Martin Van Buren Bryant


Pvt. Martin Van Buren Bryant, Co. D, 4th Michigan Infantry

Biographical Sketch Here.



Jan. 1 (Wed.) — The Michigan 4th is encamped on Minor’s Hill, Virginia. Very warm and pleasant but I’m not enjoying myself very well. Had a very good supper. Oyster pie and eel.

Jan. 2 (Thurs.) –- Quite different today. Cold and Windy. Passed away the day washing and mending my clothes. Didn’t attend dress parade.

Jan. 3 (Fri.) — Everything is very dull in camp. The two flanking companies took back their Minie rifles to quartermasters and returned with old muskets. Very good joke indeed.

Jan. 4 (Sat.) — Looks very much like winter. It is snowing quite fast. It is very dull in camp. Nothing to do to while away the lonely hours. Mailed a letter to Lawson and Wurster Ann Arbor.

Jan. 5 (Sun.) — Pleasant but cold. Company inspection of arms and knapsacks. I’ve been gathering Secesh wool for bed. Think I will rest much better tonight than what I have lately.

Jan. 6 (Mon.) –- Skirmish drill and target shooting. Snow two inches deep. Mailed a letter to Wm. H. Briant, Lakeville N.Y.

Jan. 7 (Tues.) — Very Pleasant on guard today. No. 12 2nd relief. Two company drills. Wet out. Drawed one pair of military gloves. Countersign Drainsville.

Jan. 8 (Wed.) — 900 Springfield rifled muskets came for the Mich. 4th. Received a letter from Mary Ann Arbor in care of Captain Depuy, Company K.

Jan. 9 (Thurs.) –- Very pleasant. Received our guns which are very nice. No company drill on account of its being wet underfoot.

Jan. 10 (Fri.) –- Received a package from Mary, two cakes and a can of peaches which are very nice and also received my watch from Lieut. Hall. Very misty and rainy. No drilling. Mailed a letter to Mary, Ann Arbor.

Jan. 11 (Sat.) — Not very pleasant. Target shooting. Some good shots made. I am very lonesome. Wish I could do something.

Jan. 12 (Sun.) — Very warm and pleasant. Inspection of arms and knapsacks. Were all found in good order. Didn’t attend church. Fixed up and loafed off. Virginia phrase. I broke a crystal from my watch.

Jan. 13 (Mon.) –- Cold again. Skirmish and knapsack drills. Received a letter from ________ Armstrong, St. Louis, Missouri.

Jan. 14 (Tues.) — Cold and snowing. Drawed one undershirt from the quartermasters. Received a letter from Lawson and Wurster, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jan. 15 (Wed.) — Cold and raining hard. Not very well. Very dull and lonesome in camp. Sent George Hughes fifty cents.

Jan. 16 (Thurs.) –- Pleasant but chilly. Target shooting and Battalion drill. I got up a petition to the ____________ to keep our ____________ ration in the hand of the Gen. the time of our discharge.

Jan. 17 (Fri.) — Cold but sunny. Target shooting and skirmish drills. Our camp got their cook stove. I received a letter from Mary, Ann Arbor.

Jan. 18 (Sat.) — Heavy fog and raining. No drills and no dress parade. Passed away the day in wandering about. Found a number of photographs of generals.

Jan. 19 Sun.) — Raining hard and very muddy. No inspection of arms and knapsacks. Wrote two letters.

Jan. 20 (Mon.) –- Very misty and rainy. Mailed two letters. One to Mary, Ann Arbor. One to Miry, Lakeville, N.Y. On guard. Very bad time. Countersign Vienna.

Jan. 21. (Tue.) –- Very muddy. Got a pass and went to Alexandria. Got my watch fixed and bought a chain. Had a good time and returned to camp at night.

Jan. 22 (Wed.) — Very muddy. Had orders to pack all that we could not carry in our knapsacks and send to Washington for safe keeping.

Jan. 23 (Thurs.) –- Muddy as ever. Regiment on picket until the 25th. Very bad time today. Did not stand any post. Reserve at barracks. Drawed one pair of leggings.

Jan. 24 (Fri.) – Countersign Tiber. Very cold. On post from one till three and from nine till eleven. Raining, hailing, snowing all at once. Took supper in Secesh land. Got a letter from Mary.

Jan. 25 (Sat.) — Raining like the devil. On post from five till seven. Had a bully breakfast in Seceshia and returned to camp. Not feeling first rate.

Jan. 26 (Sun.) — Cold and freezing. Had inspection of arms. No knapsack inspection. Went to the woods and had a good wash.

Jan. 27 (Mon.) –- Froze very hard. Drilled at the bayonet exercise. Done quite a large washing. Battalion drill in the afternoon. Mailed a letter to Mary, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jan. 28 (Tue.) -– Raining hard. Regiment paid today. didn’t draw my pay. Got acquainted with McNeal. No drill nor dress parade.

Jan. 29 (Wed.) — Very unpleasant and muddy. No drilling. Bought likeness of Jeff Davis, Scott, and McClellan.

Jan. 30 (Thurs.) –- Raining hard. No drilling. Wrote a letter to father and sent him the likeness of McClellan and Scott. Sent a paper to Miry, Lakeville. Mail those tomorrow.

Jan. 31 (Fri.) –- Pleasant but muddy. No drilling. Bought a gold pen and pencil. Mailed a letter to father and a paper to Miry, Lakeville.

Feb. 1 (Sat.) –- Some snow and some rain. No drilling. Very lonesome in camp. Captain gone. Company all drunk.

Feb. 2 (Sun.) –- Froze hard. Company inspection of arms and knapsacks ___pleasant. Received a letter from Mary, Ann Arbor, Mich. Found a pair of gloves.

Feb. 3 (Mon.) –- Froze hard and snowing all day. Coldest day there was born yet. Snow near inch deep.

Feb. 4 (Tue.) — Very pleasant. No guard. Nothing much going on in camp. Countersign Mexico. Mailed 4 letters to Mary, Miry, William, and John Stringhane. Rush.

Feb. 5 (Wed.) –- Pleasant again. Got a pass for Washington. Took the cars to Alexandria. Took the boat from there to Washington. Had a good time going.

