place was consumed. Genls Sherman & Howard were compelled to leave their quarters & did all they could to stop the pandemonium. Much distress followed as the citizens were driven into the streets by the flames. Some of our men were burned to death. Sad affair indeed notwithstanding it was the Capital of the leading spirit of Secesh... [Feb. 27]... saw some slaves as white as any caucasian. Could not believe they were of African blood... Wilmington is reported evacuated. Enemy are concentrating at Charlotte, N. C."

    Mickle's entries are detailed and specific troop movements and engagements are recorded daily, up to Johnston's surrender to Sherman: "[Apr. 15]... rumors were ripe that Johnston had proposed to surrender if he could have the same terms that Lee had... [Apr. 16]...remained at Raleigh while Sherman & Johnston were conferring relative to the surrender of the Reb army... [Apr. 17]... Sherman went out to see Johnston, returned in the evening not having completed his mission... [Apr. 18] ...Sherman with Johnston again returned late...had made certain arrangements that were satisfactory to them but required the sanction of the President of U. S. A..."

    Additional transcripts of the rest of the diary can be found online at HA.com/6154*49073.

    Condition: Expected heavy wear, backstrip is missing at top and bottom of spine. Although written in pencil, there is little smudging, and all entries are highly legible. A few pages are completely detached.


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