This is the diary kept by Charles F. Nelson during his service in the United States Army in the Civil War for a period of almost three years. He entered the service as a volunteer about three weeks before his 38th birthday. The first year was disheartening and he had frequent and prolonged illness. After the first year of servie, though there is a period of four and a half months for which there is no record, his entries indicate that he had become inured to the life, as he was able to go along with his company from week to week with much less illness, though the after years proved he was weakened and his health permanently impaired. He did not record military life as many may regard it. He wrote nothing of personal experiences in battle. But if a soldier’s life is marching, camping, in cold and in heat, in rain, snow or fair weather, and of scout and picket duty, then he has left a record. His faith in God and his gratitude for his life being spared are often recorded.
The diary is contained in three books and is generally well preserved. Parts of it required very close examination because of fading ink or blurred pencil. In general, most doubtful parts are answered by reading further, but some puzzles remain and are contained herein. In this copy, what he wrote appears here in script, if dates were printed in the book, they appear here typewritten. The decision to print this in handwritten form is based on a general similarity to the original, and the practical one of economy. (Further notes may be found in the last pages of the book.)
The one thought which comes to this reader is Grandfather’s constant devotion to God and family just as truly as his devotion to his country. I hope that each one of his descendants will read and preserve his copy in memory of his grandfather or great-grandfather.
F.V.N. stands for Franklin Vance Nelson. He was the son of Thomas Nelson, who was the son of Charles F. Nelson. Thomas Nelson was the youngest sibling of Jesse Franklin Nelson.
This blog is presented by Steven Nelson whose lineage to Charles F. Nelson is as follows:
Charles F. Nelson
Jesse Franklin Nelson (son)
Franklin Jesse Nelson (grandson)
Philip Edward Nelson (great-grandson)
Steven C. Nelson (great-great-grandson)
Although the Foreword mentions the entries being written in script, a consistent typeface has been used throughout this blog.