Feb. 6 (Thurs.) — Raining hard. I am still in Washington. Taking the______. Had my picture taken. Bought me a cap, coat, and vest.

Feb. 7 (Fri.) –- Took the boat for Alexandria about noon. Had a pleasant time. Raining up. Arrived in camp at night. All right.

Feb. 8 (Sat.) –- Cold and froze hard. Target shooting. Received a letter from Mary, Ann Arbor.

Feb. 9 (Sun.) –- Quite pleasant. Two dress parades. One battalion drill. Wrote a letter to Rodman. Sent him a picture.

Feb. 10 (Mon.) –- Pleasant but cold. On guard. Took horse and went down to see Milo. Wrote a letter to Charles Sibley. Returned to camp at night.

Feb 11 (Tue.) — Froze up hard. Battalion drill two hours. Had a good time towards night. Got considerable tight target shooting.

Feb. 12 (Wed.) –- Very fine. Bayonet exercise and target shooting. Eight ___________________________. Warm and pleasant.

Feb. 13 (Thurs.) — Spring has come at last. Very warm. Target shooting. Made a good string shot.

Feb. 14 (Fri.) –- Warm and raining a little. The Mich. 4th and 5 other regt. and 2 regt. of cavalry went out on a scout to Vienna. Took the town and returned.

Feb. 15 (Sat.) –- Snowing hard all day. Looks quite dreary. Feel quite different now. Just got three letters. One from Mary, Mich. One from father. One from Miry, Lakeville N.Y. On guard. Countersign Tippecanoe.

Feb. 16 (Sun.) –- Very pleasant and warm. Company on guard. Visitor from Ann Arbor. Wrote three letters and enclosed twenty shillings to Miry, Lakeville, N.Y.

Feb. 17 (Mon.) –- Raining hard. Very lonesome in camp. No mail coming in and none going out.

Feb. 18 (Tue.) — Quite pleasant. Mailed 5 letters and 3 papers. 2 to C. Wood. 3 to father. 2 to William. One to Miry.

Feb. 19 (Wed.) — Quite different today. Very stormy. Received a letter from Miry, Lakeville. It has been miscarried. James Murphy went to the blockhouse at the fort.

Feb. 20 (Thur.) — Very pleasant today. Had a fine time washing and drying my clothes. Had a fine shower last night that settled the roads wonderfully. The wind is drying the roads fast.

Feb. 21 (Fri.) –- Not so pleasant today. Charles Marshall came to see me. Had a very good time. Short drill in the bayonet exercise.

Feb. 22 (Sat.) –- Washington’s birthday. Quite pleasant. Fired a salute of a hundred guns at both batteries. Speeches were made by Captain Depuy and Lieut. Colonel. Good time.

Feb. 24 (Sun.) –- Sent my watch to Miry by Marshall. Cold and windy. Got a pass and went to the fort with Marshall. Got lost coming back in the night. It was very foggy. Stayed all night within 90 rods of camp.

Feb. 24 (Mon.) –- Raining a little. Hardest wind I ever knew. Blowed every tent down in camp. Very cold toward night. Got a letter from Rodman, Farmington, Mich.

Feb. 25 (Tue.) — Pleasant today. On guard. Flag presented to Gen. Morrell by the officers of this brigade today.

Feb. 26 (Wed.) –- Raining today. Nothing of importance going on today. Received a letter from father, N.Y.

Feb. 27 (Thurs.) — Cold. Nothing much going on. Dress parade and drill. ___________________

Feb. 28 (Fri.) –- Very cold. Mustered in for pay. Had a cold time of it. Expected to march but did not.

Mar. 1 (Sat.) –- Quite pleasant. Dress parade and battalion drill. The non-commissioned officers received their warrants by Lieut. Hall.

Mar. 2 (Sun.) -– Looks like rain. Inspection of arms and knapsacks by the Colonel and Lieutenant. Got a pass for Davis and I and went to the fort. Snowed very hard today.

Mar. 3 (Mon.) -– Pleasant but cold. No drills or dress parades. Very dull in camp at the present time. Mailed a letter to father, N.Y.

Mar. 4 (Tue.) –- Froze hard. Target shooting by twenty of us for a camp ________. McFadden win. Received a letter from Miry, N.Y.

Mar. 5 (Wed.) — Pleasant. Company and battalion drill. Not much of anything going on.

Mar. 6 (Thurs.) –- Warm and pleasant. Got up early and did a large washing. Company drills. Mailed a letter to Miry, Lakeville.

Mar. 7 Fri.) –- Very warm and pleasant. Nothing of importance going on in camp.

Mar. 8 (Sat.) — Summer weather. Warm and pleasant. Sick. Went to the doctors for an excuse. Got one. Got a letter from William, Lakeville, N.Y.

Mar. 9 (Sun.) –- My throat is bad this morning. Our regiment has gone on a march with two days provisions. Grand dress parade in front of our camp. Gen. Porter present.

Mar. 10 (Mon.) — Raining. Our regiment came in from the scout and have started for Fairfax. The whole grand army moved this morning.

Mar. 11 (Tue.) –- Very warm. Manassas evacuated. The stars and stripes wave over the ruins. I’m getting better of my cold.

Mar. 12 (Wed.) — Warm as ever. No further news. I’m in camp yet some better.

Mar. 13 (Thur.) — Looks like some rain. No further movements made yet. Feeling quite well. Ate dinner with the rebels. Had a good time.

Mar. 14 (Fri.) – Raining hard. Very lonesome. All alone in camp. Got a letter from Charles Wood, Ann Arbor. Mailed a letter to Barry. Sent a box to Barry.

Mar. 15 (Sat.) — Raining very hard. Started for Alexandria. Got there after eight hours of hard marching. Very tired. Feel like taking a nap.

Mar. 16. (Sun.) –- Pleasant. Feel very bad this morning. Slept in an old rebel fabric last night. Expect to tonight. Mailed a letter to father.

Mar. 17 (Mon.) — Quite cold. Joined my regt. at noon. Near Clouds Mills in the grass with no tents.

Mar. 18 (Tue.) — Pleasant. Built me a tent with pole and leaves. Had battalion drill and dress parade.

Mar. 19 (Wed.) — Very warm. Nothing transpired worthy of note. Division review by McClellan, McDowell, and staff. Received a letter from father and Miry, Lakeville.

