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


May, 1864



May 1. Inspection at 9 AM by Brig Gen 
___. 11 AM attended meeting in the ___.
PM attended prayre meeting. Evening 
attended prayre meeting.

May 2. Stayed in camp all day. A 
terrible wind & hail, quite poor weather.

May 3. Stayed in camp. PM battalion drill 
by Major ___. Got orders to be ready
to march at 11 PM. Marched all night.

May 4. Reached the Rapidan at ten AM. 
Crossed the same at Ellis Ford. Marched
very fast, arrived at the old 
Chancellorsville battle field at 2 PM. 
Stopped for the night ___ me ___ 
yesterday that we were engaged in the 
terrible battle on this ground and I was 
slightly wounded. It is most covered with 
graves of our ___ comrads. God is truly 
good in sparing me through so many battles &
dangers since that time. To Him be all the praise.

May 5. Took up our line of march at 6 AM. 
Marched 15 miles and went into battle
at three PM. Fought all the PM, drove 
the enemy some distance through the
woods. Lost a very few men of our Regt. 
Charles B. Hilborn of my co. was
wounded. God blessed me in the fight & 
I felt even there like praising his
name. Stayed in line of battle all night, 
the ground covered with killed &
wounded. The wounded crying for help. 
A terrible scene.

May 6. Opened fighting the enemy at 
daylight. Charged them through the woods,
drove them all the AM. PM the 9 army corps 
on our left broke and the Rebbels
surrounded us. Marched out by the right 
flank through a perfect hail of bullets. 
PM engaged again, most terrible musketry 
I ever heard. Rebs charged our breastworks 
& were repulsed with terrible slaughter. 
On line of battle all night. God is merciful 
still. Merring, Barber & Lanning of my (K) wounded.

May 7. Stayed in line of battle all day. 
At five PM fell in and marched about
four miles and countermarched and resumed 
our old position. Reported that Richmond 
is taken. The Rebbels are falling back.

May 8. Fell in at day ten AM. Marched 
about five miles. Fighting still
continues. Was detailed to go on the 
skirmish line. Stayed on pickett all
night. Very warm weather. A great many 
of the boys marched until they were
sunstruck and dropped down like dead men. 
Such are the Sabbaths of the soldier
but thank God we are soldiers in a good cause.

May 9. Advanced our picket line about 
1/2 mile ten AM. Was relieved from picket
and reported to our brigade. Drew some 
rations, marched about two miles. AM
were drawn up in line of battle. Hard 
fighting with artillery. PM heavy
skirmishing until about six PM. Rebs 
fell back & we ___ about three miles.
Crossed the Paumanky river. Thank God 
for life and health.

May 10. Fighting commenced early in the 
morning and lasted until dark. Took a
severe shelling and Capt. Stone of our 
regt killed and Capt. Rimin severly
wounded at about 7 PM. Was formed in 
line and charged the enemy breastworks &
was taken prisoner. Loss very heavy in 
the charge.

May 11. Was marched to army headquarters. 
Artillery fighting all day.

May 12. Remained prisoner at arm. 
Headquarters, several prisoners brought in.

May 13. Still remain at Gen Lees HDQR.

May 14. Stayed at army H Quarters. 
Dull is a prisoners life.

May 15. Fell in at about three PM. 
Marched about 10 miles and stopped for the
night.

May 16. Marched very hard all day. 
Waded creeks, tired and footsore. 
Marched barefoot in the PM.

May 17. Marched very hard. Reached 
Gardensville at one PM. Night very cold and
had no blanket. The worst night that I 
ever spent soldiering.

May 18. Remained at Gardensville until 
about dark. Took the train for
Lynchburg, rode all night.

May 19. Arrived at Lynchburg at ten AM. 
Marched about one mile out of the town
and camped in the field. Had a good wash.

May 20. Took the cars at Lynchburg for 
Dansville. Rode all day and all night.
Very tired.

May 21. Arrived at Dansville about ten AM. 
Went into a large brick prison.

May 22. Took the cars at 7 AM, passed 
through Dansville, Greensborough,
changed cars at the latter place. Passed 
through Jamestown at sun down. Rode all 
night, arrived at Charlotte at day light 
and changed cars.

May 23. Changed cars and took the 
Charlotte & South Carolina railroad. Passed
through Chester S.C. about 12 N. PM passed 
through Winsborough and near Seangletown. 
Changed cars just dark at Columbia. Rode 
all night.

May 24. Arrived at Ambery ten AM. 
Crossed the Savannah river into Augusta,
Georgia and changed cars. A fine shower. 
Rode all night, very tired.

May 25. Arrived at Americus, Ga 2 PM. 
In prison with about 1600 men. Said to be
a sixteen acre lot. Very warm.

May 26. In prison and what shall I write. 
Nothing to do but read my Testament and 
think of home and the happy time that I 
enjoyed there. And of when this cruel 
war will be over and I with the rest of 
my comrades be permitted to return to 
those we love most dearly. God grant 
that the time may not be far distant.

May 27. Still in prison and nothing to 
do but live in hopes of a pleasant life
in the future. Very hot weather.

May 28.  no entry

May 29. A bright Sabbath day spent in a 
gloomy prison.

May 30, 31. no entry

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