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    Union soldier's diary with Gettysburg content

    Union Soldier's 1863 Diary of John P. Brothers of the 134th Regiment of New York Volunteers. A small pocket diary, 3" x 4.75", for the year 1863, kept by Brothers, Commissary Sergeant of the 134th Regiment. The 134th Regiment was organized in Schoharie, New York, and mustered into service for three years on September 22, 1862. The 134th was involved in several battles during the war, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. The regiment was mustered out Bladensburg, Maryland, on June 10, 1865.

    Brothers' diary entries are intermittent up to March 25, 1863 when they are recorded almost daily through July 26, 1863. During this period, many of the entries concerned everyday life in camp, marches, reports of the weather, personal news, and several reports of battles.

    The 134th Regiment saw its first action at the Battle of Chancellorsville, which was fought between April 30 and May 6, 1863. In his entry for May 2, 1863, Brothers writes of the fighting that took place near Fredericksburg: "firing in the afternoon ceased at dark.... Captured the heights at Fredericksburg-Quiet at dark-commenced fighting at Midnight. The next day "the Battle raged teriably [sic] the Rebels were fed Whiskey mixed with Gun Powder-sometimes they charged our own Batteries without any Baynets [sic]." Over the next several days, May 4-May 6, Brothers records the failed efforts of the Union Army. On May 4 "Some fighting not heavy-the weather is very very warm indeed-The 134 Regt. were under fire from 29 of April until May 3-During that time knapsacks were all the whole Brig. captured." May 5 saw "heavy firing in the morning-begin to rain at 2 PM-continued all day and night-had order to be in readiness all night-We knew not was up." On May 6 Brothers notes that his brigade "Retreated across the river in good order-marched for the old camp." Back in camp, the men, writes Brothers on May 7, "feel down."

    The 134th Regiment was also involved in some of the heavy fighting at Gettysburg from July 1-3. Brothers writes on July 1 that "the 134 went from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg Pa 10 miles-went into the Battlefield 3 pm 400 strong-came out in less than an hour with only 77 privates 4 officers." After recording the names of several soldiers killed at Gettysburg, Brother mentions on July 4, 1863 that "The fall of Vicksburg is very cheering news to our troops."

    John P. Brothers, age 21, enrolled in the 134th New York State Regiment in Schoharie County on August 21, 1862. On August 28 of that year he was mustered Company A of the regiment in as a private. Brothers was promoted Corporal on September 22, 1862 and became Commissary Sergeant on July 1, 1862. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant on May 17, 1865, with the rank from December of the previous year. Brothers was mustered out of the regiment near Bladensburg, Maryland, on June 10, 1865. On June 22, 1865, he was commissioned First Lieutenant, with rank dating from June 1, 1865.

    Condition: The front leather cover of the diary exhibits wear; diary is lacking rear and most of spine cover plus eleven pages missing (2 pages between February 23 and March 2; 2 pages between March 7 and March 20; 1 page between August 16 and August 23; 1 page between August 28 and September 4; 1 page between October 9 and October 16; 2 pages between November 2 and November 15; and 2 pages between December 20 and the end of 1863) and at least one memoranda page at the end of the diary. Bottom third of page for August 25 is missing, affecting dates on both sides; bottom third of page for October 24 is missing, affecting both sides; top two-thirds of page for October 28-29 is missing, affecting both sides. All entries are in pencil or pen, with several pencil entries faded. Overall the diary is in fair condition.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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