Thursday, March 31, 2011

Field Diary April 1862

James Albert Barber
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
Transcript of the Diary of James Albert Barber
Month:  April
[material in brackets entered by transcriber] 
Past Posts [March]

Tuesday April 1st 1862
The day comes in cloudy while sailing on towards Fortress Monroe while nearly in sight of the fort we began to have a little bit of sea and it made the Delaware roll a little and we lost a wagon and a box of clothing. We arrived in the Harbor at sun rise. We lay anchor all day long.

Wednesday 2ond
The day is very pleasent  [pleasant] we are lying at anchor of fort Monroe with a large fleet of vesells [vessels]. There we had a fair view of the Monitor after her having the fight with the great naval monster so called the Merrimack. She done the Monster but little damage while the Merrimack was obliged to skidad up to Norfolk where she came from.

Thursday April 2d 1862
The day comes in pleasant [pleasant] the Delaware too the two Ohio in from the fort up in too a little crick leading in to Hampton there we unloaded our battery marched through the place out on to an open field an encamped with 2 large number of troop Hampton was all burnt by the revels some time ago nothing but the brick chimnies [chimneys] and walls of the buildings.

Friday 4th
The day comes in cloudy we started from Hampton early march all day. The road was crowded. We marched as
as far as Great Bethel encamped.

Saturday 5th
The day is pleas [pleasant]. We left our camp march on across a creek where the rebels had had some Batteries an proceded [and proceeded] on and went on 9 miles more.

Sunday April 6th 1862
The day is pleasent [pleasant] we are all in good spirits and hope to meet the rebels this morning the balloon was viewing the rebels in our fort near York Town and the line which it was fasened [fastened] by broke and it landed in our camp we did knot advance to day.

Monday 7th
The is cold and rainy 2 ridgements [regiments] left camp to cut a road so the army could advance when ever they see an opportunity.

Tuesday 8the
The day comes in cold and it has been raining all knight [night]. The Souldiers [soldiers] are very fatigued with the cold and hunger. They cut up nearby fence to build their fires too warm them selves and dry cloths.

Wednesday April 9th
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] at noon began to rain as before and every ting is very wet and mudy [muddy] so we can yet scarcely any rations to eat and dry place to eat.

Thursday 10th
The day comes in cloudy but one oclock the sun come out warm and dried up a little bit so it was comfortable for the Souldiers [soldiers].

Friday 11th
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] early we espied a balloon come dis [distance] on our front viewing the rebels at York Town aftere [after] a short time she broke her line and landed in the camp where Genl Taners Corps was stationed in a field nearly surrounded by woods.

Saturday April 12th, 1862
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] we constantly hear a gun in the direction of York Town the Souldiers [soldiers] are in good spirits and hope to meet the enemy soon.

Sunday 13th
The day comes in very pleasent [pleasant] at ten Am we had an inspection our Capt orders too have our knapsacks packed and be redy [ready] for any move ment [movement] at any time.

Monday 14th
The day is coll [cool] and windy we had an inspection by Colonel Tomkins. Lieu Tenant Ellen [Allen] and Genl orders forbidding all Bugle calls after the present time as we are in face of the enemy.

Tuesday April 15th 1862
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] early a large company was sent out so too cut around through the woods for the advance of our army we have had a drill on the field with the horses and pieces and cannoneer.

Wednesday 16th
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] early in the evening we had heavy fir in between our men and the rebels. In the direction of York Town an [and] lasted all day. We left camp Colt moved on about 2 miles over a corduroy road out into an open field entirely surround woods then there we encamped close by the rebels Fortifications built for the defense of York Town.

Thursday April 17th 1862
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] at two am a sharp skirmish broke out between our men and the rebels. It did not last long we have kept 4 guns firing at the rebels too keep them from strenghing [strengthening] works there.

Friday 18th
The comes in pleasent [pleasant] our battery has been firing at the rebels fort we have fired at the by sheels all day and the rebels fired a shot at they passed over heads and done us no injury.

Saturday 19th
The day is very pleasent [pleasant] we are have spent all in repairing our guns that we broke yesterday firing at the rebels Battery A of the ri [Rhode Island] has been firing on them nearly all day but did not receive shot from rebels.

Sunday April 20th
The day is cool and windy at 3 oclk Am firing broke out between out pickets and the rebels. we had two men wounded on our side.

Monday 21st
The weather is very coll [cool] and windy our Battery been on picket in face of the enemys [enemy’s] guns an Capt had orders knot to fire at the rebels did unless they fired at him first.

Tuesday 22ond
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] at all Am it turned heavy rain which over flowed our tents and wet our clothes.

Wednesday 23d
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] every thing has been quiet there has been no firing on either side ecepting [excepting] the gun boats on the river.

Thursday April 24th 1862
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] the rebels has been firing on our men that was on picket in front of their lines and our Battery has been has been firing at them all day at intervals.

Friday 25th
The day comes in cold and cloudy some fireing [firing] has been going on between our men and the rebels we did knot learn the result as we have been in camp all day.

Saturday 26th
The day is cold and rainy the first and second section of our Battery has been up in front firing at the rebels works built for the defence [defense] of York Town I have been in camp taking care of horses.

Sunday April 27th 1862
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] at seven our Battery was ordered into the woods to fire at the rebels. At 1 one oclock Governer [Governor] Sprague arrived with the pay master to pay our mony [money].

Monday 28th
The day comes in pleasent [pleasant] our Battery took its places in Bty [Battery] and opened fire at the rebels works we fired some four or five sheels [shells]  at the rebels and they returned the compliment with 32 pdr sheels which passed direckly [directly] over our gun and went throu a lorg thre. They fired 6 sheels [shells] at

Tuesday 29th
The day is pleas [pleasant] the Paymaster Payed [paid] of [off] Battery B and our Battery 26 Dollars everything has been quiet along the lines to day.

Wedneday April 30th 1862
The day comes in cool and cloudy Colonel Tomkins arrived and he inspected us and called the roll muster.

PROVIDENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY , Special Collections Department, Harris MSS, C. Fiske Harris Collection on the Civil War and Slavery, Civil War Manuscripts, Transcript of the Diary of James Albert Barber, transcribed by Richard J. Ring, 2010.
Photograph of James Albert Barber, collection of the author.


Anonymous said...

Hi Midge, Wow! Thanks for sharing this important diary of daily life in the Civil War with us. Interesting and touching!

Suzan said...

Hi Midge,
Where would be the best place to go to get my copy of John F. Lester's Journal of his Civil War experience from 1861-1865?
I'm blogging it- but know one knows about it!
Suzan Persons