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    1863 Diary Belonging to Moses Bennett of the 21st Indiana Light Artillery. 2.5" x 4", pocket diary dating from January 1 to December 31, 1863. Bennet enlisted as a private in September 1862, and was mustered into the 21st Indiana Light Artillery. Through his service in his regiment, he was promoted to Quarter Master Sergeant, and ultimately transferred to the Field and Staff division. The 21st Indiana was posted almost immediately to Covington, Kentucky after its organization, due to the threat of invading forces led by Kirby Smith. During the period in which Bennet kept this diary, the battery saw nearly continuous action throughout Tennessee, with battles and skirmishes at Nashville, Hoover's Gap, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. Despite seeing a great deal of fighting, Bennet survived the war and was mustered out of service in June of 1865 at Indianapolis, Indiana. The diary is written mostly in pencil, and there are entries for nearly every day of the year, with some sparser sections in December. Entries are legible, but with noticeable grammar and spelling errors. What follows is a sampling of his entries, all written during the year 1863:

    In part: "[Feb. 5] found the boys burying the dead Rebles killed the day before [at the Second Battle of Fort Donelson]. [Mar. 18] fleet came up river, drilled, made site for gun no. 5 Rebles came down to the river bank and fired at our pickets. [Mar. 25] James Johnson died gun boat armed from Nashville had several skirmishes Hilton got his arm blowed off. [Apr. 3] the 11 and 96 Ohio went crost the river scouting. [Apr. 5] Reynolds Brigade crossed the river and joined us the boats was busy all day hollin our dry goods captured from the rebs yesterday. [Apr. 13] the boats left for Nashville hear about 10 reports of the cannon [Apr. 14] our forces of infantry crossed the river and went out and had a skirmish with the rebs 3 pieces of our artillery went out in the evening. [May 12] Joseph Smith was hung 15 minutes before 4 o'clock in broad view of nearly all the troops in the brigades. [May 28] the 36 reg went on a scout and took sixteen prisoners. [Jun. 4] 6 o'clock scouting for the army [of the Potomac] lost 2 men in skermashas and drove the rebels [Jun. 5] started at 5 H 30 m am passed Alexandria arrived at Liberty at 4 o'clock found soldiers here, they had a battle yesterday. [Jun. 24] Left Murfreesboro and marched to the front had a brisk skirmish all day and quite a fight in the evening. [Jun. 25] took position on a hill last night and was subject with firing of artillery and sharpshooters all day and quite a fight in the evening. [Jun. 26] the skirmishers drove the rebels and they left our brigade followed in the distance the rebels took off to their killed. [Aug 8] Aired our ammunition and had an explosion of over 200 rounds ammunition burnt 8 men badly. [Aug. 9] Had a court of inquiry in the morning over our accident. [Aug 14] Nathan Rector died today from injuries received on the 8th. [Sep. 10] started on march at 6 o'clock camped for night at the foot of Lookout Mountain. [Sep. 11] Crossed Lookout Mountain had a hard march Negley's Division had a sharp little fight with the rebs nothing gained. [Sep. 14] moved on a couple of miles nearer the enemy had skirmishing and picket firing nearly all day the 16 Army Corp reported here. [Sept 16] Sent out the center section to guard the road skirmished all day. [Sep. 17] lost 2 men in our Brig out to the front tolerable brisk skirmishing the rebs charged on one section of our battery and was repulsed. [Sep. 18] moved into position lay'd until dark and the whole div and all corps started to transfer to the right. [Sep. 19] commenced fighting about noon and fought hard until after dark both sides holding their own the Rebs fought with a vengeance. [Sep. 20] fought all day was surrounded and was forced out a lot one killed 12 men wounded fell back 6 miles..." The skirmishing continues for the next few days, and he notes the arrival of ambulances on the 28th: "Sent 204 ambulances through the Rebel lines for to bring in our wounded. [Sep. 29] our ambulances returned with about a thousand of the wounded."

    His entries through the months of October and November continue to be filled with battle content and preparations to launch an attack, climaxing with the Battle of Lookout Mountain: "[Nov. 15] worked all day ferrying guns over the river. [Nov. 21] Shermans Corps commenced crossing the river on the lower pontoon. [Nov. 22] went over to the 102nd Battery Shermans troops is maneuvering up the river. [Nov. 23] Oates house troops drove the Rebs off of Lookout Mountain had tolerable hard fighting Sherman crossed the river [Nov. 24] hard fighting all day Shermans forces stormed Mission Ridge took a number of prisoners [Nov. 25] fighting still going on our men still driving the Rebs are now nearly out of hearing..." His entries for the next few days continues to tell of fighting; and on November 30, he receives orders to go home. Bennett's last entry is made on December 5. He uses the remaining pages to make notes and keep accounts. Bennett writes his name adding "Carthage, Tenn May 15th 1863 in the front of the book."

    Condition: Gentle wear to the binding. The majority of the diary is written in pencil, and some pages have smudging; but the majority are legible. Cloth strip on the interior of the closing flap has curled. First few pages have light dampstaining at edges, with soiling to both front and rear pastedowns. Interior pages are generally clean.


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