Charles McElroy, my maternal grandmother's maternal grandfather, was born in Hamburg, Sussex County, New Jersey, on 9 April 1837 (1). He married Harriet Electa Wadsworth of Hopewell Center, Ontario County, New York, on 5 November 1862 (2).
Charles enlisted in the Civil War on 18 August 1862 in Dix, New York and was mustered in as a Private in Company B, Regiment 161, on 9 September of that year (3). They were stationed near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was appointed Corporal on 28 March 1863 (4). Charles served a total of 38 months and was discharged at Fort Jefferson, Florida, on 20 September 1865 (4).
Click on a category to the right to read the diary pages for that month.
(1) "New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 May 2015), Post 253, no. 23, Chas. McElroy.
(2) Marriage certificate, Charles McElroy and H. E. Wadsworth, 5 Nov 1862, author's personal files.
(3) "New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931," Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 May 2015), Chas. McElroy.
(4) "New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 May 2015), Charles McElroy.
The 1865 Diary
Charles McElroy kept a daily diary of his life during the war for the the year 1865. This was passed down from my great-great-aunt Estelle McElroy (Charles' youngest daughter) to my mother to me. In following posts, my third cousin Sharon McElroy Weiss (descended from Charles' youngest son Harold) and I will be transcribing his writings so you can follow along.
To get us started, some photos and scans I took of the front of the diary are pictured below. Then you can read the diary, month by month, by using the Categories navigation in the upper right.
Lieut. Hanes was in Ca? and at Fort Pickens, Fla at the breakout of the War.
May 28, 1865 - Fort Pickens is prepared to mount 450 guns.
Fort Barrancas is about one mile from Fort Pickens. Fort McGree about one mile from the other two.
Fort Pickens May 31st - 15 inch gun weighs 51,250 lbs.
June 1st at sea - Our fleet bound for Appalachicola is composed of 6 boats: flag ship, Peabody, Nathan, P. Banks, Tampico, Zephyr, Chorak [?} and one gunboat.
Brevet Brigadier Samuel Dale, 1812
Figuring and name-signing
To work on Apenwalls house. Weather very warm until 1pm then cold until dusk.
The weather clear and warm excepting some smoke.
Smoky and warm. Fannie, Hattie & me went over to Father’s.
Today I have been building pigpen for A. O. [Adrian Onderdonk].
December 5 -27
No entries and missing pages.
We all hands attended Fannie’s wedding [to Cornelius Snedeker] this evening. She was splendid at 8 o’clock.
Cornelius & Fannie came home today & stayed all night with us.
Isaac & Annie came home today and stayed all night. [Adelia Anne ‘Annie’ McElroy was a younger sister of Charles; she was married to Isaac Haines]. C[ornelius & F[annie] Snedeker went home today.
Father took Isaac and Annie to Nyack today.
James & me dug a cistern for Mother today.
This am James went to town and got lime, and I stayed home and this pm mother & Harriet & me went to Martins and to Catons.
Today I commenced stoning up the cistern & tonight I went to Chapinville/
I have been to Chapinville and went over and saw Geo[rge] Henry.
This is a stormy day. It snows ? and is quite cold.
Today James & me finished the cistern wall. It is a very cold day & tonight the snow fell so as to cover the ground.
I went up to Hopewell Center this morning and voted and then came back to mother Wadsworth’s and Hattie & me went to town & started for home.
After a pleasant journey we arrived to Suffern [a village in the town of Ramapo] at am. At 4pm took the freight train arrived home dusk.
I have spent the day in visiting with father.
Father went to Nyack with Aunt Sarah & George made us a visit today.
Father & Mother went over the river today. I sent a letter to Thomson R. Smith. Fannie came home tonight [Frances ‘Fannie’ McElroy was one of Charles’ sisters.]
Harriet R. came home today from Nyack. J. Matthews, Henry, James & myself went and took a ride [Harriet R., Henry & James B.are younger siblings of Charles. J. Matthews was John Matthews who was married to Mary McElroy, another sister of Charles.]
Today I have been building a cistern for mother. Father and Mother came home tonight.
