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    [Capture of Jefferson Davis]. Union Soldier's Diary of Edward Smith, 14th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry. Slim pocket diary, 3.5" x 6.5," bound in leather, kept by Smith from January 1, 1864 through November 12, 1867. Smith's daily entries during 1864 and 1865, sometimes extremely brief, document the routines of camp life, including guard duty, receiving and writing letters, and the movements of his regiment. His first description of a military engagement occurs when his unit stationed in near New Orleans. On June 20, 1864, when he wrote that "Gen. Grovers [Grover] sent the regt. of Cavalry a skirmishing. The 2nd. Div. went on shore at 4 o'clock. The cavalry came back with 4 prisoners." That same day, Smith recorded that he and his fellow soldiers embarked on an expedition of twelve miles up the Red River. On June 21, he noted that "we all captured a lot of beaf [sic] cattle & hogs."

    On September 19, 1864 the 14th New Hampshire participated in the Third Battle of Winchester (Virginia), as part of General Cuvier Grover's XIX Corps of the Army of the Shenandoah under the command of General Philip Sheridan. On that day, Smith wrote this entry: "We had orders to march at 2 o'clock in the morning. We marched until 9 o'clock and then we found the Rebs brisk fighting which lasted until 5 o'clock in the afternoon." Three days later, on September 22, Smith recorded that "the artilery [sic] had quite a brisk fight. Drove the Rebs from Fishers Hill."

    The 14th New Hampshire also saw action in the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Smith's diary entry for that day provides a glimpse of the regiment's role: "At 4 o'clock there was sharp firing on the right. At 5 o'clock the rebs gave one voly [sic] in the 8th corps. They then made a charge on our flank drove the whole army from the camp. At 9 o'clock Gen. Sheridan came up with the army at sunset. We had captured all that we had lost and our old camp ground."

    In his diary for April 9, 1865 Smith wrote that "The 14th N.H. Vols. Was called out in a line to give three cheers for the down fall of Richmond." Several days later, on April 16, Smith mentioned the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant. The cheer in camp must have been severely dampened on April 18, however, when Smith recorded without comment that there was a "report that Abe Lincoln was shot." The mixed news in camp continued. On May 2, 1865, Smith reported that "half hour guns fired for the death of the President A. Lincoln." The next day, he recorded a happier entry: "200 guns fired for the salute of the Confederate States surrendering to United States."

    The 14th New Hampshire was in Augusta, Georgia, on May 14, 1865 and put on guard duty along Telfair Street. The reason for this was a rumor that Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, had been arrested and was to be brought through the town. The rumor turned out to be true: "Broke up camp. Arrived in Augusta at 9 o'clock. Returned to company detail for Street guard at 1 o'clock. At 5 o'clock there was 7 wagons came down the street with Jeff Davis. Jefferson Davis."

    Smith returned home to New Hampshire in July 1865. His entries beginning around August 1865, usually confined to a single sentence, concern what he did on a particular day.

    Edward O. Smith resided in Winchester when he enlisted in the 14th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, serving in Company F. Married with a daughter, he was working as a mechanic when he joined the service. Entering as a private, Smith was a corporal when mustered out. His appointment as corporal, dated May 1, 1865, accompanies the diary.

    The 14th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, was organized in Concord, New Hampshire, on September 24, 1862. The regiment moved to Washington, D.C. and then set up a camp in Poolesville, Maryland until November of 1862. From November 1862 to April 1863, it provided picket duty along the upper Potomac River. The regiment participated in the battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek. It was stationed at Kernstown and other areas in the Shenandoah Valley until January 1865, when it moved to Washington D.C. and then to Savannah, Georgia until early May 1865. The regiment was mustered out at Savannah on July 8, 1865.

    Condition: The leather binding is worn but in good condition. Most of the entries are in ink and legible, though in some entries the ink is fading and presents issues regarding legibility. Pages for April 3-11 and 12-15, 1864; October 1-11 and 12-18, 1864, and the last page of the diary and the end leaf are detached. There is a 1.5" tear on the page that includes entries for August 23-September 16 and September 17-October 9, 1867 but does not affect text. The sewing holding the pages together is weak and pulling away from the gutter on pages between April 17-26 and April 27-May 3. Overall, the interior of the diary is in good condition. Smith's commission, 15" x 10," three horizontal folds and three vertical folds, with a very small hole at the intersection of the middle horizontal and vertical folds.


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