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    An Ohio infantry soldier's diary recording Sherman's March through Georgia and the Carolinas

    Union Soldier's Diary of Private Albert Slater, 105th Ohio Infantry. 144 page diary, 3.75" x 6", from various places in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, with entries from October 24, 1864 through March 15, 1865. Slater makes daily entries, daily military activities during Sherman's March through Georgia and the Carolinas.

    Slater's early entries covered life in Sherman's army between the fall of Atlanta and the general's march across Georgia to the sea, a time in which many soldiers were involved in foraging expeditions in the countryside to feed and sustain the large army as well as tearing up railroads. On November 8, 1864, Slater, in camp in Kingston, Georgia, noted in his diary that it was "Presidential Election day." He described the soldiers' receiving their ballots and voting overwhelmingly for President Lincoln. "Tickets commenced circulating among the voters. At 10 A.M. All legal voters were called together at Col. Quarters...nearly all voted this forenoon. The no. of votes cast from the Rgt. was 280...Lincoln 279. McClellan 1 Total 280." On November 16 he recorded the commencement of the March to the Sea: "Our (14) Corps left Atlanta for their Great Expedition to Sunny South this morning. Our Div. (3) left at 9 A.M. taking the Augusta R.R." The evening before Slater noted his visit to Atlanta, where he found "nearly all large buildings in center of city were a mass of flames. It was the largest fire I ever saw, the bursting of shell, & red glare of fire...was a scene I shall not forget."

    As the march proceeded, Slater recorded the foraging expeditions and the destruction of railroad beds. While Sherman's army was despised by the local white residents, they were welcomed by local blacks, many of whom were former slaves. While marching through a small Georgia town, Slater recorded the response of local black residents: "about 40 of the Negros came out & went to dancing as the Brigade Band played for I presume this was the first brass band they ever heard." On November 23, Slater regiment passed through Milledgeville, Georgia, which he thought was a "very pretty city." As he went through the city he noted that the "Depot was in flames & also R.R." Much of the foraging and destruction of railroads to this point met little resistance from Confederate forces. Slater recorded one instance of armed resistance which occurred on November 29 near the town of Millen, Georgia, when "Kilpatrick's cavalry...cut the R.R. towards Milen [sic] which they successful; but they found 'Wheelers Cavalry' in large force so strong they were compelled to fall back & fortify." On December 1, Slater noted more resistance: "we went some 2 miles when we halted the cavalry was formed in lines of battle on the right and left...the enemy charged on our cavalry but were repulsed. The skirmishing lasted but a short time when the enemy fell back & our column moved on again." On December 4, near the town of Waynesboro, Slater wrote that the cavalry attacked Wheeler's cavalry and he reported on the positive result: "it is reported captured 2 pieces of artillery & some 4 or 500 prisoners."

    As Slater's regiment marched closer to Savannah on the Georgia coast, the foraging continued. On December 21, Slater's entry noted that "about noon news came that Savannah was taken. We soon had orders to be ready to move for our Corps was going into Savannah...some of our boys have been in town, the town was evacuated by the enemy last night. The 20th Corps entering the town this morning. There is said to be left 40,000 inhabitants in the city." Slater and his unit entered Savannah on December 27, and were "received by Gen. Sherman. We marched through the principle streets, saw Savannah river & South Carolina for the first time. Savannah is a nice town has many fine buildings."

    After capturing Savannah, Slater and his fellow soldiers found themselves with time on their hands with not much going on. Slater spend much of this time reading anything he could get his hands on. Because of picket duty on the January 12, 1865 Slater missed a review by General Sherman in Savannah, which was attended by "several distinguished men...among them were Maj. Gen. Halleck, Chief Quartermaster Maj. Gen. Meigs, Admiral Dhalgrun [sic], Secretary E. M. Stanton & daughter, & Ex-secretary Chase & many others." Two days later, Slater recorded that "towards evening Regiment was called into line to hear orders read. The order was from Gen. Sherman giving an account of the great successes of the army during the past year from it start from Chattanooga to Atlanta thence to Savannah. In reply the Adjutant ordered 3 cheers in reply."

    On January 20, 1865, Slater wrote in his diary that his regiment was moving out as part of Sherman's campaign through the Carolinas. Through January and February he recorded days of marching, foraging, picket duty, and tearing up railroads in South Carolina with no resistance from Confederate forces. On March 4 Slater's entry mentioned that his regiment "crossed the North Carolina line at noon." The march finally encountered light resistance outside of the town of Fayetteville, North Carolina, on March 11. On March 15, 1865 on the last page of the dairy, Slater made his last entry: "I am now finishing this daily journal to send home. It gives something of an account of a soldiers life during hard marching etc. through enemys country."

    Accompanying the diary are photocopies of biographical documents relating to Slater and to his regiment.

    Condition: The diary is bound in black leather over boards with a folding flap. The upper spine is chipped with minor loss. The flap has minor loss at the top and bottom and along the spine. Internally, the diary is in good condition.


    More Information:

    Albert A. Slater (1840-1908) was born in Essex, Vermont and moved to Ohio sometime before the Civil War, where he pursued farming. He enrolled in the U.S. military service on August 13, 1862 in Orwell, Ohio, and mustered in on August 21, 1862 in Cleveland, Ohio, as a private in Company K, 105th Ohio Infantry for a term of three years. He was captured in McMinnville, Tennessee, by Confederate forces under the command of General John Morgan at some point between December 27, 1862 and January 27, 1863. He was paroled sometime during this period. Slater later became ill on May 19, 1863 and was sent to a convalescent camp in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He returned to his unit on June 22, 1864. Slater mustered out of the service on June 3, 1865. After the war, Slater moved back to Vermont, where worked as a carpenter and a joiner and married Elizabeth Lovina on December 30, 1875; together they had one daughter, Florence, who was born on January 3, 1877.

    The 105th Ohio Infantry was organized at Cleveland, Ohio, and mustered in for three years on August 20, 1862, under the command of Colonel Albert S. Hall. The regiment was recruited in northeastern Ohio counties. The regiment was attached to 33rd Brigade, 10th Division, Army of the Ohio, to September 1862; 33rd Brigade, 10th Division, II Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November 1862; 1st Brigade, 5th Division, Center, XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January 1863; 1st Brigade, 5th Division, XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to June 1863; 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, XIV Corps, to October 1863; 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, XIV Corps, to July 1865. The 105th Ohio Infantry participated in a number of battles, including Perryville, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Siege of Atlanta, and Sherman's March to the Sea. The 105th Ohio Infantry mustered out of service at Washington, D.C. on June 3, 1865.



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