Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Civil War Diary of Gilbert T. McLoon, Company H, 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, for 1863. 3.75" x 6", cloth bound pocket diary. The diary is comprised of approximately 178 pages, 118 of which are diary entries, of which 94 include entries by McLoon, most in pencil. Included with the diary are 4 photographs: 1) a tintype of McLoon in uniform in a 4" x 5.25" CDV album mount; 2) a CDV of McLoon, undated (sometime after the war), in a 4" x 5.25" in an album mount; 3) a CDV of McLoon , his wife, and child, undated, in a 4" x 5.25" album mount; and 4) a CDV of McLoon, undated (sometime after the war), in a 4" x 5.25" album mount.

    McLoon's first entry on January 1, 1863, written in pen from a camp in Virginia, where his regiment was attached to the Army of the Potomac, mentioned that the weather was fine and that he was on picket duty. He then switched to pencil and, referring to President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, wrote, "All niggers were freed today." McLoon's entries for the duration of January through March related the weather, what was served at meals, and picket duties and scouting assignments. On April 7 he wrote "We had a grand review of the whole of the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac by President A. Lincoln and his wife, the bigest [sic] that ever took place in this army up to this date."

    By the end of April 1863, McLoon's unit was involved in the Chancellorsville campaign under the command of General Joseph Hooker. On April 29, he wrote, "took our line of march at 7 a.m. in pursuit of the Rebs. Advanced to Culpeper Court unmolested as the Rebs had retired during the night before. Arrived at Culpeper Court at 11./30. a.m." The next day McLoon wrote "at the Rappedan [Rapidan River] firing comenced [sic] at 8 O'clock." Entries for May 1-3 recorded additional fighting. On May 4, McLoon wrote, "We retreated back a crost [sic] the river & renewed our rasions [rations] after two days fasting." The next engagement about which McLoon noted in his diary was on June 9 during the Battle of Brandy Station. His regiment "A crost [sic] Kellys foard [Ford] and marched [to] meat [sic] the enemy. Found the foe at 20 minets [sic] past 10 O'clock and had a crisp days work with the enemy. One of the gratest [sic] Cavalry fights yet known."

    As General Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia toward Pennsylvania in June, Union cavalry was in pursuit and encountered Confederate forces at the Battle of Aldie, Virginia, on June 17. That day McLoon made the following entry in his diary: "took up our line of march from manassas junction & marched for Oldie [Aldie] town. Here we were in gaged in a very hard fight. Our Regt. was very badly cut up." From Aldie, McLoon's regiment, which made up the rear guard of General John Sedgwick's VI Corps, was ordered to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, arriving on July 2, the second day of battle. On that day McLoon wrote "passed threw [sic] the place called union mills on the Pike Road leading to Geties Burge Pa. passing threw [sic] Little Toen the Battle was in its hight of rage...we came in fast." The next day, July 3, he wrote "the battle raging still in its Bloodiest [fire?]...our Regt joined the Brigade this morning hard fighting. The battle was raging its haviest [sic] at 1 O'clock & died away at 2 O'clock to a more steady fire." On July 4, the day after the battle, McLoon wrote "not much fighting. The men wer [were] ingaged [sic] in picking up the wounded & berring [burying] the dead."

    After Gettysburg, McLoon and his regiment moved from location to location in Virginia, including Harpers Ferry, Cedar Mountain, Brandy Station, and other places in the Shenandoah region. His entries after the month of October until the end of the year become sporadic.

    Gilbert T. McLoon (1838-1903) was born in Kingfield, Franklin County, Maine. A farmer, he enlisted in Lowell, Massachusetts, as a private in Company H, the Massachusetts 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment on October 8, 1861. McLoon was wounded at Parker's Store, Virginia, on November 29, 1863. He mustered out of the service on November 11, 1864. After the war, McLoon lived in Lowell, Massachusetts. He died in Winter Park, Orange County, Florida.

    The 1st Massachusetts Cavalry was organized at Camp Brigham in Readville, Massachusetts, beginning September 3, 1861. The regiment was first attached to the Department of the South until August 1862. Companies A through H moved to Fort Monroe in August 1862, then moved to Washington, D.C., and joined Pleasanton's Cavalry, Army of the Potomac. In October 1862, it joined Averill's Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac. In January 1863, the regiment joined the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, where it served until April 1865. The regiment mustered out of service on June 29, 1865 and was discharged at Readville on July 24, 1865.

    The diary and photographs are accompanied by photocopies relating to McLoon and the Massachusetts 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.

    Condition: Internally the pages are overall in good condition, with toning on edges; a few pages are loose, and a page is missing between May 18 and 25. The binding is separating from the text block. The binding is worn, especially the back cover; some loss of cloth. Water stains visible in inside covers. Entries in pencil are light in places, but still legible.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    14th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 454

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 April 11 Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search