1864-65: Diary of Josiah Joshua Shuman


Josiah Joshua Shuman in civilian attire (probably post-war)

This daily diary was kept by Josiah Joshua Shuman (1837-1926) during his service in the Union army during the Civil War. Josiah was the son of Benjamin Shuman (1799-1870) and Mariah Wallace (1802-1885) of Mowersville, Pennsylvania. Josiah was a 25 year-old school teacher in Washington, Pennsylvania, when he registered for the draft in June 1863. He subsequently enlisted on 13 September 1864 in Co. I, 198th Pennsylvania Infantry as a private. National Park Service records indicate Josiah was wounded in fighting near the White Oak Swamp, Virginia, and “unaccounted for” on 31 March 1865. If true, his wounds were insufficient to preclude his remaining with the regiment as his own diary will attest.

After the war, Josiah returned to Pennsylvania where he resumed teaching school. In 1870, he was teaching in Lurgan, Franklin county, Pennsylvania. Three years later, Josiah married Annis Rebecca Uhler (1849-1926) of Chambersburg and together they had at least nine children.

Josiah’s younger brother, Simon Shuman (1842-1864), was not fortunate in his military service. Simon — a plasterer from Lurgan, Pennsylvania — was drafted in 1863 and mustered into Company D of the 148th Pennsylvania on 28 August. On-line family records indicate that Simon was captured and died at Andersonville Prison in 1864. See — 1863: Simon Shuman to George H. Mowery

[Editor’s Note: This diary transcription was submitted to me for publication by descendants of Josiah J. Shuman hoping that it may prove useful to historians and that it may lead them to the discovery of the original diary which was once held by a relative. See notes below the diary.]


August 1864
30 — Left home Aug 30th to enlist in army.


Col. Horatio G. Sickel

31 — Enlisted in the 198 Reg. under Col. [Horatio Gates] Sickel at Philadelphia. Entered Camp Cadualader.

September 1864
18 — Left the same.
19 — Left Baltimore. Arrived at Washington.
21 — Left Washington.
22 — Arrived at City Point.
23 — Left City Point. Arrived at Bermuda Hundred.
24 — Left Bermuda Hundred. Arrived at City Point. Left City point. Arrived at Weldon Rail Road.
25 — Encampt.
26 — Drill in camp.
27 — ” ” ”
28 — On picket for first time. First head louse caught and killed. A member of Co. H. shot himself through the foot.
29 — Still on picket. Weather fair. Picket drawn in at 3. o’clock. 198 Reg. expected to leave any hour, having everything in readiness.
30 — Moved in line of battle toward the Danville R. R. Took a line of breastworks & 3 forts.

October 1864
1 — Threw up and improved the works.
2 — Moved in line of battle again, but the day closed without being engaged. Threw up
entrenchments in evening.
3 — Lying behind the breastworks & improving them.
4 — Still in the works doing nothing, in the evening marched [?] of a mile to the rear &
5 — Improving tents & drilling.
6 — Drill in camp. The 21st Reg. left our corps to be mounted.
7 — Policed the streets of our camp.
8 — Rec’d orders to march, but in the evening they were countermanded.
9 — Preaching & dress parade.
10 — Drill in camp.
11 — Election held. 26 votes cast in Co. I, 23 of which were Republican & 3 Democratic.
12 — Drill 12th & 13th both.
14 — Drill & a deserter shot for deserting to Rebel ranks, captured by the same camp from which he deserted.
15 — General inspection.
16 — Visited Joseph Taylor & while being away, our Brig. moved the right in the rear of the
17 — Improving our streets & tents. Secretary of War expected but did not come.
18 — General Meade & Staff rode along the lines.
19 — Practiced skirmish drill for the first time.
20 — Skirmish drill.
21 — Drill.
22 — W[alker] R. Bittner sent to the Hospital.
23 — Inspection morning. Preaching at 2 o’clock & dress parade in the evening.
27 — Started on a march to the left of our line and returned on 28th. From Oct. 28 till Nov. 8. Nothing of importance done in camp, drill &c.

November 1864
8 — Election held, 47 votes cast in Co. I, 27 for Lincoln & 20 for Little Mac.
9 — Ordered to put up winter quarters.
10 — Ordered out on picket.
11 — Still on picket duty.
12 — ” ” ” ”
13 — Relieved.
14 — Putting up tents.
15 — General inspection
16 — Company drill.
17 — Policing streets & quarter inspection.
18 — Building 2nd Lieutenant’s tent, but did not complete it.
19 — Raining. Nothing done but regular camp duty.
20 — Raining.
21 — ”
22 — Morning sky clear and sun shining clear. Evening cloudy.
23 — Clear but cold. Captain’s tent began to be built but not finished. Orders read at head of companies concerning the one day’s ration system.
24 — Thanksgiving Day. President’s Proclamation read to Reg. on dress parade by the Chaplain.
25 — Camp drill &c.
26 — Drill & Captain’s tent nearly finished.
27 — Company inspection. Visit paid us by John Breckenridge & Wise.
28 — Detailed for picket.
29 — All quiet on the picket line. Division review.
30 — Still on picket. Weather fair.

December 1864
1 — Relieved of picket duty.
2 — Brigade drill.
3 — No drill, but dress parade.
4 — Company inspection. Brigade dress parade in the evening.
5 — Brigade drill. Preparations being made for a move.
6 — Moved from camp & marched some 3 or 4 miles & tented in the wilderness for the night.
7 — Marched at 6 o’clock & reached the Nottoway R. about 4 P. M. Took supper & slept till
about 2 A. M.
8 — We then crossed the river on the pontoons & marched till daybreak, when we stopped to make coffee, being detained one hour. Passed Sussex C. H. about 9 o’clock A.M. Dec. 8th, 1864, & marched till within one mile of the Weldon R. R. There we stopped and took
supper at 6 o’clock & supported the party which were tearing up the roads on the skirmish
line till 12 o’clock then retired.
9 — Started again & went towards Hicks Ford until about 2 o’clock P. M. where we stopped to tear up the R. R. Worked at that about 2 hours, and then went into the camp for the night.
10 — Packed up again at dawn of day and marched back by a different route till within 2 miles of Sussex C. H. & encamped again for the night.
11 — Started again at dawn and passed the C. H. and crossed the Nottoway R. & encamped again for the night.
12 — Started again at break of day and marched back to the place where we encamped on the night of the 6th. Reached the place about 2 o’clock. We then pitched tents & made ourselves as comfortable as possible.
13 — Having no orders to move, we lay in our camp & rested ourselves.
14 & 15th — doing nothing.
16 — Preparing for inspection.
17 — General inspection.
18 — Sunday―line struck for our camp.
19 — On picket.
20 — ” ”
21 — ” ”
22 — Relieved of picket duty. Returned to camp & commenced building the tents of our new camp.
23 — Building tents. Col. [Horatio G.] Sickel returned from his 20-day furlough.
24 — Building tents.
25 — Christmas. Some of the men worked till 3 o’clock when the axes were turned in. Preaching at 3 P. M.
26 — Building tents.
27 — Church commenced.
28 — Building tents.
29 —  ”  ”
30 — Doing nothing.
31 — Weather unfavorable for tent building. Raining & snowing all day, camp guard called out at night to stop the men from firing off their pieces.

January 1865
1 — Weather clear & cold with a little snow on the ground.
2 — Church building resumed & the Parsonage began.
3 — Building church & Chaplain tent. Shift of snow fell in the evening.
4 — Still at church & tent. Snow all melted away during the day, sun shining bright.
5 — Working at the church and chaplain’s tent. The body of the Rebel Captain removed from the middle of our lines to their own by orders of Gen. Grant.
6 — James B. Slaymaker left our shanty to drive an ambulance. Heavy rain in P. M.
7 — Weather clear. Great house roofed. Street policed. Chaplain’s tent roofed, floor put in.
8 — Company inspection. Preaching at 2 o’clock P. M. Dress parade at 4 P. M.
9 — Chaplain’s tent finished. Brig. dress parade.
10 — Nothing done in the way of working.
11 — Paving streets commenced. Building church.
12 — Working at church & Pavements.
13 — Putting seats in church.
14 — Church finished & boots received from V. Kriner, Waynesboro, Franklin Co., Penna.
15 — Church dedicated. Sermon preached from the 1st verse of the 122nd Psalm. Also preaching in the evening, sermon preached by Chaplain 189 P. V.
16 — general inspection of arms & quarters.
17 — Paving our streets.
18 — On guard duty.
19 — Washed shirt and drawers in the morning, and were stolen in the evening. Batallion Drill.
20 — Police duty in morning. Batallion Drill in evening.
21 — Did nothing in the way of camp duty. Rec’d a book from the library viz. Pioneer Boy
22 — Preaching in afternoon.
23 — Reported at Fort Stevenson and returned the book & rec’d another― Chambers Papers for the People vol. 3.
24 — Toothache all day & experienced an unsuccessful attempt to draw the tooth.
25 — Visit paid us by Cyrus Hazelet & Joseph Taylor. Batallion Drill in evening.
26 — On guard duty.
27 — The whole Reg. called out in afternoon to do police duty.
28 — On police duty. Batallion Drill in evening.
29 — Sunday. Company inspection in morn. Preaching in afternoon. Dress parade in eve. W[alker] R. Bittner returned to the Reg. from Hospital.
30 — Company drill in morn. Detailed to work at the Asst. Surgeon’s tent.
31 — Company drill in morn. Batallion Drill in evening.