Mar. 20 (Thur.) — Rainy and cold. Rained hard last night. Got very wet. Moved down to other tents. Very comfortable now.

Mar. 21 (Fri.) –- _______________________. Started for Alexandria. We are aboard the boat. Porter’s division is all on board. We are now in the stream at anchor.

Mar. 22 (Sat.) — Pleasant. On our way to Fortress Monroe. Our regt. takes the lead. 10 o’clock and the anchor is cast. We are in the bay.

Mar. 23 (Sun.) -– 4 o’clock and we again on our way. Very pleasant. 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We are at the fort. Dark and we are encamped 4 miles on the Hampton Roads.

Mar. 24 (Mon.) — Warm and pleasant.________________ 3rd Mich. lays besides us. Nothing going on of any importance.

Mar. 25 (Tue.) — Pleasant. Struck tents at 10 a.m. and pitched them two miles further in the Hampton Roads.

Mar. 26 (Wed.) — Very warm. Nothing of any importance going on. Very pleasant country. Mailed a letter to father.

Mar. 27 (Thur.) — Very hot. Advanced on Big Bethel. The rebels retreat. Get back at sundown. Twenty miles march. Very tired.

Mar. 28 (Fri.) — Warm as usual. Nothing going on. Washed my clothes.

Mar. 29 (Sat.) — Cold and raining. Changed front to the rear with my tent. Rather more comfortable.

Mar. 30 (Sun.) – Rainy and cold. Very disagreeable weather. Nothing of any importance going on.

Mar. 31 (Mon.) – Pleasant and warm. Elected camp commissary. Dress parade.

April 1 (Tue.) — Very pleasant. Corporal of the guard. 26 years old today.

April 2 (Wed.) — Warm and rainy. Excused from duty. Went to the 13th and 49th N.Y. regiments to see my friends. Attended dress parade.

April 3 (Thur.) — Warm and pleasant. Company drill and inspection of arms and knapsacks.

April 4 (Fri.) – Pleasant. Reveille beaten at 4 o’clock. Struck tents and advanced on the enemy. Threw away my overcoat. Drove the rebels before us and encamped for the night 6 miles from Yorktown. Very tired and lame.

April 5 (Sat.) — Raining. Started for town at 7. Very rainy on the way. Rebels throwing shells at us and we are returning the compliment. Their cavalry charged on our sharpshooters and went back a number less.

April 6 (Sun.) –- Pleasant. Shells coming thick and fast. One in company C wounded about __________by a shell.

April 7 (Mon.) — Very pleasant. We are still under the enemy’s firing. Captain in company B shot in the arm. Moved our tents in the woods a little farther.

April 8 (Tue.) — Raining. Cold and unpleasant. A few exchanged shots were made. Nobody hurt. Sharpshooters doing good execution.

April 9 (Wed.) — Very Rainy. Orders have come for us to move from here. We are on the bank of the York river near the gunboats. Raining hard. Got two letters. One from Barry and one from Mary, Ann Arbor.

April 10 (Thur.) — Very pleasant. Got our new tents. Very comfortable tonight.

April 11 (Fri.) — Very warm and pleasant. The sound of cannons is heard in most every direction.

April 12 ( Sat.) — Warm and pleasant. Regt. On picket. Nothing but hard bread in twenty-four hours. Rebels burnt a number of buildings outside of our lines.

April 13 (Sun.) –- Very pleasant. Relieved from picket this morning. Nothing going on worthy of note. Saw Charles Hall.

April 14 (Mon.) — Very warm. Looks like rain. _________________________. Gunboats shell the rebels out of their works.

April 15 (Tue.) — Rained a little last night. Gunboats still pouring in their shells. Received a letter from dear Miry and father. Very glad to hear from them. Also (found) a sheet of rebel paper.

April 16 (Wed.) –- Pleasant. Hard battle on the left wing. Quite a number killed on both sides. Mailed a letter to father and Miry.

April 17 (Thur.) — Heavy firing all along the lines today. Company drill and inspection of arms.

April 18 (Fri.) – Very hot. 4th on picket. A number of shells thrown at us. None hurt. Captain Wood shot through the bowels by one of his men. Died at 12 p.m.

April 19 (Sat.) — Warm and rainy. Came in from picket this morning. Very quiet along the lines today.

April 20 (Sun.) – Cold rains. Skirmishing along the lines. Sharpshooters doing good execution.

April 21 (Mon.) — Quiet. Cold and misty. Took charge of 25 men and went to battery 15 fort number 2 to work. Returned at 5 p.m. Quite warm.

April 22 (Tue.) — Pleasant and cool. Boys all in good health. Expect a battle soon.

April 23 (Wed.) — Very pleasant. Had a good time fishing for ______________. Heavy firing in the direction of Yorktown.

April 24 (Thur.) — Warm. Our regt. On fatigue duty. The works are going on swiftly.

April 25 (Fri.) –- Cold rains. Very quiet along lines.

April 26 (Sat.) — Cold and very disagreeable. At work again today on pontoon bridges.

April 27 (Sun.) –- Cold and wet. Regt. On picket. Shells were thrown amongst us all day. Advanced post at night with 10 men __________________.

April 28 (Mon.) — In from picket this morning. Very pleasant. Received our pay today. Could not draw my back pay.

April 29 (Tue.) — Warm and rainy. Not much firing going on today.

April 30 (Wed.) — Raining still. Very quiet along the lines. Sent $20 to father by express. Also sent 5 to Mary by mail. Received a letter from Mary.

May 1 (Thur.) –- Very foggy. Regt. on fatigue duty. Shells thrown among us lively. Nobody hurt.

May 2 (Fri.) –- Very warm and pleasant. Heavy cannonading kept up on both sides.

May 3 (Sat.) –- Very Warm. Shelling our camp today. Nobody hurt as yet. Rebels about leaving.

May 4 (Sun.) — Very Pleasant. The bird has flown at last. The stars and stripes float over the rebels nest at Yorktown. My knapsack is packed and I am ready to march. Our fleet shelling the rebels on their retreat.

May 5 (Mon.) –- Raining. Just enough to make it dreary. Heavy cannonading heard in the direction of Williamsburg. Ordered out to march but did not go. Inspection of arms.