Father & me went and got a load of chips this evening. Hattie & me went to Adrian’s [Adrian Onderdonk, husband of Charles’ sister Elizabeth.]
November 15 – 17
I have spent this week with Adrian.
Today Adrian & Elizabeth, Hattie & me went home.
Today Madison (?) & me went to work on Aspenwall’s house/home.
Today I am shelling beans. It rains. Hattie Lil and Frank went to Aunt Mary’s this afternoon. I went & took ?
November 22 – 24
Today I have carted old iron to the dock. Bought an axe at Smith’s store.
November 26 – 30
We got permission from the Port Quartermaster to leave this morning. hoisted anchor, and [were] halted again by sauerkraut and remained here until half past ten o’clock.
The weather is very mild with a nice breeze this morning which got full sail hoisted and are moving along finely. We paused Charleston [South Carolina] harbor last evening.
Posted Cape Hatteras [North Carolina]. The wind began to blow about 8 o’clock this morn when the engine gave out and detained us 4 hours. 5 P.M. the sea is rough and ship a bouncing.
The sea calmed down at midnight. But the wind raised again at sunrise and blew a gale all day. The weather is very cold.
I was detailed to get coal out the hole at 2 o’clock this morn. At 4 the engine broke down again and we drifted 2 hours in a storm and got her repaired and run in Luiston harbor and anchored.
We started out from Luiston Harbor at 6 o’clock this morning and anchored at Sandy Hook [New Jersey] at eleven o’clock tonight.
We hoisted anchor at daybreak this morning and run in and lay at the wharf in NY City until noon. And then went across to the N.Y. & E. R. R. and started for Elmira (New York) at 5pm.
[The New York and Erie Railroad originally connected New York City with Lake Erie; its mainline route proved influential in the development and economic growth of many cities including Elmira, NY.
We arrived in Elmira at o’clock this morning and marched up to Barracks No. 3 and went in quarters to wait our final discharge.
This morning Peter [Wilkes] & me took the seven o’clock train & came to Watkins to breakfast at John Wilkes and dinner too and tea at James'.
Peter & me stayed to James & took breakfast with him & took dinner to Oskers and spent the day with him.
We took the 9 o’clock train this and came to Elmira and went up to the Barracks.
Our Regiment formed line at 9 this morning. Marched downtown & back again & then took a dinner prepared for us by the ladies of Elmira.
Peter & me have been downtown all day at the Hotel. Newell & several of the boys went to Watkins tonight.
This is a very ? at Clarics yet expecting to get paid up to ?
Charlie Newell & [Bartlett] Beals went home last night & Parks & Bauter & me remained in Elmira.
[Marcus Bauter, age 26, enlisted August 1862, to serve three years, mustered out with company, September 186,, at Ft. Jefferson, FL.
Joseph G. Parks, age 21, enlisted September 1864, to serve one year, mustered out with company, September 20, 1865, at Fort Jefferson, FL.
At 3 o’clock today received my final discharge then settled up my accounts in the company. I went downtown & purchased a suit of clothes.
I took the cars at 7pm for Canandaigua. Left Peter at the depot in Elmira. Arrived in town about noon & from there went to Chapinville and from there to Uncle Gates where I found Harriet.
This morning finds me with my wife enjoying myself as I never have before. I have become acquainted with Uncle Gates family and find them very pleasant people.
Hattie is busy quilting and getting along finely with my assistance.
This is a rainy day but we are hard at work on the quilt. We finish it up at 8pm.
After taking a hearty breakfast I took a pleasant walk in the woods accompanied by myself & towards night Hattie & me went to Mother Wadsworth’s [Harriet’s mother].
After breakfast was over Hattie & me spent the forenoon in looking over some of my old letters together with some others.
This morning James Wadsworth [one of Harriet’s brothers] & me went gunning & while gone Uncle and Aunt Depue came to see us.
This morning we went to Uncle William Depue’s, took dinner & tea with them. Had Chaplain for tea. We called on Billie this evening.
