Civil War Diary
of William Owen, Co K., 86th NYSV


Transcribers note: In the collection of diaries it would appear that Mr. Owen bought another after losing the previous one at the battle of Chancellorsville. He makes entries for several days previous to the day he lost the original & continues on. This smaller diary has many illegible entries in pencil but fortunately he had an ink pen on occasion.

April and May, 1863



Apr 28, 1863. Struck tents 8 A.M. and 
broke camp, marched about seven miles and
encamped near Belle Plains. evening rained.

Apr 29. First & sixth army Corp crossed 
the river. Cannonading at 7 A.M. Hooker
fighting on the right at Belles Forde.

Apr 30. Took up our line of march about 
10 miles up the river to reinforce Gen.
Hooker & encamped near Hartwood Church.

May 1. Marched at six A.M. crossed the 
river 12 N marched 8 miles. Halted near
the front of our army. 5 P.M. went to 
the front & formed in line of battle,
terrific cannonading.

May 2. Marched about three miles and 
engaged the enemy at 5 P.M. Lost no men of
our Reg. Our Corps fighting nearly all night.

May 3. Day broke with a terrible thundering 
of artillery and musketry. 8 A.M. went 
into the battle, was wounded in the shoulder 
slightly. Left the field. Brother Cortland 
killed or taken prisoner.

May 4. Went to the hospital, thence to 
Falmouth Station. Took the cars & went
to our division hospital.

May 5. Stayed at the hospital. E.F. 
Deforrest of my Co K came here wounded, is
now dead, wrote letter to my parents.

May 6. Still at the hospital over 1000 
wounded at this hosp. Lt. Williams of my
Co K came here wounded in the arm. The 
army recrossed the river and came to old
camp. 

May 7. Came to my company, found the boys 
all tired out and but a few left.

May 8. Stayed in camp, wrote letters 
A.M. Gen Whipple died of wounds received
in the late.

May 9. Stayed in camp, wrote letters. 
Nothing of importance going and pretty
lonesome time.

May 10. Attended meeting front of the 
Colonels tent. Sermon by Chaplain Watts.
Left what shall & under unto the Lord for 
his ____ unto me. Evening attended
service meeting in the grove.

May 11. Reviewed by Maj. Gen Sickles 
comdg our Corps (3).

May 12. Marched to division head quarters 
to hear the announcement of the death
of the Rebbel Gen Stonewall Jackson as 
announced in the Richmond papers.

May 13. Inspected by Col Ellis commander 
of our brigade.

May 14. Stayed in camp all day. 
Wrote some, nothing going on.

May 15. Went on picket. Weather is very 
warm and pleasant. Evening attended
prayer meeting in the wood. felt the 
love of God in my heart.

May 16. Still on picket, all quiet along 
the lines. Warm & pleasant. Nothing of
importance going on.

May 17. Still on picket, another pleasant 
but seemimgly idle Sabbath spent away
from friends and home but God is ___ to me.

May 18. Relieved from picket and returned 
to camp. Went to Stonemans Switch. G.W. 
Newman of my Co K died of wounds and fever 
at ten oclock last night.

May 19. Went to the division hospital. 
Carried the remains of my friend G.W.
Newman to the embalming office. He died of 
wound in the foot & typhoid fever.

May 20. Moved our camp a few rods & 
built on new ground. Very warm & pleasant.
Good news from Mississippi, great cavalry 
raid. PM wrote letter to my friend W.
M. Deck.

May 21. On guard & ____ to build a guardhouse. 
Read letter from J.N. Reynolds, he sick at 
the Fort ______ hospital. Heard from brother 
Cortland.

May 22. In camp all day. Very warm & 
pleasant. Evening attended prayer meeting
in the open air or in Gods own temple & 
feel his presence. 

[Transcribers note: The next 5 days were written in pencil that has faded to the
point of being illegible except for a few words.]

May 28. Report that the Rebs are trying to 
recross the river. Wrote letter.

May 29. Warm & pleasant afternoon. 
Battalion drill. Received a letter from my
old friend A. W. Hubbard. Evening attended 
prayer meeting. Detailed for picket.

May 30. Fell in line & went on picket 
six A.M. about four miles to the picket
line. P.M. wrote to my friend. 
P.M. very warm,appearance of rain.

May 31. Another Sabbath spent on the 
picket line. A very pleasant day.
Afternoon went to an old farm house 
stayed a few moments & returned.


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