May 6 (Tue.) –- Very Pleasant this morning. Very quiet in camp today. Inspection of arms.


Sample of Bryant’s handwriting

May 7 (Wed.) — Warm and pleasant. On guard today. Regt. started for Yorktown. Laid on arms all night.

May 8 (Thur.) –- Pleasant. Took the rounds inside the rebel works. Counted 81 guns. Went aboard at noon. Arrived at West Point in the night and cast anchor.

May 9 (Fri.) — Very warm. Took for the land in pontoon boats. The stream [was] too shallow for the steamers to run in. Our boys [are] helping to bury the dead from Wednesday’s battle.

May 10 (Sat.) — It is hot. Our regt. on picket. Took five prisoners. Brought them to camp.

May 11 (Sun.) -– Very warm here on the coast. Inspection of arms and knapsacks. Held dress parade.

May 12 (Mon.) –- Warm as ever. Company drill. Went to the river and had a good wash. Feel much better.

May 13 (Tue.) –- Very warm. Struck tents, packed up, and marched to Cumberland Landing, 12 miles. Arrived at night very tired. Received a letter from Mary.

May 14 (Wed.) — Warm. Busied ourselves fixing up our tents.

May 15 (Thur.) –- Rained hard all day. Expected to march. Struck tents in the morning. Got very wet through the day. Pitched our tents at night.

May 16 (Fri.) — Pleasant and cool. On our way to the White House all day going 5 miles. Pitched our tents at 10 p.m. Received a letter from Miry and William and Ben Hannah.

May 17 (Sat.) –- Very warm. Guns in very bad order. Lot [of] work cleaning them for inspection. We are at the White House — the place where Washington was married.

May 18 (Sun.) — Very warm. Went to the river and had a good wash. Feel much cooler. Mailed two letters to Miry and Mary.

May 19 (Mon.) –- Raining. On the march now. Stationed at Tunstall’s Station (railroad depot), 17 miles from Richmond. Very hot. Inspection of arms. Held dress parade.

May 20 (Tue.) -– Warm. Company drill and inspection of arms. Orders for us to move at noon. Didn’t go. Took a detail of 10 men and worked on the road.

May 21 (Wed.) — Very warm. On the march again today – 5 miles farther. Encamped by a beautiful spring. Camp spring. Held dress parade. Mailed a letter to William.

May 22 ( Thur.) — Hot and sultry. Started at noon. Rain just pouring right down. Marched 4 miles in the rain and camped at night in a field by a ravine.

May 23 (Fri.) -– Cool breezes. Inspection of arms and company drills. Dress parade without music.

May 24 (Sat.) -– Rained very hard all day. Wet. At early morning [we] received light marching orders. Marched about 5 miles through a swamp single file. Found the rebels across the creek. Pitched battle and won the day. We lost one killed and 7 wounded.

May 25 (Sun.) –- Very warm and pleasant. 1 died from the effects of his wounds. They were buried today. The whole brigade were out to the funeral. Camp Michigan, in honor of the Michigan 4th.

May 26 (Mon.) –- Rainy. Marched at sunrise three miles. Pitched our tents. Expect to move soon. Camp near Mechanicsville.

May 27 (Tue.) –- Raining very hard. Marched 17 miles and into battle. Had a tough fight. Pitched our tents for the night. On the battleground near Hanover Court House.

May 28 (Wed.) — Pleasant but warm Expect to move soon. Our captain went out on a scout and captured a secesh flag.

May 29 (Thur.) –- Marched back to camp today. Quite pleasant but had a tough time getting back.

May 30 (Fri.) — Pleasant and very hot. Heavy thunder shower. Lightning struck in camp and killed one man and wounded 5.

May 31 (Sat.) — Pleasant and cool. Fighting hard near us. Expect to be called on soon. Inspection of arms.

June 1 (Sun.) — Warm and sultry. Struck tents and marched to Mechanicsville. On reserve. Hard fighting near us. River so high [we] cannot cross. Marched back to camp [and] pitched our tents.

June 2 (Mon.) – Very warm. Regt. on picket near Mechanicsville. Quiet along the lines today. Received a letter from Mary.

June 3 (Tue.) – Warm is no name for it. Rained hard last night. Relieved from picket. Hard skirmishing along the lines. Ordered to be ready to march at a moments notice. Mailed a letter to Mary.

June 4 (Wed.) — Cool and raining hard all day. Quite dull in camp. Not much firing along the lines. Paymaster in camp. Bully for him.

June 5 (Thur.) -– Cloudy and rainy. Received my pay of $52. Real lively times in camp. Corporal of the guard. Very quiet along the lines. Countersign Belgrade.

June 6 (Fri.) — Pleasant. Relieved from guard. Sent $40 to father by express in care of Lieut. Hall. Sent $5 to Mary Briant. $40 William Bryant, Livonia Station, N.Y. $5, Ann Arbor.

June 7 (Sat.) — Quite warm. Considerable firing along the lines today. Mailed a letter to father, Lakeville N.Y.

June 8 (Sun.) –- Cool. Our regt. on picket. Not much of any firing. At New Bridge with two batteries.

June 9 (Mon.) -– Warm. Relieved from picket. Morell’s Division reviewed by General Freeman, a Spanish general, and his staff. Received my receipt for the $40.

June 10 (Tue.) -– Raining. Sick. Don’t feel well. Not doing duty. Bought me some stamped envelopes.

June 11 (Wed.) -– Cool winds and pleasant. Company drills and inspection of arms. Quiet along the lines.

June 12 (Thur.) -– Very warm. Company drills and inspection of arms.

June 13 (Fri.) — Warm. Regt. on picket. Very quiet along the lines. Company drill.

June 14 (Sat.) — Warm. Enjoying ourselves first rate. Came into camp for provisions and mail.

June 15 (Sun.) — Very warm. Relieved from picket about noon. Hit coming into camp [by] a heavy shower. Cleared off. Quite cool.

June 16 (Mon.) -– Very cool and pleasant. Quiet along the lines.

June 17 (Tue.) –- Pleasant. Regt. on fatigue duty on the Chickahominy. Did not work very hard. Union gunboats shelling the rebel Fort Darling. Very steady firing.

June 18 (Wed.) — Quite warm. Battalion drill in the morning. Dress parade at night. Considerable firing along the lines. Pleasant shower.

June 19 (Thur.) –- Very cool and pleasant. Corporal [of] the guard today. Confiscated lemonade and sugars. Countersign Madrid. Considerable firing along the lines.

June 20 ( Fri.) — Very warm. Relieved from guard. Received a letter from Mary. Firing along the lines. General Martindale and men moved one mile away, out of way of the rebel shells. Brigade drill.

June 21 (Sat.) — Very warm and sultry. General Butterfield and men moved away on account of the rebel’s shells coming in their camp. Brigade drill. Mailed a letter to father and Mary.

June 22 (Sun.) — Warm. Regt. on picket. No firing allowed on either side except only at officers. Our outside post only 15 rods from the rebels. Talked with them and exchanged papers.

June 23 (Mon.) –- Not quite so warm. Relieved from picket. Pleasant shower. Considerable firing along the lines. Inspection of arms.

June 24 (Tue.) –- Warm. Short morning drill and inspection of arms. Quiet along the Chickahominy. Mailed a paper to father C.S.

June 25 (Wed.) — Quite warm. Morning drill at skirmishing. Brigade drill. Not out. Marked my pants and blouse.

June 26 (Thur.) –- Warm. Went into battle at 6 a.m. [in] area [near] Mechanicsville. Had a sharp fight. Cleaned them out. Quite a number killed and wounded. Slept on our arms.

June 27 (Fri.) — Very warm. On the retreat at daylight. Very hard fighting all day. Taken prisoner by the 7th Virginia Regiment. Taken to old church and kept overnight. 130 of us. Fresh beef and hard crackers for supper.

June 28 (Sat.) –- Very warm. Eighty three more came in. Started for Richmond at noon. Used first rate so far. Better than I expected. Nothing to eat today. About 500 in an old tobacco house.

June 29 (Sun.) -– Cloudy. Feel very lonesome. The rebels came in with more prisoners and two stands of colors. General Burnside and staff captured. Fresh bread and beef soup today.

June 30 (Mon.) –- Very warm. Rebel citizens carrying their wounded by in large numbers. Bread and fresh beef for breakfast. Mighty fresh too. Beef soup and bread for supper. Half ration.

July 1 (Tue.) — Warm and sultry. Beef soup and bread for breakfast. Beef soup and bread for supper. Dear Mary, O how very lonesome I am. I hope McClellan will soon be here. 300 more come in.

July 2 (Wed.) -– Raining hard. Feel very very lonesome today. I didn’t get grub till after noon. Half loaf [of] bread and beef soup today. Hope McClellan will be here soon.

July 3 (Thur.) — Quite cool. ½ loaf bread per day. Soup twice. Rebels carrying their wounded by all day. Oh dear, I’m very lonesome. Tomorrow is the 4th and I wish I was home. 300 paroled.

July 4 (Fri.) — Very pleasant and warm. Wounded going by in large numbers. Beef soup and bread, the same as usual. Wish I was where I was 1 year ago today — that is Washington.

July 5 (Sat.) — Very warm in this old tobacco house. I wish I was out of it. Don’t feel well. Bread and beef for breakfast at noon, rather late breakfast. Little soup for supper, no bread. Rebels taking their wounded by.

July 6 (Sun.) –- Awful warm. Nothing to eat till noon. A little beef and soup. A little soup at sundown. I feel very hungry and faint. Washed my shirt. Took $1/2 worth of soap. Why don’t McClellan come? 970 in this building and a good many sick.

July 7 (Mon.) — Very very hot. Men suffering for there’s no lot of food. They give us nothing but a small piece of bread today. We are at work cleaning this out for a hospital. Expect to go somewhere______________ today.

July 8 (Tue.) — Warm as ever. Bread and soup twice. There is cussing, fighting, and singing all at a time. I would most anything if I was out of here. There is men here that will steal the cents off a dead mans eyes.

July 9 (Wed.) –- Quite cool breeze. A little bread and soup as meal. Made me a wooden spoon. Charge very dear for everything. Sent word to Mary that I was here by Delbridge.

July 10 (Thur.) — Warm. Raining a very little. Soup and bread. Nothing but soup and bread all [of] the time. I hope it will be played out soon.

July 11 (Fri.) — Raining a little. We don’t fail to get a little warm soup and bread. Lonesome in here. Expect to go somewhere soon, but don’t know.

July 12 (Sat.) — Cool. Soup and bread as usual. Thirty more prisoners come in. 21 wounded and taken to the hospital. Expect to leave here after long. 2 heavy siege guns passed by to cross the river I think.

July 13 (Sun.) –- Pleasant. Soup and bread again. The lice carry one out — one or two every day. I expect every day when the damm things will carry me out.

July 14 (Mon.) — Pleasant. Soup and bread as usual. Commenced making me a fish line out of rope. Very tired. Rations once today.

July 15 (Tue.) –- Very hot. 2000 taken 3 miles to an island. Good many fell out going. 2600 here ahead of us with tents. The blue sky is our cover with nothing to eat. Raining hard. Feel very lonesome, Belle Island.


Sneden’s sketch of Belle Island Prison Camp in Richmond, Va.

July 16 (Wed.) –- Tremendous heat. ¼ rations today. Heavy thunderstorm and rain towards night. 500 wounded and sick came up at dark. Out in the rain all night. Rained very hard. Quite a number of our regt. here. Hard times.

July 17 (Thur.) — Very warm. Hard sight on the island this morning. Drawed good rations of beef and beans. Feel first rate today. Heavy shower.

July 18 (Fri.) — Cloudy and cool. Plenty rations. Citizens arrived, buying up gold from the boys — paying $1 ½ in script for one in gold. Good many sick on the island.

July 19 (Sat.) — Pleasant. Rations about run out. Some prisoners being paroled today. Don’t feel first rate today. Man here changing money. I think we will be exchanged soon.

July 20 (Sun.) –- Some cloudy. Very sick last night. Rebels sent up pickets last night. Our rations as usual.

July 21 (Mon.) — Warm. Nothing but bread to eat. No salt at that. Rebels celebrating Bull’s Run by throwing up rockets. They think they are having a fine time. Let them have their fun. Too short.

