The following notes were added at the end of the reprinted diary that was compiled by my relative Franklin Vance Nelson, in 1959:
There are four books of the diary, and only three were used in making this copy. One book covers the same period as one other. It appears to have been written later, possibly after Grandfather’s return home. It differs but little, does have occasional summaries of short periods rather than day to day entries, and also contains a longer account of the disastrous fire at Columbia, S. C. on February 17, 1865. This book gives no help in the case of the four days which must be blank due to blurred writing in the original.
The first of the three books is a pocket diary. Entries began August 12, 1862, at the end of the boo,the entries continue at the first (Jan.) so that at August 12, 1863 the book was filled. There is a blank of 4 1/2 months for which there is no record.
As of December 26, 1863 the record continues. At first it is a summary or story from, but after a while there is again a day to day record. The third book, from March 24, 1865 to the end, June, 16, 1865, is a pocket diary, similar to the first, a little smaller in size.
There are many memoranda and temporary records in the latter pages of the books. Some of them are: a copy of a letter written from camp to church at home, copies of verses or poems sent to Grandmother which relate to their love for one another, list of letters written home, which after early 1864, he marked by numbers as he did also the letters received from home, there are references to religious services at camp, and Bible texts used and name of Chaplain, many accounts of money owed or owing, sometimes between two other persons, many names of Confederate soldiers and unit, likely wounded prisoners being cared for at the hospital, there are some names of officers and unit, and many other items so as to make it seem desirable to include some of the material in this book.
In carrying out the project of making this copy, I have had the benefit of counsel and other aid including sharing expense, of my brothers Lee and Bryce, and without their encouragement I might not have undertaken it. We three are the sons of Thomas, the youngest of the seven children of Charles F. Nelson and Mary Nelson
Franklin Vance Nelson