One of my prized possessions is a replica of the diary that my great-great-grandfather Charles F. Nelson kept while in the army during the Civil War. The diary was self-published by Franklin Vance Nelson, grandson to Charles and first cousin to my grandfather Franklin Jesse Nelson. Pappy, as we called my grandfather, gave me this copy of the diary because of my life-long interest in the Civil War.
As we are now in the midst of the 150th anniversary observance of that great conflict, the idea occurred to me that I could share CFN’s experiences with a wider audience through this blog. The unfortunate thing is that he didn’t really write in depth about his battle experiences. His daily entries are terse, but they do give the reader an idea of the duties, illnesses and long marches that he and his comrades endured during their service. Although he doesn’t write in great detail, Charles was witness to some of the most important events of the war, including the Siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, Sherman’s March to the Sea, and even the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, DC.
This may be an uninteresting experiment, but I plan to transcribe CFN’s diary one month at a time as it was written 150 years ago. If you’re a student of history, and the Civil War in particular, you may find an interesting tidbit or perspective as we go along.
For my part, I have a great respect of those who served our country throughout its long history, especially those members of my own family. So, it is for their posterity that I do this.
The photo shown with this entry shows my great-great-grandfather Charles F. Nelson in the center with his fife. He enlisted as a member of the 12th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment’s color guard. A brief account of the regiment’s service can be found in this article on Wikipedia.