Uncle William, Hattie & myself went to town today. I purchased an overcoat & Hattie purchased some goods for housekeeping [and] also a new dress.
This forenoon Uncle & me husked 24 bushels of corn. After dinner Hattie & me went to town and did not return until after dark.
Harriet has Sarah Bayerly [?] helping her sew. It is a rainy day and a very lonesome one for me.
This morning I went to Chapinville & got letter from father. Returned to Uncle William and then Hattie & me spent the eve (with) Billie.
Hattie & me went to the M. E. [Methodist Episcopal] church this a.m. & then went & spent the afternoon and evening with Billie Wood and ?.
Today I hauled wood for Furman.
Today Hattie & Uncle went to town and came back by Mother Wadsworth’s and I went to Chapinville and dickered with Mr. Martin.
I went out in a boat, found one conch, caught some fish, picked up 8 mickimocks
I am on guard today, 2nd relief. Have 9 men in daytime & 14 at night.
I was relieved this morning at guard mount. Came in quarters & shaved 6 men. 2 prisoners went out in a boat yesterday by permission of Capt. Prentice & have not returned yet this morning.
In my quarters today, bathing and repairing my clothes. The weather is rainy and very windy.
The Steamer Convoy arrived here today with a large mail. I received 4 letters one from Father & 3 from wife and 6 papers. Answered wife’s letter.
I went over to Hay Island and gathered some small shells. After dark I wrote a letter to father.
[For more info about the Dry Tortugas area that includes names of the keys, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas]
The Schooner Nonpareil arrive here today with some mail. I received a letter from wife dated August 24 & mailed Aug 28th.
While second relief was on post this morning officer I caught T. R. Smith & H. Smith and Dickinson sitting. Put them in guard house and tied Dickinson to a tree.
[Harmon Smith, age 35, enlisted August 1862 to serve three years, mustered out with company September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
Thompson R. Smith, age 28, enlisted to serve three years and mustered in January 1864, mustered out with company November 1865 in Tallahassee, FL.
Jesse Dickinson, age 44, enlisted in 1864 at Baldwin NY to serve one year; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
It commenced raining about midnight with strong wind. Has resulted in a severe storm.
It is raining very fast & the wind blows outrageously. I wrote wife a letter & mailed it.
The weather continues stormy. I am in my quarters. Have slept nearly all day
About 4 o'clock this morning, the Steamer McMuler & the New Jersey came in. With ??? & some colored transfer to relieve. Used this post.
Our regiment doesn't furnish any quarrels today. The 82nd U.S. ??? takes command of the Fort today.
Our men arrived from Reg West today.aboard the McC??. The 3 year recruits are expected to go to Tallahassee today.
The 161st regiment is idle for once, except the officers - they are making out their final statements.
I got a pass & 11 of us went over to Loggerhead Island. It was so rough that 5 of us stayed all night and the rest of the boys put back to the Fort.
The wind is not so high this morning. We hired 2 men to fetch us over to the fort. Gave $2.50 (about $35.00). Had a nice sail; only Joe got wet.
The Schooner Ringgold arrived here today from N.Y. with gun carriages & ammunition. Chet Welch, Hamlin Parks & me went out in boat on the Bay.
[Gun carriages are frames and mounts that support the gun barrel of an artillery piece allowing it to be maneuvered and fired. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_carriage]
I have been in my quarters all day. Have barbered some & made some trinkets. We expect to muster out [of] the U. S. Service tomorrow.
The Old Soldiers and the one-year men of the Hundred and Sixty First Regiment [were] mustered out of the U. S. Service today by Capt. Robison of the 10th U.S. C.I?
I have purchased an overcoat & washed it today. We are expecting a boat here to take us to N. Y.
There is no boat yet today. There is a great deal of uneasiness here. I have dried my coat today & patched it.
The wind is blowing very hard this morning. The water is rough.
The U.S. Steamer T. A. Scott arrived here this morning laden with Quartermaster stores. Our Regiment worked until 12 o’clock at night unloading her.
We are preparing to get on the boat. 11am, I am detailed for guard. At 2pm the Regiment got on board the Steamer T. A. Scott. At 4pm we left Fort Jefferson for Key West.
