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

April, 1864

Apr 1. Fixed up my tent, wrote letter. 
Rained all the afternoon. Nothing
exciting or entertaining going on.

Apr 2. Stayed in camp all day. Rained 
hard, very mudy & nothing of importance
going on.

Apr 3. Regimental inspection by Colonel 
Lansing commanding regt. It was in AM.
Attended meeting in chapel. Sermon by 
the [the rest is illegible].

Apr 4. Stayed in camp all day. Wrote 
letter to my sister. [the rest is

Apr 5. Stayed in camp all day, 
still rainy with ___ ___. Evening 
had company prayre meeting.

Apr 6. Stayed in camp all day. Went 
and cut a load of wood for the company.
Fair weather and more. The 6th of April, 
how fast the time is passing. Here I
am this evening seated in my little 
tent with my friend Asa Cross. A bright
little fire is burning in the day 
fireplace and all is compartively quiet
around us. Probably this will not be 
for long.

Apr 7. Stayed in camp [rest is illegible]. 

Apr 8. In camp. Battalion drill in 
the PM. Wrote letter to ___. Received 
three letters all from my sisters. 
A very pleasant day. Evening wrote 
letters. Read my first copy of the 
morning star. 

Apr 9. Stayed in camp all day. Forenoon 
cut a load of wood. Detail for 150 men
for picket duty. Rained hard all day, 
almost a flood to night. Wrote an order
to Rev D. M. Graham, Portland Maine for 
the Freewill-Baptist Quarterly. My
candle is most exhausted and am going to bed.

Apr 10. Company inspection at 9 AM. 
Attended meeting at eleven AM. Sermon by
the chaplain of the 124th Regt. NY Vol. 
Evening attended prayre meeting.

Apr 11. Regimental inspection by Major 
Stafford at 9 oclock AM. A very pleasant
day. PM had a fine game of ball. Evening 
attended the debate. Question discussed. 
Resolved that the Rebbel property should 
be confiscated at the end of the war and 
given to the Federal soldiers. Decided by 
the president of the meeting (Capt. Baker) 
in favor of the afermitive. 

Apr 12. Stayed in camp all day. The boys 
returned from picket AM. Evening attended 
prayre meeting.

Apr 13. Grand review by Maj Generals Mead, 
Hancock & Buterfield. Evening attended 
prayre meeting. My friend Peter Osborn 
was there, just arrived from Elmira. 
Had a good meeting, enjoyed myself well.

Apr 14. Battalion drill in the PM. 
Received pay of the government. The greater
part of the men have ___ this evening.

Apr 15. Inspection of arms & acquitments 
By Capt ___. PM battalion drill. Detailed 
for picket duty. Evening attended meeting.

Apr 16. AM Went to Brandy Station and 
expressed forty dollars to my father.
Also expressed forty dollars  for me & 
friend Asa Cross and one hundred dollars
for Captain ___. PM returned to camp 
carrying very much. Evening attended
prayre meeting in the chapel. Had a 
very good meeting.

Apr 17. Inspection at ___ by Brigd Gen 
Hazel at 11 AM. Attended muster in the
chapel. Sermon by Chaplain Bradner of 
the 126th Regt. PM a communion was on.
Also 4 of my friends were baptized by 
Rev. Mr. ___(chaplain) of my regt.
Evening attended prayre meeting, had a 
good meeting.

Apr 18. AM inspection by Brigd General 
Marsh. PM brigade drill and dress
parade. See deserters from the Rebbel 
army pass by here almost every day.
Pleasant but quite cool weather. 
Evening wrote.

Apr 19. AM had inspection by Maj Stafford. 
PM wrote letters & rebbel deserters
coming in every day.

Apr 20. AM stayed in camp. PM brigade drill. 
Evening attended prayre meeting in the hospl 
tent. Had an expedient meeting, the Lord 
blessed us. One man sick in the hospl.

Apr 21. Brigade drill in the afternoon 
[next sentence illegible].

Apr 22. A grand review for Liet Gen Grant 
of the 2nd army corps. Saw the general 
for the first time. Gen Mead was also 
present with ___ other Maj Gens.

Apr 23. Stayed in camp all day. ___ 
___ pleasant but very windy to-day.

Apr 24. Went on picket ___ Stevensburg. 
Arrived on the line at 11 AM. Had ___
of six pvts. W warm and pleasant day 
but rained all night. Forty five rebbels
came in. Said there was any amount of 
them over there ready to ___. My God
grant this it be.

Apr 25. Still on picket. Relieved from 
the line & came back to the grand
reserve at 12 N. Report that the rebbels 
are moving up the Shennandoah Valley.
The time for active operations is nigh. 
May God give me strength to ever do my
duty, for him is my trust.

Apr 26. Returned to the line from the 
reserve. Stayed on the line until ___
then returned to the reserve.

Apr 27. Returned from picket and returned 
to the camp. Joined the camp. Our little 
tents now set up over the ground seems like 
old homes. How changeable is the life of the 
soldier. Received letter from Cousin Alanya 
also from my friend Chas. Wood.

Apr 28. Stayed in camp all day. Battalion 
drill in the PM. The Colonel had the
photograph of the Regt. taken. We expect 
to march soon, very cool weather for the 
time of year. Evening everything lively 
through the camps. The boys having all 
kinds of sport. Some throwing others up 
in the air and catching them on a woolen 
blanket when they come down. Every one 
seems to be happy.

Apr 29. AM had a ball play. PM division drill.

Apr 30. AM went out shooting targets. 
Myself, took 8th ___ or shooting.
PM stayed in camp, mustered for pay.

Maintained by Sue Greenhagen. E-mail: