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

Transcribers note: Mr. Owen continues to describe his experiences as a soldier
in the Civil War as he purchased another leather bound diary of the pocket
variety. Contained in the pocket is a newspaper clipping of a poem entitled On
the Rapidan by Kate Putnam as well as a newspaper editorial regarding the
assassination of President Lincoln.

William Owen, CoK 86th NYVols.


Jan 1, 1864. Another new year has commenced 
& finds me in camp near Brandy Station, Va. 
& in good health. Thank God for it and may 
He grant that this year may be spent in 
doing much good. ___ may discountenance 
drunkenness, profanity & sin of every 
form and encourage virtue & religion. 
P.M. had a season of prayre in my tent 
with my friends in fullfillment of the 
covenant made one year ago to-day.

Jan 2. Went on picket about five miles 
from camp & near Culpeper. Very rough &
hard moving. Arrived on the line about 
one PM. At five PM was relieved by the
184 NY Regt to go to camp & get pay.
Arrived in camp eight in the evening.

Jan 3. First Sabbath of the new year. 
Attended meeting in the commissary tent.
Text & AM the God. Was called out of 
meeting to get pay. Evening attended
experience meeting, had a good time. 
God was with us & did bless.

Jan 4. Stayed in camp all day. Snowed 
hard. Wrote letter to my friend Prescott
Mc Minde. Evening detailed for picket.

Jan 5. Went on picket near Culpeper, 
arrived on the line about ten AM. Was on
reserve. Very cold weather.

Jan 6. Still on picket, received letters 
from home. Also one from Mrs. D Hilborn. 
PM answered the same.

Jan 7. Relieved from picket ten AM to 
go to camp and prepare for home. Marched
to Brandy Station, took the cars 8 PM, 
road all night. Arrived in Washington at
daylight in the morning. 

Jan 8. The regiment marched from the long 
bridge to the soldiers retreat & stayed 
through the day. Went out to town doing 
some trading.

Jan 9. Took the cars ten AM for Baltimore, 
arrived there soon after dark. Stayed in 
the soldiers retreat through the night.

Jan 10. Marched to the Northern depot-took 
the cars ten AM for Elmira. Road all day, 
passed Harrisburg that night. Road all night, 
very tired & sleepy.

Jan 11. Arrived in Williamsport at day break. 
Road all day & arrived in Elmira four PM. 
Marched through the city. Did not meet with 
as hearty a reception as we expected. 
Stayed in the city hall through the night. 

Jan 12. Stayed in Elmira all day. Done some 

Jan 13. Took the cars at Elmira for Cameron. 
Arrived in Cameron twelve N. Walked home, 
arrived home three PM. A hearty welcome! 
Thank God that he has permitted me to meet 
with my friends once more. May I ever give 
Him all the praise.

Jan 14. Went to ___ ___ ___ father. ___ on 
Hunts Hill. All things seem strange as I 
again mingle in civilized society, but 
enjoy myself very much. Tis God that has 
blessed me & permitted me to ___ with my 
friends & loved ones.

Jan 15. Visited my sister for the first time 
in two years.

Jan 16. Visited my friends the Hubbards 
PM. Attended covenant meeting for the
first time in nearly three years. Had a 
good time, the Lord blessed my soul.

Jan 17. Attended church on old south hill. 
Enjoyed myself very much. How good the 
Lord is in ___ bringing me unworthy 
creature back and more to the society
of my friends & loved ones.

Jan 18. Took leave of my friend George 
Knapp & went home. PM went to Woodhull
with my father, saw some of my soldier 
friends. Had a good visit at Mrs.
Warners. The remains of Capt John Warner 
were brought home.

Jan 19. Took leave of my friend Solomon 
Wildrick. Called at Mr. Lyons-also at
Mr. Andress. Also at Mr. Walraths, also 
at Mr. Stuarts. Had a good visit!
Enjoyed myself very much. God be thanked.

Jan 20. Visited my friend Joseph Reynolds. 
Was also at Grandfathers & evening
attended spelling at my old school-house. 
Happy thoughts of the days that I
used to spend here when a small boy.

Jan 21. Went to Jasper to visit my friend 
Gilbert. Did not come as promised. 
PM returned home. Evening went to my 
brothers. Stayed overnight.

Jan 22. Went to see my friend A Simonds 
& did not find him at home. PM returned
home with my sister. Had a pleasant ride. 
Evening attended an R Fakey supper at
Nelson Perys. Had a pleasant time. After 
supper went to Jasper, arrived three
in the morning.

Jan 23. Went to my old school house, 
returned to my brothers with his team. 
PM went home. Saw two of my cousins, 
evening returned to my brothers, visited Mr.
George Wentworth with my brother ___ his ___.

Jan 24. 5th Chapter of Ephisians, part of 
the 14th verse. Wherefore he sayeth, awake 
thou that sleepest & rise from the dead. 
Attended church at Jasper. Funeral sermon 
by Rev. Mr. Powell, NE Church. PM attended 
same church. Funeral sermon of one of my 
fellow soldiers by Rev. Mr. Rassen of 
Presbyterian Church. A good sermon from 
the aboved named.

Jan 25. Went to Mr. Andresses, stopped 
at Elias Jones in the AM. Took dinner &
then returned home. Warm & pleasant, 
the snow all going off. Evening set up
with the corpse of Mrs. Hilborn. My 
grandfather died nine oclock, thus death
surrounds us on every hand. But what 
differeth it to us if we are only

Jan 26. Attended the burial of my Captain 
(John Warner) at Woodhull. A great crowd 
of people took charge of the escort. Marched 
into the street after which Capt. Barton 
took charge the prosession, passed off finely. 
Evening attended visiting party at the Bartons.

Jan 27. Attended the funeral of my grandfather, 
thus one is passing away after another. But 
a few short years and we shall all be gone. 
May God grant that our last hours may be 
peaceful as this man. O how bright ___ light 
to pass over Jordan. God have all the praise.

Jan 28. Visited Elder Stuart in the AM. 
PM visited at Mr. Luicks; evening went
to my brothers, stayed all night. He 
that loveth abundance shal not be
contented with increase.

Jan 29. Stayed at my brothers through the AM. 
PM prepared for the danations. Eve attended 
danation. Visit at Mrs. Seach. Had a splendid 
time. Industry, honesty and temperance are 
elements of contentment.

Jan 30. Returned home from the danation. 
Visited with my friend A Simons. PM went 
to Mr. Hubbards, saw my old friend Asa. 
Evening attended singing school.

Jan 31. Attended church on South Hill. 
Sermon by Elder Jacob Stuart. Text came
unto me all ye that labor & are heavy laden 
& I will give you rest, for my yoke
is easy & my burden is light! A good sermon.

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