We arrived in Key West harbor at o.c. this morning & anchored. At sunrise went in by wharf & spent the day in unloading a 300 pound Parrot gun.
We hoisted some gun carriage out the ship this morning & then went to coal up. Took on 120 tons and started away from Key West at 5:30 pm.
We are sailing about 8 knots an hour; this morning the water is quite rough. Some of the boys [are] casting up accounts [vomiting]. 4 o’clock the sea is very rough.
The wind has blown a gale all night and continues yet this morn. It is so rough we can’t stand on deck. There is a sailing ship one half mile to our windward. 5pm the weather is milder.
The sea is calm today. We arrived in the harbor at Port Royal [South Carolina] about noon and [were] quarantined by a sauerkraut Dutchman. He ordered us to remain in quarantine 30 days.
[“Sauerkraut Dutchman” was a derogatory term for a German person.]
161st Regiment took charge of Fort Jefferson today & the 110 is relieved. I gathered some small sea shells & wrote father a letter.
I have been in my quarters all day a making rings & barbering. There was two prisoners arrived here today from [Fort] Barrancas.
I went down on the post ? for 8 today.
I finished father’s letter today & then Peter & me went & caught a mess of fish for supper. After supper Peter & me went in a bathing [likely swimming in the ocean].
I am on garrison guard today. Have the 2nd relief 10 men.
I was relieved in due time this morning. D. Graham & Harris, Co. G, [were] arrested and put in guardhouse for sleeping on post
[Dugald C. Graham, age 29, enlisted August 1862 at Bath, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. D, September 1862; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
Albert M. Harris, age 22, enlisted September 1862 at Corning, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. G, October 27, 1862; discharged to date September 20, 1865, at Elmira, NY.
In quarters today not doing anything of any account. Shaved John Peacock & Sam Wans.
[John A. Peacock, age 20, enlisted August 1862 at Elmira, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. B, September 1862; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
Samuel Wans, age 35, enlisted at Greenwood to serve 3 years, and mustered in as private, Co. B, January 1864; mustered out with company, November 12, 1865 at Tallahassee, FL. Source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
Peter & me and Denning and a prisoner went out near East Key fishing. The water was so rough we could not stay. Denning got seasick.
I have spent this afternoon in cleaning out our room & washing dishes.
I got up this morning when the gun fired and went & fetched water for our mess.
J. Philip, me and 3 prisoners went out about 4 miles from the fort fishing. We caught about 200 fish.
[Joseph F. Philp, age 18, enlisted August 1862 at Elmira, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. B, September 1862; promoted Corporal, August 13, 1864; returned to ranks, December 1, 1864; again promoted to corporal, July 26, 1865; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
I stayed in my quarters until about 1pm & then [Patrick] Hart, [Charles] Pope, Peter, Philip & me went over to Hog Island & to Bush Key & got some shells.
[Patrick Hart, age 23, enlisted, August 1862 at Reynoldsville, to serve 3 years; mustered in as corporal, Co. G October 27, 1862; returned to ranks, February 20, 1863; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
Charles W. Pope, age 21, enlisted August 1862 at Elmira, to serve 3 years; mustered in as sergeant, Co. B, September 1862; promoted first sergeant, July 26, 1865; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
I am on garrison guard today. Have charge of the 3rd relief
[Garrison: a group of soldiers stationed at a military post; source: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/glossary/glossary.html#D]
? Sherwood & me went fishing got caught in gale of wind.
Steamer arrived here today to take the 110th Regiment to New York. We ordered to be ready for inspection at one o’clock.
I drawed fresh beef this morning & wrote wife a letter. Then we moved in the rooms where the 110th moved out. Peter & me spent the day in cleaning our room.
The weather is not so warm today as common. But the bed bugs are swarming in our quarters. They up by the Regiment on double quick.
The Steamer St. George left here last night for New York with a [Parrott] gun that she brought from NY to this place; could not unload it.
[Parrott gun: a rifled artillery piece with a reinforcing band at the rear, or breech. Parrott guns were used by both the Army and Navy, and ranged from 10-pounders to 300-pounders. They were named after their designer, Robert Parker Parrott; source: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/glossary/glossary.html#D]
I have been in quarters all day practicing on violin. The gunboat Potomac run in here today, fetched one prisoner sentenced here for 5 years for speaking light of the death of Lincoln.
I am on guard today ?
I was relieved this morning at guard ? Stayed in quarters nearly all day.
Deming and me went Fishing in the Break Water and at Wharf.
In camp all day. One ? assigned here from New Orleans with Dispatchers to our Regiment. 160 prisoners is released.
There is nothing going on that is New. Only the Prisoners is at work unloading ? 10 inch Parratt guns from a Schooner.
I am in quarters today. Barbering for company.
I am on guard today on the 3rd relief. A schooner came in from Key West with a small mail for the regiment but none for me.
I was duly relieved this morning and remained in camp all day.
Pendergast & Peter is on duty today. Denning & I went fishing and caught an angelfish.
[James Pendergast, age 29 years, enlisted at Corning to serve 3 years, and mustered in as private, Co. B, January 11, 1864; mustered out with company, November 12, 1865 at Tallahassee, FL; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
We handed our clothing bill today. I have drawn the amount off $55-18 cents ($811.47 in today’s dollars). Pete & me had a wrangle.
I am in camp fixing for muster. We mustered at 5 pm. There was an ocean steamer came here this evening & left 4 prisoners. Went in bathing.
In camp nothing of note has happened
We had inspection this morning. After it was over I wrote a letter to wife and then went up to the Battery. Peter & me went up on the top of building.
I was detailed for picket today and was dismissed did not have to go.
I went to the celebration and heard the Declaration of Independence read and heard Chaplin Jones deliver an oration. At 12m went to the Battery and saw the Bay pier the ? salute.
[William E. Jones, age 35, enrolled at Baton Rouge, LA to serve 3 years, and mustered in as chaplain, April 23, 1863; mustered out with regiment, September 20, 1865, at Fort Jefferson, FL; commissioned chaplain, April 1863, with rank from February 23, 1863; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
Sergeant Pope & me went fishing this morning caught a fine mess. Then I went to work & altered my pants & after that was done I made a qulepitcher [?] ring.
Ordily (?) Ellison & Sergeant J. B. Davidson left the Regiment today on account of sickness. I spent the most of the day in making finger ring. Wrote letter to father.
[John B. Davidson, age 28, enlisted August 1862 at Watkins, to serve 3 years; mustered in as corporal, Co. B, September 1862; promoted sergeant, December 31, 1862; discharged July 26, 1865 at hospital, New Orleans, LA; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
Denning & me got up one o’clock this morning & went fishing. I spent the afternoon in shaving the men in Co. B. 2 ocean steamers anchored in the bay this pm
[Chauncey Denning, age 32, enlisted August 1862 at Hector, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. B, September 1862, mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
I am on guard at post Commissary. The weather is extremely warm. About midnight the watch on the steamer ? found a dead Darkey afloat in the River.
I was relieved this a.m. at 8 o’clock.
Me and Denning went fishing at 2 o’clock this morning caught a fine lot. The weather is very warm. The thermometer stands up to 115 degrees.
I am in camp today. Benjamin Smith & me fixed up a barber chair & shaved 5 or 6 men. Took a short nap. Got my sulfur & then went on parade and then went fishing.
I am on commissary guard today. It rained hard only until eleven o’clock.
The Steamer Clyde arrived here this morning with our mail. I caught a fine lot of fish today sold $1 ($14.71 today) worth. Our Regiment had inspection this pm in heavy marching [ordered] by Capt. Prentice.
[William R. Prentice, age 24, enrolled August 1862 at Jasper, to serve 3 years; mustered in as sergeant, Co. H, September 1862; as first lieutenant, March 1, 1863; as captain, September 16, 1863; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
I went fishing again today sold 70 cents ($10.29 today) worth and lost Denning’s line. Co. F & a detail from each company in the Regiment went up the river this evening to be gone 30 days.
