Excerpts From the Diary
of a Union Officer in the Civil War

October and early November 1864

Saturday, October 1
I go on Picket - It clears off and we have a very pleasant day. Nothing of special note on picket.

Sunday 2
I get to camp about 10 Oclock put in rather a lonesome day. Weather a little cloudy at times but no rain.

Our chaplain preached a pretty good sermon for us in the evening.

Monday, October 3, 1864
I remained at camp all the forenoon (that is after attending guard mounting). I went to town in the afternoon to get some blankets.

Weather cool & cloudy a part of the time. No rain. We got a mail this morning & N. papers of the 26. with glorious news from Sheridan.

Tuesday 4
I spend the most of the day in my tent making out ordnance Returns for Gov. Weather cloudy & wet. It raining a good portion of the day 100 minute guns were fired here in honor of Sheridan s victory. Good news from Grant if true.

Wednesday 5
Out with fatigue party at work on fortifications, Weather clear and nice.

Thursday, October 6, 1864
Go to Div. Head Qrs on business. And to Lt. Witt's office for information about Ord. return. Go to Brig. H.Q. on business with Capt. Anderson C & G.E. Visit Pioneer Corps and come back through town. A fine day.

Friday 7
On picket - nothing of note occurs - a nice day and a pleasant tour of picket duty.

Saturday 8
About camp all day pretty cool in the morning day nice & clear.

Col Mackey and Capt. Parmley arrive - both look well. All glad to see them. Brig. band serenades Col. M. about 9 O'clock P.M.

Sunday, October 9, 1864
Frost this morning The day clear and pleasant.

Take a walk to the grave yard - and in town -

Our chaplain preached a good sermon for us in the evening.

Detailed to go a forageing tomorrow with 5 days rations.

Monday 10
Start from camp at 6 O'clock in charge of 50 men and 4 N.C.O. Report in town - & then at the Carroll (corral?) below the Depot. The train gets started about 1 O'clock P.M. - I have charge of the whole - 76 wagons & 100 men - get a pony to ride.

Tuesday 11
Start out this morning about sun up and get to Clear Lake a little before sun down and go into camp. I stoped by the way at Dr. Mickles and get my dinner Have very fine weather Take my supper with Mr. Satterfield.

Wednesday, October 12, 1864
Go about 1 1/2 miles and load our wagons with old corn = 71 wagons. return & camp on the same ground Take supper with Satterfield Satterfields are real secessionists The teamsters gather up some mules - weather very fine Lt. Cole brings me a prisoner at 12 at night.

Thursday 13
Start for Little Rock about sun up - get along fine - I stoped at Mickles again and had a long chat with Mrs. M. Camped on the river just above Penchestors (?)

Two Citizens followed us for mules they say we got.

Friday 14
Get to Little Rock about 2 O'clock P.M. The Pro Mar Gen. sees a lot of rails on some of the wagons and gives me fits. I turn my prisoner over to Capt. D. Kay Post Pro. Mar. and get to camp about 3 oclock. weather fine but some clouds.

Saturday, October 15, 1864
Go to the Pro. Mar. Gen's office by his request made yesterday. He questions me about the mules we brought in & orders me to report tomorrow at 10 O'c I see one of the Citizens who came after the mules. They got an order for 3 of them.

Sunday 16
I go to the Pro. Mar's he tells me he does not want me today but to come in tomorrow or next day - In the afternoon I go to the grave yard - see nothing of much importance. Weather fine indeed.

Monday 17
Work all day on our shanty. The Co. raise their cook house. Did not go to Pro. Marshal's.

Weather fine and pleasant with cool morning.

We move into our new shanty tonight.

Tuesday, October 18, 1864
I go out with fatigue detail - work on the fortification west of the grave yard Detail worked rather poorly weather fine and pleasant. All busy in camp fixing winter quarters.

Wednesday 19
I do nothing today but lay around quarters in the forenoon - In the afternoon we have battalion drill from 2 to 4 O'clock Weather fine but growing a little cooler.

Thursday 20
I go to town & to the commissary in the forenoon In the afternoon I work at our shanty daubing it. get it done and now have our end nearly finished all to hanging the door. Weather clear but cool in the morn.