July 22 (Tue.) — Cloudy and cool. Cooks selling our rations. Nothing but beef and bread. Richmond Enquirer states that there is to be an exchange of prisoners the same as 1812. Any way to get out of this.

July 23 (Wed.) –- Cool and little rain. Men counted off and names taken down. For what I don’t know. A large train of men came in last night. I think reinforcements.

July 24 (Thur.) — Cloudy and quite cool. Rebels taking the names of the sick and wounded for parole. I wish they would do us all so soon, but they are obstinate. May be the time will soon come.

July 25 (Fri.) — Very warm indeed. Rations once today. They are taking the sickly and wounded over to the city. I think to be paroled.

July 26 (Sat.) — Hot and heavy winds and a little rain. Wounded and sick still leaving the island. Nothing but soup and bread today. Bread spoiling and we get one loaf.

July 27 (Sun.) – Very warm. Meat and bread today. I believe there has been none left the island today. General Winder, military governor of Richmond, on the island.

July 28 (Mon.) — Warm as ever. Small rations of soup and bread. No selling around the camp permitted. Very hungry. Hope I will be out of here soon.

July 29 (Tue.) — Part of the day warm. Beef, bread and soup. Bought some bread and sugar. Not so hungry tonight. Doctor here looking at the sick and wounded.

July 30 (Wed.) –- Very warm indeed. Rations as usual. Bread and meat. Boys having a fine time singing Union songs. Quite a pleasant thunder shower. Stripped and had a great wash.

July 31 (Thur.) — Pleasant after the shower. Raining all day. Taking the sick and wounded off from the island. I hope our turn will come soon. Half ration beef and bread.

Aug. 1 (Fri.) — Very hot indeed. All that well taken out of camp. Sick taken off. Heavy cannonading heard last night in the direction of Fort Darling. Whiskers trimmed and hair cut.

Aug. 2 (Sat.) — Quite pleasant. Union citizens and teamsters paroled. Heavy firing in the direction of Drury’s Bluff. I expect to see Burnside here with his fleet before long. Beef and bread once.

Aug. 3 (Sun.) –- Very warm. Parolling sick and wounded. It will come our way soon. Firing heard in the distance. Soup and bread. Had a short pleasant shower.

Aug. 4 (Mon.) –- Cool and pleasant. 220 sent over to the island. Got some diarrhea medicine. Bread and meat. Great excitement in the camp. Expect to leave in the morning. Up all night. ____.

Aug. 5 (Tue.) -– Cool and pleasant. In the morning on the march at 9. Very hot. Marched 20 miles to the transport below Drury’s Bluff and just alive. All I eat was one hard biscuit. Arrived at the landing at sundown. Rested twice.

Aug. 6 (Wed.) –- Very warm. Took the boat at 8 and cast anchor at noon. At McClellan’s headquarters, Harrison’s Landing. Have plenty to eat but don’t enjoy it. Not feeling well. ______________ to myself. On the ground all night with no tents.

Aug. 7 (Thur.) — Hot. Very lame. Can hardly get about. No appetite. Feel very lonesome indeed. Wrote a few lines to Mary, Ann Arbor.

Aug. 8 (Fri.) — Very warm. Feel very bad. Mailed two letters to Mary and to father. I have no appetite to eat. Went to the doctors for medicine.

Aug. 9 (Sat.) — Warmer than ever. Can hardly get about. Lame all over. Don’t think I will be fit for duty for a long time. Expect to be reported for duty in a few days.

Aug. 10 (Sun.) -– Hot is no name for it. Went to the doctor and got some medicine. Prisoners got their pay. Morrell’s Division packed knapsacks and put them aboard the boat.

Aug. 11 (Mon.) — Very warm indeed. Went to the doctor. Gave him my name. Got to go with the sick. Marched to General Hospital. Laid all night on the floor outside the tents.

Aug. 12 (Tue.) — Hot. I am here yet waiting for the transport. Gunboats shelling the rebels across the river. Legs pain me very much.

Aug. 13 (Wed.) –- Quite cool and pleasant. Expect to take the boat soon. Received my descriptive list. Took a tug and boarded the Mountain Steamer Montreal. Started at 10 p.m.

Aug. 14 (Thur.) –- Very pleasant. On our way to the fortress. Arrived at 8 p.m. Cast anchor and waiting for orders. Loaded 240 on the Mississippi. Started them for N.Y. We anchor for the night.

Aug. 15 (Fri.) –- Raining a little. Left the Montreal. Took a tug for the shore. Took the horse cars for Mill Creek Hospital. I am very lame. Shoved into some tents on the ground. Took 4 pills.

Aug. 16 (Sat.) –- Very windy. Hardly able to be around. Hard headache. In the tents yet. Doctor came around but done nothing for us.

Aug. 17 (Sun.) -– Cool and windy. Feel very bad indeed. Had my hair cut and had a good shave. About 1,000 of us here in tents. Half sick. Begged a cup of tea off the cooks. My head feels bad.

Aug. 18 (Mon.) –- Quite cold. Feel very bad. Doctors have examined me. Think my lungs is affected. Have hard cough. Got some liniment for rheumatism. Had my blouse washed.

Aug. 19 (Tue.) –- Very warm. Feel very bad indeed. Doctors examined the men. Them that are able put on guard around the camp to keep the men inside.

Aug. 20 (Wed.) –- Quite pleasant. Very lonesome today. Wish I was at home. Rear guard of McClellan’s army fighting at Williamsburg. Doctors is quite thick here.

Aug. 21 (Thur.) -– Pleasant. Feel quite well. Got a pass from the Provost Marshall and went to the fort. Bought me some new clothing and a watch. Doctor took my name.

Aug. 22 (Fri.) -– Cool and pleasant. Very lonesome. Wish I was at home, out of this cruel war. I hope it will come to a speedy close. My back and my legs are very lame.

Aug. 23 (Sat.) –- Cool and very pleasant. Took a stroll out in the country. Got chased by cavalry. Eluded them. Accomplished my objective and returned to camp very tired.

Aug. 24 (Sun.) -– Rained last night. Very windy this morning. Back very lame. Had a good cup of milk and shortcakes. Done me much good.

