Civil War Diaries
of William Owen, Co K., 86th New York Vols

January, 1863

Jan 1. New years finds me on picket on the
north side of the Rapahanock. Had some serious
thoughts of home and friends far away. Oh 
where will next New Years find me. Posible in 

Jan 2. Relieved from picket ten A.M. and 
returned to camp, dont feel very well.

Jan 3. Feel some better. Mustered for pay 
by Sergeant Cal Chapman, the weather cold.

Jan 4. Stayed in camp all day. Hark I hear 
that mournful sound of the drum which tells 
me that another of my fellow soldiers is 
being borne to the silent grave.

Jan 5. Warm and pleasant. Grand review by 
Maj. Gen. Burnside, the most splendid sight 
that I have seen in the war.

Jan 6. Stayed in camp all day. Attended prayer 
meeting in the evening. God is with us and who 
ever be against us.

Jan 7. Warm and pleasant. Stayed in camp all 
day. Battalion drill in the afternoon. Good 
news from the South West. Reported capture 
of Vicksburg by the Union forces.

Jan 8. Clear and cold. Battalion drill in the 
afternoon. Nothing of importance going on. David 
Hush of my Co. (K) discharged. A devil he was. 
I do well knowing he was nothing but a devil.

Jan 9. Clear and cold. Inspection of arms and 
quarters by Maj. Gen. Stoneman. Wrote letter 
to John Shawl. Sent for a box of _______.

Jan 10. Heavy rain all day. Washed some clothes, 
dont feel very well, almost sick. Read a letter 
from Cousin EO, he at the convalescent camp, 
Alexandra and getting no better.

Jan 11. Stayed in camp all day. Went in the woods 
with my friend M----Homes of Co F. had a season 
of prayers and talked of the subject of religion. 
Attended meeting in the evening sermon by the 
122 PA Chaplain.

Jan 12. In camp all day, warm and pleasant. 
Battalion drill in the afternoon. Read a letter 
from the first Free Will Baptist Church, Cameron, 
to which I belong.

Jan 13. Went to the woods, cut wood in the 
forenoon. E. DeForest of my (Co. K) cut two of 
his fingers off with an ax. Edward Butter of the 
same Co. discharged, wrote letter to Cousin 
Melissa in the afternoon.

Jan 14. In camp all day on police duty for 
cleaning the streets. Warm, appearance of rain. 
Reported evacuation of Fredricksburg by the 

Jan 15. In camp all day. Very heavy wind. 
Inspection of arms and quarters also a review 
by Brigd Gen. Whipple, attended prayer meeting 
in the evening. Mr. Harletine Co. F certified 
that his soul had been born anew to God.

Jan 16. In camp all day. Recd orders to march 
at an early hour tomorrow morning. Orders 
countermanded. Attended prayer meeting in the 
evening, felt some of the love of God in my heart. 
Wrote letter to Cousin EO.

Jan 17. In camp all day. Clear and very cold. 
recd orders to be ready tomorrow at one P.M. of 
the following day. Played a small game of ball, 
recd a letter from Sister Hannah, all well at 
home. God be thanked.

Jan 18. Another lonesome day spent in camp. 
Orders for marching at one P.M. defered for 24 
hours, by order of Maj Gen Joseph Hooker. Such 
are the Sabbaths that the soldier spends away 
from home, friends and church.

Jan 19. Warm and pleasant, Orders for to march 
at one P.M. defered again 24 hours. Went to the 
woods with Sargeant Seely to cut some wood. 
Battalion drill in the afternoon.

Jan 20. Cold, appearance of snow. Orders to march 
at one P.M. everything packed up, line formed. 
Gen. Burnsides order tells us that we are about to 
meet the enemy again and requests us to be cool 
& firm. Vocifferous cheers for Gen. Pratt as also 
by his request for the American Union.

Jan 21. Have not left our old camp yet, last night 
rained all night. Orders to be ready to march at 
daylight but have not yet started on account of the 
rain. Took up our line of march ten A.M. marched 
about three miles through the woods and encamped 
in the same.

Jan 22. Still raining, dont feel very well. Went 
to the woods with my friend Sergt. Merring talked 
with him on the subject of religion. Had a season of
prayer. Would not promise to go on with me for fear 
he might breake it. D. Cook of my Co. K discharged.

Jan 23. Still cloudy and mist or rain. Appearances 
of the army going back to their old camp. Took a 
walk with my friends James Smith and Gilbert Akley 
had a season of prayer at three P.M. . Fell in line 
and marched back to our old camp.

Jan 24. In our old camp agen, all right. The boys 
all busy fixing up their tents. The Rebs say the 
fighting postponed. Burnsides army stuck in the mud.
Recd our pay, four months. Inspection of arms by 
Col. B P Bailey.

Jan 25. Another lonesome Sabbath spent in camp. 
Feel quite well. Inspection of quarters by Brig 
Gen Pratt. Attended prayer meeting in the evening. 
Felt some of the love of God in my heart.

Jan 26. Moved our camp about two miles & pitched 
in the wood. Feel some better. Recd ___of the 
government rumor that we are to take winter quarters 
here. James Orvis of my Co (K) discharged.

Jan 27. Worked at my tent all day building it up 
with small poles. Major Gen. Burnside resigned 
his command. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker takes 
command of the Army of the Potomac.

Jan 28. Snowed hard all day. Hard day on the soldiers. 
Oh when will this war release and return to my home 
where I shall have shelter in snow stormes. Rumor
that the Army of the Potomac is to be divided.

Jan 29. Snow about a foot deep. Worked on my tent 
all day, have it nearly completed.

Jan 30. Snow all ___. As much equaly as deep as 
the snow yesterday. Went to our old camp, came 
back finished my tent. Paid ten cents for three 
apples to the New Hampshire sutler.

Jan 31. Went on picket on the north side of the 
Rapahanock. The weather warm and pleasant but mud 
deep. In the evening had season of prayer with my 
friend Lieut. H. B. Seely.

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