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Original Civil War Diary of Union Lieutenant
[New Bern NC], [1865]. Near Fine. A fascinating handwritten pocket diary kept contemporaneously by Union Army Lieutenant Lowell Nichols from January to April 1865 while stationed in New Bern, NC. Someone wrote in pencil on the free front endpaper "Diary of Lieutenant Lowell Nichols husband of Aunt Mary Nichols. Lieutenant Nichols was literate and wrote well. His diary covered the period when Richmond fell, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and General Robert E. Lee surrendered. He at first recorded the routine and somewhat tedious days of drilling, marching, and target shooting after he arrived. But those days soon ended as his troop was sent to scout for and skirmish with Confederate soldiers ("Rebs"), and the war became very real. The diary starts when he is deployed to New Bern to serve under a Captain Greely. Nichols is pleased with his station, writing that he "strolled about town to see the pretty girls and found lots of them. Should like to garrison the place for the rest of my term of service." He turned age 29 a few days after he arrived and commented that his late mother would have liked to have seen him set some resolutions. He thinks it better not to set them and then inevitably break them. While in camp he served as the Officer of the Day frequently, leading the marches and drills. But then he writes of marching towards the enemy, of skirmish lines, and enemy fire. On March 19th he records "Heavy firing of artillery heard in the direction of Goldsboro, perhaps Sherman is fighting there." A couple of days later he writes they expect to meet Sherman. On April 7 he writes"Hurrah! Huray!! Huroor!!! Richmond has fallen news just arrived everybody wild with joy Bully for old U S Grant & Abe Bully for everybody 2500 prisoners & 500 pieces of artillery captured, Richmond & Petersburgh in our possession, Lee skedaddling westward & Grant pursuing...him...& his army...to Hell the final home of all traitors..." On April 16: "The terrible news of the murder of President Lincoln has just been sent officially over the wires to General Harland & the headquarters. Flag is mournfully floating at half mast in respect to the illustrious dead, the tidings have fallen on the army with sudden & terrible effect we had not dreamed that such a calamity could befall us & we cannot realize that it is so..."He writes on April 19 "Sessation [sic] of Hostilities and Peace soon to be proclaimed from the Potomac to the Rio Grande." After he learns that the president's assassin is John Wilkes Booth, the actor, he writes of the "Son of a Bitch"...can perform once more on the stage with a rope around his neck." Nichols recorded his words in both pen and pencil. Some of the pencil entries are very light and not easy to read. In addition to the diary there are a about six pages recording purchases made for food and other supplies for the soldiers. Laid in is an authentic Bank note from the Bank of Tennessee for ten cents, dated Nashville December 1st 1861. Diary is bound in soft black leather with a flap that slides through a strip of leather to close it. Leather is worn and the flap is torn. Interior pages are very good except for a tear on the top right corner of the diary's title page. Diary included prefatory material on astronomy, postage rates, a calendar with moon phases, and taxes and stamp duties. 3 x 6 inches. About 138 handwritten pages. CIVWAR/100317.
      [Bookseller: The Kelmscott Bookshop]
Last Found On: 2017-10-12           Check availability:      Biblio    

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