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    Union diary with descriptions of the capture of a "woman bush whacker" and the Battle of Manassas Station

    Union Soldier's 1862 Diary Kept by Corporal Jacob R. Sterrett of Co. D, 11th Ohio Regiment. Sterrett scribed his diary in a small leather-bound notebook, 3.6" x 5.75". The diary is for the months March through August 1862; the pages are numbered, and in addition to a date, Sterrett is careful to note location at the top of each page. Sterrett writes daily, and each entry fills at least ten lines, though often entries fill an entire page. The last pages of the notebook are filled with his various assignments, and a ledger of all the letters he received. Sterrett entered the army as an original member of the 11th Ohio Regiment on June 20, 1861 for a three year enlistment, rising to the rank of sergeant. He was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, and died from his wounds a month later.

    Sterrett's regiment was stationed in West Virginia, and his diary often focuses on the strange contradictions that arose along the border states during the war, and describes the capture of a female Confederate spy (bushwhacker). A good part of the diary is written from Gauley, Raleigh, and Fayetteville, and Sterrett often served as a guard. A complete typed transcription is included. In part [punctuation and spelling is consistent with Sterrett's]: "Winfield Va. 1862... Tuesday May the 6th. on picket with three men on the valley road the co. that went out scouting returned they burnt a large mill & five or six houses a threshmashine & wheat. it was about 30 miles from here. they killed one gerriller who fired on them from the hill... Gauley Bridge Va. 1862. Saturday May 10th 1862. a regt of Cavelry past throug on there way to Sewell Mountain Some of the Co changeing ther muskets for Enfields we changed our old muskets for rifels... Monday May the 12th. on the march left Gauley ay four 0'clock in the morning for Fayettsville a distance of 14 miles we left our tents & two Co. behind. Seamores wife with us riding horse back arrived at fayetsville in the eavning where we stop all night out in the open fields... Thursday May the 15th the 23d Regt. which is in advance 20 miles had a brush with the enemy & lost one gun three men killed. Re captured the gun the same day. Our Co. left Raleigh for Fayettsville to Guard the Comisary. starse the rest of the Regt. to Stay till further orders. our Co. arrived at Fayettsville at 4 o'clock, having marched 30 miles without knapsacs pickets fired on. sent out ten scouts arested a bush whacker... Fayettsville Va. 1862 Sunday May the 18th the orderly took out another scouting party to take a bushwhacker did not get him. Harisen and myself took our guns went a hunting about two miles from cam we went to a house where two women lived there husbands are in the Secesh army. Jenkenses cavalry. took two buggies from Secesh. an old negro and his two little boys come in this eavning. they are runaways from the secesh army at prinston where our men had a fight. the rebels four hundred strong get in the rear of Cox where two Co. was guarding & drove them our. Mrs Seamore is going to keep one of the little negroes... Fayettsville... Monday May the 19th. started early with five others on a Scout. went about six miles to Sewel Mountain. I was left with two men at a little log hut in the mountain to guard a man till the rest went on a mile further to get there dinner & get a secesh prisoner we called for our dinner & the woman got us up a nice dinner. The man had been forced in floids army So we did not bring him along. we went to a secesh house & took the mans rifel powder & shot... Fayettsville 1862 Friday Aug the 8th raining in the afternoon the rebels three thousand strong attacked 4 co. of the 23rd Regt at Packses ferry 8 miles east of Raleigh the fired several rounds at our boys with cannon but finaly fell back a Scouting party went out 1 pm loop creek. A woman bush whacker was brought through here to day under guard takeing her to Columbus. She was dressed in males clothes when she was found with a gun in her hand she said she had killed 8 men & was going to kill all she could she was about 20 years old I went out to Huddlestons in the eavning... Alexandra. District of Columbia. Monday Aug the 25th...there is about 70 thousand troops quartered within 10 miles of Washington at different places. The rebbel General Lee has the most beautifull property in four miles of Washington that I ever saw. It is situated on the banks of the Potomac. A citizen & three negroes was killed in market this morning by some of the New York soldiers..."

    His final entries give a compelling account of the Battle of Manassas Station: "Alexandra District Columbia Teusday the 27 [beneath which is crossed out Thursday Aug the 28th] our Regt went abord the train early in the morning our destination was not known we overtook the 12th Regt at bulls run there was a collision took place last night two trains run into each other & killed several soldiers, when we got off the trains to march we could hear the roar of cannon distinct not more than half mile off we started up double quick & arrived on the field where a Jersy Regt was engaging the enemy they had taken all of our guns There being no one to support them they fired into the train and caused the collision. the Jersy regt began falling back So we relieved them. Gen Taylor was commander he was wounded in the first of the engagement in the leg. [George W. Taylor would die from this would on August 31.] we fought them as long as we could & began to retreat along the railroad. our Sgt was killed and several others of our regt while we was retreating they followed us up till dark and captured one Lieut. & several of the boys that was straggeling behind we arrived at Fairfax Junction at dark & stoped for the night all the stragglers was sloped at this place we put out heavy pickets for the night. Thursday the 28th [beneath which Friday Aug the 29th is written and crossed out] one of our men shot a secesh picket & bought him in. he told us the plan that was on foot for capturing our Regt & the 12th we knew thy was in our rear on the rail road, we took a road that was 10 miles out of the way, it was one o'clock in the morning when we started. The enemy did not know of our leaving till morning as soon as they found it out they soon overtook us & kept laggin our rear till within 4 miles of acmp where they captured 80 & killed 4 of our men that was straggeling behind we are camped within one mile of Alexandria Mclelands army has been coming in all day from off the Paninsuly counterbands are coming in from bulls run all the time. Friday Aug the 29th nea munsen's hill we had hardly got our tents Struck unll we had orders to march. The entire army is on the move Cox with our Regt & 5 other Regts with six batteries & to Co of Cavelry we are 9 miles from Alexandra camped in a beautifull country."

    Condition: Evenly toned throughout. Cover shows heavy wear, and only about 20% of the spine remains. Binding is loose, with soiling to the front and rear pastedowns.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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