I went fishing again early this morning. Sold 60 cents ($8.82 today) worth. Came in quarters at 7 am & went barbering. Made 50 cents ($7.35 today)
In camp today fixing fishing tickle. And using the best means I can to kill time. We had Sunday morning inspection at 8am.
Denning & me went fishing again today did not have much luck.
The orders for drill [were] renewed again today we have to drill 3 hours today. I am pestered with sore hand so I can’t drill.
I went to the surgeon and got excused from drill on the strength of my sore hand. Shaved 12 men. [Ate] my dinner and so concluded the [day]. The Gen. Banks arrived from New Orleans.
I mailed a letter for Hattie this today. I am on guard at the commissary today. The Banks left here at 11 am.
I was relieved this morning at 7:00. Came in my quarters got some breakfast and slept nearly the remainder of the day.
In quarters today. Have shaved a number of the men and drilled one hour and a half. There are all sorts of Rumors through the Regiment about going home, but all false.
Had Sunday morning inspection at 8:00. In camp all day.
On guard today at the commissary. The thermometer stands at 105 degrees.
Chancy and me went up the River today and returned at 3 o'clock.
The 161 Regiment received orders to report to [Tortugas] immediately. We left Apalachicola at 5 o’clock and got on board Steamer McCullum at 10o’clock at the West Pass.
We left West Pass at 4 o’clock this am and sailed out to sea. The is very pleasant and we glide along handsomely.
The sea was quite rough during the night but is calm this morning. We arrive at [Dry Tortugas] at 3pm and land & took quarters in the Fort [Jefferson].
[Fort Jefferson is a massive, unfinished coastal fortress located on Garden Key (formerly known as Bush Key) in the lower Florida Keys within the Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles west of the island of Key West; source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Jefferson_(Florida).
I have spent this day in cleaning my gun fixing bunk & barbering. 7pm now I am going to take a walk around the fort.
I am on duty today for the first time in Fort Jefferson. [Dillistin] and [Vanduzor] [were] detailed to go to Key West to do duty. Then I wrote wife a letter.
[Legrand Vanduzor, age 23, enlisted at Torry, to serve 3 years, and mustered in as private, Co. B, January 14, 1864; mustered out with company, November 12, 1865 at Tallahassee, FL.
Israel Dillistin, age 36, enlisted September 3, 1864 at Avon, to serve one year; mustered in as private, Co. B, September 6, 1864; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865, at Fort Jefferson, FL.
There [have] been several details made for daily duty today and we have drawn 10-day rations.
The weather is very fine this morning. Our fleet runs very slow. 7 am we are in sight of a lighthouse at Cape St. Blas. We landed at Apalachicola at 4 pm & went in quarters.
We fixed up bunks this am & this afternoon I went fishing. Caught 8 fish. Co. B is elected to de provo [perhaps meant the company would serve as the provost marshal or police] guard in town.
I am fatigue duty this afternoon with a squad of 20 men. Peter was detailed today to help work the artillery.
[Fatigue duty – any duty assigned to enlisted men that could be construed as necessary to camp life. Source: http://civilwartalk.com/threads/fatigue-duty.19870/
We had Sunday morning inspection this morning and religious service in M. E. (Methodist Episcopal) church at 10:30 o’clock.
Beckwith & myself went fishing early this morning. Bought 4 catfish. The Steamer Shamrock came down the Apalachicola River loaded with cotton.
The weather is very warm today. We are quartered in an old storehouse. Have it very nice
I signed my clothing bill today. I have [drawn] this year to the amount of $40.70 [$598.53 in 2015 dollars].
We commenced drill today. Have company drill three hours per day & dress parade.
[Drill: to practice marching, military formations and the steps in firing and handling one’s weapon; source: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/glossary/glossary.html#D]
The officers of the 161st went to Turtle Island today on a hunting expedition. The Steamer Shamrock brought down another load of cotton today.
We are in camp today cleaning up for Sunday inspection. Tom Riley of Co. G. stabbed ? of Co. H. in the neck. I mailed a letter for Adrian [probably Adrian Onderdonk, husband of Charles’ sister Elizabeth].
[Thomas Riley, age 23, enlisted September 1862 at Corning to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. G, October 1862; captured in action, April 8, 1864, at Sabine Cross Roads, LA; paroled and returned, October 23, 1864; discharged with detachment, October 23, 1865 at Elmira, NY; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
The Officers returned this morning with a large quantity of fish about 1½ bushels of turtle eggs and one turtle weight 250 lbs. I am on picket.
The Darkeys relieved us from picket this morning. Newell & me went fishing & caught 7 fish.
Sgt. Benj. L. Smith has Command of Co. B. today. Capt. Clark and D. Ellison is sick. Ellison is going home. Went fishing caught 6 - 8 lbs.
[Benjamin L. Smith, age 23, enlisted August 1862 at Reading, to serve 3 years; mustered in as sergeant, Co. B, September 1862; mustered out with company at Fort Jefferson, FL,
William H. Clark, age 21, enrolled August 1862 at Elmira to serve 3 years; mustered in as second lieutenant, Co. B, September 6, 1862; as captain, November 1863; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL.
David Ellison, age 25, enrolled August 1862 at Elmira to serve 3 years; mustered in as first sergeant, Co. B, September 1862; discharged July 26, 1865 at Barracks Hospital, New Orleans, LA.
I am on camp guard today. Have 6 men on a relief.
In camp today & wrote letter to Hattie. The Steamer Tamico [?] left here for Pensacola, FL.
In camp nothing going on but our usual camp duty.
I went fishing again caught 15 fish. Gave Peter & Ebenezer part of them.
In camp had inspection this morning. The N.P. Banks arrived from N.O. [New Orleans] with a small mail. We had a fine shower this pm. Had a choir this evening.
Steamer Gen. Banks arrived at [Apalachicola] today with the mail. I received 2 letters one from father & one from Adrian with George & W [?] cards.
I am on guard at the Port Hospital today. One Darkey died in spite of the guards around.
Was duly relieved this morning. Stayed in camp nearly all day.
Chass Lattin & I went fishing this morning caught 19 catfish. There was 4 boats came down the river today loaded with cotton.
[Charles Lattin, age 19, enlisted August 1862 at Elmira, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. B, September 1862; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865, at Fort Jefferson, FL; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf]
I am on guard today at the hospital & wrote a letter to father.
The Gen. Banks left again for New Orleans. Mr. Anderson of Company F died today.
[Albert O. Anderson, age 35, enlisted August 21, 1862 at Howard, NY to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. F. September 19, 1862; died of acute diarrhea, June 24, 1865, at Apalachicola, FL; source: page 745, https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf].
On duty again today.
Relieved at guard ? this morning and went fishing. Caught 28 fish.
Went to the Surgeon this morning [and] was excused from duty on account of sore hand caused by a catfish horn pricking it.
In camp today. No duty to do except 15 minutes drill and dress parade.
I went fishing this morning.
They sent guards captured my whole fleet & put us under arrest. But released us in half hour. Steamer Jackson burned today.
On camp guard today. Miller Co. C was put in guardhouse for stealing on the boat. The Regiment mustered for 2 months pay.
[Henry Miller, age 18, enlisted August 1982, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. C, September 1862; mustered out with company, September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL; source: https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/161st_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf ]
Friday, May 12
I came in from picket this morning and signed the payrolls. In camp all day. Expecting pay.
Saturday, May 13
In camp today and on duty. Paymaster is paying the Regiments. Co. B. got paid after dark. I got $73.41 cents. Payed sutler and other debts to the amount of $35.
[$73.41 in 1865 dollars would be worth $1,079.56 in 2015. $35 of 1865 dollars would be worth $514.71 in 2015. Source: http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php]
[Sutler - A common sight in the camps of Civil War soldiers was a string of huts or tents bulging with various items for sale. These business establishments belonged to sutlers, civilians officially appointed to supply soldiers with a long list of approved items. In both the Union and Confederate armies each regiment was allowed 1 sutler. From these camp vendors a soldier could purchase such items as food, newspapers, books, tobacco, razors, tin plates, cups, cutlery, and illegal alcohol.