Aug. 25 (Mon.) -– Very cold hard wind. Took a tramp out in the country. Had a good time roasting corn back at camp. Very tired.

Aug. 26 (Tue.) –- Very warm. Got a commission and went to the fort. Went all over inside and out. Had a good deal of fun and came back to camp. Very tired indeed.

Aug. 27 (Wed.) –- Warm. Feel quite well today. Had a good mass of fish for breakfast.

Aug. 28 (Thur.) -– Cloudy and cool. Feel very bad. My back is very lame. The doctor came around and left me some medication. I think it will help it.

Aug. 29 (Fri.) -– Very hot. Took a walk out in the country toward Newport News. Had a good time. Returned to camp at night.

Aug. 30 (Sat.) –- Cool and windy. Doctor [came] around [and] examined the sick. Took our names and disease. Took a walk up to Hampton. Feel very tired. Mailed a letter to father, N.Y.

Aug. 31 (Sun.) –- Very windy and rainy. Went to a nigger funeral. Wandered around. Very lonesome indeed. Took some medicine for the diarrhea.

Sept. 1 (Mon.) –- Very stormy through the day and night. Went down to the fort and drawed me some pants, shoes and socks. My back is still lame.

Sept. 2 (Tue.) -– Windy and cool. Took a stroll out in the country and had some peaches and apples and roast pig. Returned to camp quite tired out.

Sept. 3 (Wed.) –- Cool. Went up to Hampton. Got some apples and made some sauce and a good dish it made too!

Sept. 4 (Thur.) –- Very warm. Took a stroll up to Hampton and purchased a Jack knife. Came back very tired.

Sept. 5 (Fri.) –- Sun, at times very hot. Stayed in the tent all day. Don’t feel like myself at all.

Sept. 6 (Sat.) -– Very warm. Discharged from the hospital to go to the regt. Arrived [by] the boat. Went into the fort for quarters.

Sept. 7 (Sun.) –- Pleasant. Went aboard the boat at noon. Didn’t leave the wharf till 10 at night. On an old propeller.

Sept. 8 (Mon.) –- Sun rose very pleasant on the waters this morning. Daylight we are at the mouth of the Potomac. Noon opposite Piney Point. Cast anchor at ½ past 2, 20 miles above Aquia Creek.

Sept. 9 (Tue.) –- Nice cool breeze. Weighed anchor at 5. On our way to Washington. Very pleasant. Passed Fort Washington at ½ past 6. Arrived in Alexandria at ¼ past 7. In camp near Fort Ellsworth.

Sept. 10 (Wed.) –- Rainy and warm. Went downtown and bought me a shirt. Feel lonesome and bad. Think I will go to my regt. tomorrow.

Sept. 11 (Thur.) -– Warm and raining. Took a walk down to the new regt. I feel very lame.

Sept. 12 (Fri.) –- Pleasant. Went to the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th regts. They are badly cut up. This is a rough place on this camp. Bad tents.

Sept. 13 (Sat.) –- Cool and pleasant this morning. Took a walk downtown and saw Mrs. Emory Bryant on Patrick St. near Brenghton’s.

Sept. 14 (Sun.) –- Very warm. In camp all day. Very lonesome. Heavy cannonading heard in the direction of Harper’s Ferry.

Sept. 15 (Mon.) –- Pleasant. Went to town and stayed all day. Took tea with Mrs. Bryant. Had a good time and returned to camp all right.

Sept. 16 (Tue.) –- Stormy. Went to town. Got taken by the patrol and got away from them. Went to Mrs. Bryant’s and took tea and returned to camp all right.

Sept. 17 (Wed.) -– Pleasant. Stayed in camp all day. Very lonesome. Had tomato soup for supper.

Sept. 18 (Thur.) -– Very warm. In camp all day. Recruits pouring in from all directions.

Sept. 19 (Fri.) –- Quite warm in camp all day. Very lonesome. Nothing of importance transpired.

Sept. 20 (Sat.) –- Rainy and gloomy. Went down to the Potomac at night and fishing had very good luck. Got one eel and some other fish. Came back very tired.

Sept. 21 (Sun.) –- Very warm in camp all day. Had a good mess of fish for breakfast this morning.

Sept. 22 (Mon.) -– Very warm. Took a tramp out in the country. Got my dinner. Bought some cabbage. Returned to camp.

Sept. 23 (Tue.) -– Warm. Stayed in camp all day. Very lonesome. Borrowed some paper. Mailed a letter to Mary, Lakesville, N.Y.

Sept. 24 (Wed.) –- Cool and rainy. Took a walk downtown. Had a very good time. Had the pleasure of seeing a schooner run through a government hay barn clean to the bow.

Sept. 25 (Thur.) –- Very cold. Went to town [and] saw Bryant and wife. Came back to camp sick.

Sept. 26 (Fri.) –- Very cold indeed this morning. Stayed in camp all day. Feel very bad. Have a hard cold.

Sept. 27 (Sat.) –- Very warm. Took a walk to the First Mich Cavalry. Came back to camp very tired. Got a hard cold.

Sept. 28 (Sun.) -– Warm. My cold is very bad. In bed most all day. Went down in the fields and milked a cow. Made out a bully supper.

Sept. 29 (Mon.) -– Pleasant but warm. Feel bad. Head aches. In camp all day.

Sept. 30 (Tue.) -– Pleasant. Sick and lonesome. __________.

Oct. 1 (Wed.) –- Pleasant. Feel better today. [I] went a fishing. Some were very nice.

Oct. 2 (Thur.) –- Cloudy and misty. Feel very bad again today.

Oct. 3 (Fri.) –- Pleasant. Stayed in camp all day.

Oct. 4 (Sat.) – Cold winds. Very lonesome. My cold is getting worse.

Oct. 5 (Sun.) –- Pleasant but cold. Feel some better today. Drawed a pair of socks and a pair of shirts.

Oct. 6 (Mon.) –- Quite warm today. Dull in camp.

Oct. 7 (Tue.) –- Warm. Received a letter from father and Mary.

Oct. 8 (Wed.) -– Very warm. Don’t feel well today.

Oct. 9 (Thur.) -– Cold. Nothing transpired worthy of note.

Oct. 10 (Fri.) –- Windy. Feel bad today.

