1862 Civil War Diary of William F. Smith, Major, 1st Delaw...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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Description1862 Civil War Diary of William F. Smith, Major, 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry Regiment. 2.75" x 4", 50 pages (34 blank), pocket diary, bound in black cloth, dating from October 30, 1862 to February 1863. Entries are a mix of pen and pencil. The front inside cover has the inscription: "William F. Smith, Dover, Delaware, April 9, 1861." The diary is accompanied by a copy of Smith's calling card, which indicated he was a Major in the 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
The first entry in the diary is on October 30, 1862, with Smith writing that his regiment "left Harpers Ferry." The remaining entries record the regiment's progress from Harper's Ferry to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the regiment's participation in the fighting there. Smith's entry for November 3 indicated that his regiment had "Marched to Upperville arrived there at three oclock P.M. Formed a line of battle to support the 8th Rhode Island battery. At 5 P.M. we marched to the advance and was put on picket. The Rebel pickets within sight of our's." On November 18, Smith writes that his regiment was "on picket along the Rappahannock river" and that "Teamsters out on a foraging party captured by the Rebel cavalry. Ten (10) in number."
There is a gap in the diary from November 18 to December 11, 1862. On December 12, Smith records that his regiment "crossed the river and occupied the city" of Fredericksburg and "laid all night under arms." The next day, December 13, Smith describes his regiment's participation in the Battle of Fredericksburg and his wounding. "Received orders to advance to the front as soon as the fog clear away, ‘watchword "Scott"' while orders came for the 1st Delaware to advance as skirmish to the front to connect on the right with the eight (8) Ohio, before we were deployed the Rebs commenced to Shell us with success. Capt Nicholls wounded in the leg, myself in the head, several of the men wounded. We drove the Rebel skirmishers back in their main line, laid firing for two hours before the first line of battle came up to relieve us (24 & 38 New Jersey) ...could not force them over our line of skirmishers. I was wounded in the side by a rifle shot. Taken to a Hospital in Fredericksburg and had my wound dressed." On December 14, Smith wrote that he was "in hospital. Came home to Dover, Del Dec. 19.... Returned to camp Feb. 1863." With this last sentence, the diary ends.
Condition: Cover worn and rubbed, some loss of cloth binding; front joint cracked and slightly loose; missing flap. Internally good. Text is legible.
More Information: William F. Smith (1840-1864), from Dover, Delaware, enlisted in the 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a Sergeant for a three-month term on April 18, 1861. On August 10, 1861, he re-enlisted for three years. On the back of Smith's calling card, inserted in the dairy, has written in pen the following: " Wounded at Fredericksburg Dec. 13 th 1862 in side at Gettysburg in leg July 2 nd 1863. Before Petersburg October 27 th 1864 in thigh. Limb amputated Nov the 3 rd . Died Nov. 6 th aged 24 years 6 months 20 days." Smith was seriously wounded in the right leg at the Battle of Boynton Plank Road, which was fought on October 27-28, 1864 and died on November 6, 1864 as a result of his wound.
The 1st Regiment Delaware Volunteer Infantry, known as the "Crazy Delawares," was organized at Wilmington, Delaware, on September 10 to October 19, 1861. The regiment participated in a number of important battles, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, and the Siege of Petersburg. The regiment mustered out July 12, 1865.
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