Sunday, May 14
Peter, Joseph Parks, Lonnie Wood and myself on one Post.
[Joseph G. Parks, age 21, enlisted at Dix, to serve one year, mustered in as private, Co. B, 6 Sep 1864; mustered out with company, 20 Sep 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL
I was duly relieved this morning & stayed in camp all day
On camp guard to today. Farald [Edward Farrell] was released today after being under guard one week. Co. I.
[Edward Farrell enlisted in 1862 at age 22 in NYC to serve 3 years, mustered in as private with Co. I, transferred to Co. B, September 1865, mustered out with Company on 12 November 1865 in Tallahassee, FL
Went down street this morning purchased writing materials and several other articles to the amount of about $15. We had general inspection at 4 this p.m. I sit up night with Hurd ill
[There where two soldiers named Hurd in this company – Charles W. and John, both age 21 when they enlisted in Reading, NY, both mustered in with Co. B on 9 Sep 1862; Charles mustered out with company September 1865 at Fort Jefferson, FL & John mustered out with detachment 17 October 1865 at Elmira, NY.
On picket today on Dauphine St. Went to a citizen's house where they were dancing. The capture of Jef[ferson Davis] is confirmed in today’s papers. Mailed letter & $20 to wife.
In camp today. Peter was detailed to go on the Mobile and Ohio R. R. for guard.
We received marching orders today [and] expect to go to Apalachicola. The non-commissioned officers met this evening and made an argument for presenting a sword to Adjt [Adjutant - a military officer who acts as an administrative assistant to a senior officer] Harrower [Colonel Gabriel T. Harrower]. I wrote mother Wadsworth [Philena, Harriett's mother] a letter.
We had company inspection this morning. I wrote a letter to father. Sent a Mobile paper. Peter returned to the company again this evening
We broke camp at half past 4 this morning & marched to the wharf. Embarked on the N. P. Banks.
Started away from wharf at 9 am. Landed at Barrancas at dark.
[Fort Barrancas was one of three forts guarding the port of Pensacola, FL. It was evacuated by the Confederates in May 1862 and remained in Union hands for the rest of the war. Source: http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortbarrancas1.html]
We are signing over the wharf at Barrancas today, awaiting for other troops to come. The weather is extremely warm. General Asboth is in command at the Post.
[Brigadier General Alexander Asboth, born 1811 in Hungary, served in Hungarian Army, became naturalized US citizen, commanded the Army’s Department of West Florida, severely wounded in October 1864 at Battle of Mariana, retained his command until he was mustered out in August 1865. He died in 1868 while serving as ambassador to Argentina and Uruguay, and his remains were reburied at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on October 23, 1990.
I am on duty today. The Regiment is here under command of General Asboth. Awaiting for orders to move elsewhere.
We left the wharf this morning & went in camp half mile from the Bay.
In camp today. The fleas is our bitterest enemy. Newell [Charles B. Newell] & copur [Albert W. Cooper] is on a haise??. Our mail came this evening. I received a letter from Hattie [Charles' wife Harriett] dated May 3rd.
We are still in camp waiting orders to go to Apalachicola. It is reported that the arsenal in Mobile is blown up.
We had our usual morning inspection after which I wrote wife a letter.
Sgt. Smith, Peter & myself went down street this morning & purchased one razor & kit
The Negro troops arrived here today on the steamer Peabody.
[Negro troops = 82nd U.S. Colored Infantry. Source: The War of the Rebellion on Google Books.]
In camp today wrote a letter to father. Mail arrived. I received one letter from father dated May 9th and Rockland Co[unty] paper.
Wednesday, May 31
Had reveille at 4 o'clock this morning & embarked on the Hussar. Crossed the Bay.
Landed at Ft. Pickens & took on two pieces of artillery. I went in the Fort. Left Pickens at 11am and sailed all day.
[Fort Pickens was the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, FL and one of the only forts in the South that was never occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War. Source: http://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-pickens.htm].