Oct. 11 (Sat.) -– Very cold and rainy. Took a walk to the river.

Oct. 12 (Sun.) –- Rained hard last night. Very cold and windy today. Took a walk and heard that Southwell was in town.

Oct. 13 (Mon.) –- Warm. Went to town to see Southwell. He had gone home. Saw Connell and Harris.

Oct. 14 (Tue.) -– Pleasant but cold. Taken very sick. Called the doctor. He gave me some whiskey.

Oct. 15 (Wed.) -– Feel some better today. Cool and nice.

Oct. 16 (Thur.) –- Quite cold. Feel like myself today. Boys got a pass and went to Washington.

Oct. 17 (Fri.) –- Pleasant. Rained some last night. Feel quite well today.

Oct. 18 (Sat.) –- Very pleasant. Took a pass. Went to the city to see Southwell. He was gone away.

Oct. 19 (Sun.) –- Warm and pleasant. Took a walk out in the country and got some chestnuts. Came to camp very tired.

Oct. 20 (Mon.) -– Quite cool. Went to town.

Oct. 21 (Tue.) — Pleasant but cold. Nothing of importance going on.

Oct. 22 (Wed.) –- Pleasant. Very dull in camp.

Oct. 23 (Thur.) –- Very pleasant but cold nights.

Oct. 24 (Fri.) -– Very cold last night. Nothing going on worthy of note.

Oct. 25 (Sat.) -– Very warm. Took a pass and went to town. Left my watch to be fixed. Had a shave.

Oct. 26 (Sun.) -– Rainy. Stayed in tent all day. Boys got home tonight.

Oct. 27 (Mon.) -– Very cold and rains hard. Water six inches deep in my tent. Went to town and got my breakfast.

Oct. 28 (Tue.) -– More pleasant today. Started for Washington. Got on the boat but didn’t go. Came back to camp.

Oct. 29 (Wed.) –- Very pleasant. Took my tent down to air the ground.

Oct. 30 (Thur.) -– Pleasant. Nothing going on in camp.

Oct. 31 (Fri.) – Pleasant. That’s all. Don’t feel well.

Nov. 1 (Sat.) –- Pleasant but cool. Had general inspection. Sent a few to the other camp. Mailed a letter to Mary, Ann Arbor.

Nov. 2 (Sun.) -– Quite pleasant. Inspection of tents by officers. Don’t feel very well today.

Nov. 3 (Mon.) -– Pleasant. Went to town and got my watch. Paid $2 to get it fixed.

Nov. 4 (Tue.) -– Pleasant. Went to town. Called _______ Mrs. Bryant to see her and Mr. E.

Nov. 5 (Wed.) -– Pleasant. Stayed in camp all day.

Nov. 6 (Thur.) -– Windy and cold. Mrs. Bryant came up. Got me in to be examined. Doctor thinks I look to well to be discharged.

Nov. 7 (Fri.) –- Very cold. Snowing all day. Didn’t leave my tent till dark. Took my blanket, went to a niggers shanty, [and] stayed all night.

Nov. 8 (Sat.) –- Sun shines. Snow all going off. Feel very miserable today.

Nov. 9 (Sun.) –- Cold and windy. Stayed in camp all day. Feel miserable.

Nov. 10 (Mon.) -– Cold winds. Feel very bad. Nothing going on.

Nov. 11 (Tue.) -– Pleasant but cold.

Nov. 12 (Wed.) -– Quite Pleasant. Looks like Spring.

Nov. 13. (Thur.) -– Pleasant. Sick today.

Nov. 14 (Fri.) -– Not very pleasant today. Got a pass, went to town, [and] saw Southwell.

Nov. 15 (Sat.) –- Cold winds. Feel bad. In camp most all day.

Nov. 16 (Sun.) –- Very cold and windy in the morning. Seems like winter. Went to town and saw Southwell and got some tobacco.

Nov. 17 (Mon.) –- Foggy and rainy. Went into the doctor’s and was examined for discharge. Lucky. Got my papers started. Received a letter from Mary.

Nov. 18 (Tue.) –- Looks like Spring. Wrote two letters. Mailed one to Mary, one to father.

Nov. 19 (Wed.) –- Muggy weather. Very lonesome indeed.

Nov. 20 (Thur.) –- Raining all day. Took a pass [and] went to town. Sold my watch to Vanhorn. Wrote a letter Hank Southwell.

Nov. 21 (Fri.) -– Rainy and cold. Went to the niggers [and] stayed. Got the piles bad.

Nov. 22 (Sat.) – Rather more pleasant. Went to the niggers last night and stayed. Feel very bad today. Went to the doctors [and] got some clover powder.

Nov. 23 (Sun.) –- Very cold and unpleasant. Staying at the niggers now altogether. Piles very bad. Didn’t leave the shanty today.

Nov. 24 (Mon.) –- Pleasant but cold. Feel some better today. Didn’t move around much.

Nov. 25 (Tue.) –- Clear and very cold. Do not feel very well today.

Nov. 26 (Wed.) — Rainy. Very sick last night and all day today. Didn’t go out of the house.

Nov. 27 (Thur.) -– Pleasant and cold. Feel some better today. Anxiously waiting for my discharge papers.

Nov. 28 (Fri.) –- Very pleasant but quite cold. Don’t feel well today. Heavy pain in my stomach.

Nov. 29 (Sat.) -– Disagreeable weather. Ain’t got my papers yet.

Nov. 30 (Sun.) –- Very pleasant this morning. Got my papers. Went to Washington this day. Stayed overnight.

Dec. 1 (Mon.) –- Rainy and unpleasant. Went to the paymasters office. Stayed till dark before I could get my pay. Stayed overnight.

Dec. 2 (Tue.) –- Very pleasant. Got my breakfast at the market. Took the street car [and] went to the wharf. Took the boat to Alexandria. Stayed the night.

Dec. 3 (Wed.) –- Cloudy and cold. Took the boat for Washington. Took the street cars to the depot. Took the cars at 5 p.m. In Baltimore at ½ past 6. Arrived in Philadelphia at twelve. Moon shining bright.

Dec. 4 (Thur.) -– Pleasant. Arrived in New York at six o’clock a.m. Went to the relief [and] got my breakfast and dinner. Missed the train for Rochester.