Civil War Diary
of Robert T. Douglass, Co. F, 47th Va. Regt.


December, 1863



Dec 1. Lying behind our breast works and 
suffering very much with cold and firing 
along the lines to-day. ___any of 
importance _____. Recd a letter from a
friend.

Dec 2. Out on skirmish to-day and every 
line advanced & the yankees were all
gone having fallen back over the river 
last night. Some dead men left on the
skirmish line.

Dec 3. Marched from our breastworks ___ 
having swung back on the pike to our
old camp near Orange C.H. and found our 
chimney standing up right as when we
left.

Dec 4. Feel very unwell indeed after 
our last trip we made after the enemy,
having caught a ____cold as the weather 
was extremely cold. All going on in
camp as before.

Dec 5. Still unwell and have no appetite 
to eat anything. Received a letter & a
little bundle from home by a friend 
belonging to the 15 Va. cavalry.

Dec 6. Another Sabbath spent quietly in 
camp. Had co. inspection at 9 OC A.M.
and also a dress parade in the afternoon. 
Had preaching in our Reg. in the
afternoon.

Dec 7. Walked over to the division 
commissary dept. to see one of my friends.
The 40th Va. Reg. gone on picket from our 
brigade. Wrote a letter to my mother
at home.

Dec 8. Returned to duty & went on co. 
drill after being sick for several days.
Went out in the wood in the P.M. and 
cut some fire wood. Quite cool weather.

Dec 9. On camp guard & the regiment 
gone on picket. Made some mortar and dobbed
my chimney. Received several letters from 
home late in the afternoon.

Dec 10. Still on guard & not relieved 
as the regiment has not returned from
picket. Wrote several letters to my 
relatives & friends. The regiment returned
from pickett late in the afternoon.

Dec 11. Relieved from guard at 9 OClock 
A.M. having been on 48 hours. Went over
to Keiths division commissary dept. in 
the afternoon to see some of my friends.

Dec 12. Received orders early this 
morning to be ready for inspection & review
at 9 OC A.M. Rained and we had no 
inspection and I was glad of it indeed.

Dec 13. Staid in camp all day & had a 
very dry time indeed. Had no company
inspection to day as our Col. is in 
command of our regt. Orders to be ready 
for inspection tomorrow.

Dec 14. Busy cleaning our guns for 
inspection and orders came to move & 
we left our camp & took the train to 
Gordonsville & from there to Staunton 
& there stopped for the night.

Dec 15. Took the train from Staunton 
about noon and went up near Buffalo gap
and got off the train. Marched some 
distance & halted at the foot the mountains
for the night.

Dec 16. Laid over at the Buffalo Springs 
hotel all day and drew five days
rations of hard bread, bacon & beef 
and had orders to cook two days rations
immediately ready for action.

Dec 17. Left Buffalo Springs & marched 
in on the road to Staunton having been
up nearly all night before & had to 
march through rain & snow & twas freezing
on us as fast as fell. A day long to be 
remembered.

Dec 18. Staid in camp near Staunton all 
day & dried our blankets & other
clothes. Wrote a letter to my mother. 
Went out to a gentlemans house in P.M. &
got supper.

Dec 19. Very cold to day and looks very 
much like snow. Drew some fresh pork to
day as rations. No orders to move yet 
and not many camp rumors afloat.

Dec 20. Another Sabbath day spent in 
rapid marching from Staunton to Mt.
Crawford on the Winchester pike. 
Great excitement in the valley among the
citizens. Home guard turned out.

Dec 21. Left Mt. Crawford at daylight 
& marched about 2 miles & formed a line
of battle & then left & next came to 
Harrisburg marching at a rapid rate in hot
pursuit of the enemy but did not overtake them.

Dec 22. Marched through New Market on to 
Mt. Jackson and camped. Our march to
day was quite slow ___ the distance about 
10 miles. The enemy are still pushing
toward Winchester.

Dec 23. Laid in camp to-day and lived off 
the fat of the valley. Some of the boys 
went out in the country & got butter milk, 
sausage, & all such luxeries as the 
valley affords. Very pretty day.

Dec 24. Went out to a mill with a friend 
& got some flour & carried to a house
& have it cooked into bread. Returned 
to camp with my bread and butter milk
that I bought for Chrismas.

Dec 25. This Chrismas day now  are camped 
near Mt. Jackson. Where might I be on
another Chrismas day. Went out & got my 
Chrisday dinner. Also got some cakes &
persimmon beer.

Dec 26. Had inspection of arms at 12 OClock. 
Commenced having roll calls to-day. Look 
very much like rain this afternoon. Fixed 
a kind of shelter to keep me out the rain.

Dec 27. The last Sabbath in this year is 
a very disagreeable & rainy day. Who
will live to see the last Sabbath in next 
year. Everyone expects to see it. Wish 
that I was where I was this time last Chrismas.

Dec 28. Still rainy and disagreeable and 
have no tents to shelter ourselves
from the weather. Rumours in camp that 
we are to march toward Winchester. Dont
like the idea of going there.

Dec 29. Took a friends place on guard 
for him to go out foraging for him &
myself. Very pretty day after a rainy 
spell. Recd orders late in the afternoon
to cook rations & be ready to move 
early next morning.

Dec 30. Moved this morning out our camps 
on the pike toward Winchester about
1/2 mile & halted and the orders were 
countermanded & we returned to our camp
again with orders to be ready to move 
at a moments warning.

Dec 31. The last day of this year was a 
very disagreeable day. It rained &
snowed all day long. Who will live 
to see the last day of next year is a
question that cannot be answered. 
1863 has gone, never to return again. We are
now encamped at Mt. Jackson Shennandoah 
County Virginia. Where will we be 12
months from now. 

This ends my diary.


Maintained by Sue Greenhagen. E-mail: greenhsh@morrisville.edu