Friday, October 21, 1864
I do nothing but lay around the quarters. We got a pretty good mail this morning and some Northern papers. Weather clear but cool.

Saturday 22
I go on picket have rather a lonesome day of it. The wind blows so as to make it quite disagreeable, Quite cool this morning. Considerable of ice. Brigade drill today.

Sunday 23
I get in from picket between 9 & 10 O'clock - done nothing more for the day.

We get orders to prepare for inspection tomorrow.

Weather fine- a few scattering clouds but no rain some ice in the morning.

Monday, October 24, 1864
Up pretty early this morning. The forenoon spent in cleaning of camp and preparing for inspection. All hands very busy -- Inspected in the afternoon by Col. Sacket U.S.A. I had comd. of the Co. Gore at 50th Ind. on Board of Sur. The day pleasant with some appearance of rain.

Tuesday 25
Nothing much going on today. I have been about Camp all day. Gore & I fixed up a door & hung it to our shanty -- It has rained about 1/2 the time today but not very hard.

Wednesday 26
I go to Guard Mounting in the morning stay in camp the rest of the forenoon - After dinner go with H.B. Mathews to Brig. H. Q. Have Battalion drill from 2 to 4. I have command of Co "E". Weather some cloudy but still tolerable pleasant.

Thursday, October 27, 1864
I go on fatigue in charge of the detail from our Regt. at work on fortification get a good days work done Weather cloudy & windy The most pigeons this morning I ever saw.

Friday 28
Stay at quarters all day make part of a muster roll - Weather fine & pleasant rather cool early this morning. J. Wondling came back to the Co. today.

Saturday 29
I go on picket but was relieved soon after dinner Our Regt. being ordered to go with a train to Fort Smith. The balance of the day spent in making preparations- I go to town in the evening to get tickets printed It rained some & was damp & cloudy all day.

Sunday, October 30, 1864
Pack up and get all ready to move soon in the morning but did not get off untill about 1 O'clock Our Regt. started with about 350 men Our Co 30 - We march 8 miles and Camp after dark Weather nice

Entries beginning on this date are in pencil.
Monday 31
Start by sun up travel 10 miles and camp some time before sun down on Polarm (?). Weather very nice for marching. Clouded up and sprinkled rain in the night.

Tuesday, November 1
Started about sun up for a big march rained some before noon and rained very hard in the afternoon and pretty near steedy the road got pretty bad - some wagons upset and we camped after traveling 16 miles and it was after 9 O'clock when the train all got in.

Wednesday, November 2, 1864
Started again this morning as soon as we could get off having to go back 1 mile for a wagon and 2 loads of hard bread which were left out the wagons having upset after dark and could not be got in last night. traveled 2 1/2 miles through a bottom and very bad road & came to the cadron (?) and spent the rest of the day ferrying.

Thursday 3
We left 48 wagons on the east side of Cadron - the troops marched 1 1/2 miles and camped west of the river - consequently we had to go back and ferry the 48 wagons today & get them over & all into camp about 2 Oclock having made 4 miles in 2 days.

Friday 4
Started early and traveled 12 miles and came to Lewisburg Camped just west of the town sometime before sun down Drew rations & laid in supplies for Fort Smith. Weather nice today but cool - It rained considerably yesterday.

Saturday, November, 5
Start early travel 10 miles and camp at Campbell's. here we overtook the 2 Ark & 1 Co of the 54 U.S. Colored. camped about 2 Oclock and sent out a forage party for corn got about 25 loads weather nice

Sunday 6
lay by all day to rest the mules and to forage - sent a forage party over to the river they get plenty of corn beef sheep weather nice.

There are no further entries. According to a summary history of the 33rd, the expedition to Fort Smith continued until Dec. 8, 1864. A record of correspondence kept at the back of the diary continues until June 1865, two months after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The regiment was mustered out July 17, 1865.

Information about other Iowa units is available on the Web. They include the 3rd, the 9th, the 10th, the 12th, the 15th, the 16th, the 20th, the 23rd (also a diary), the24th, the 31st, the 36th and the 37th infantry regiments and the 1st, the 3rd and the 8th cavalry regiments. You may also want to visit Iowa During the Civil War, which includes links to other sites with letters.

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Comments may be addressed to Larry Pearson, lpearson@pobox.alaska.net