February 1865
1 — [no entry]
2 — On guard duty.
3 — Washing & Batallion Drill.
4 — On Fatigue duty putting floor in guard house. Rec’d orders to march with 4 day’s rations.
5 — Started on our march at 6 o’clock & marched towards the South Side R. R. After marching some 12 or 15 miles, we encamped for the night.
6 — But as the Rebs seemed to threaten our flank we retraced our steps starting at 12 or 1
o’clock and marched back about 5 or 6 miles. Halting at day dawn on the morn of the 6th at
Hatcher’s Run where we remained until 4 o’clock when we were marched into a fight with
the rebs and drove them into their works. The engagement closing with our Brig. at
sundown, although the fight was kept up with them till after dark. Our Brig. remained in line of battle all that night and…
7 — on the morning of the 7th were again advanced to support the skirmishers line. The skirmishers firing ceasing in a short time we went back to the run again leaving the artillery & cavalry to take care of the rebs in our front.
8 — Still at the same place all being quiet along the lines.
9 — At the same place. Commenced to build a fort on the north side of the Hatcher’s run.
10 — Detailed on picket duty, the regiment remaining at the works.
11 — Picket line drawn in.
12 — Still on picket. One reb citizen brought in.
13 — Relieved of picket duty.
14 — Putting up shanty.
15 — On fatigue putting up abatises.
16 — Working at shanties.
17 — Inspection of arms.
18 — Finished out shanty.
19 — Sunday. Rested. Dress parade in evening. J[ohn] M. Shearer started home on furlough.
20 — On picket duty.
21 — ” ” ”
22 — Relieved of picket duty. Brig. review at 2 o’clock P. M. Visit paid us by Joseph Taylor.
23 — Wrote a letter to J. J. Miller & David Barnhart.
24 — Improving our tent. Dress parade.
25 — Wrote a letter to William Mowery.
26 — Sunday inspection. Dress parade in evening. Signed the payroll.
27 — Rec’d 4 month pay & first instalment of the Gov. Bounty.
28 — Mustered for two month more pay. C[harles] W. Taylor left for home on furlough.

March 1865
1 — On fatigue
2 — Did nothing.
3 — Got an Ambrotype taken
4 — Policed the Company streets.
5 — Company inspection.
6 — On picket. J[ohn] M. Shearer returned from home.
7 — On picket. 12 rebs came in on our line.
8 — Relieved of picket.
9 — Wrote 4 letters.
10 — Did nothing.
11 — Visited by C[yrus] Hazelet.
12 — Dress parade in evening.
13 — Policed the street and company drill in the forenoon & Brig. Drill in afternoon.
14 — Skirmish drill in forenoon & Corps review in afternoon. Rec’d orders to be ready to move. Sutler left late in evening.
15 — S[amuel] Sentman left camp for home on furlough. Sent our surplus baggage to City Point.
16 — Company drill in forenoon. Corps review in afternoon.
17 — C[hales] W. Taylor returned from home. Horse race in evening.
18 — Majority of company on fatigue duty. Dress parade in evening.
19 — Inspection in morning.
20 — On fatigue duty in morn. Division review in afternoon & dress parade in evening.
21 — Company drill in forenoon & afternoon.
22 — Company drill in forenoon & Batallion Drill in afternoon.
23 — General inspection.
24 — Company drill.
25 — Our lines attacked by the rebs. 1st Div. called out early in the morning & was on the reserve all day but not engaged [with] rebs. [Robert] Harvey [of] Co. I wounded. Came back to our quarters about nine o’clock at night. Fort Stedman.
26 — Rec’d orders to be ready to move at a moments notice. On picket. Relieved in the evening by the 2nd Corps.
27 — Still in camp ready to move. Batallion Drill in afternoon.
28 — Still in camp ready to move.
29 — Moved off in the direction of the South Side R. R. Met the enemy in the evening and had a fight with them. J[ohn] M. Shearer wounded.
30 — Lay [bivouacked] on the battle field all day.
31 — Moved in toward the front and were in line of battle all day. In the evening retook the
ground which the 3rd Div. lost in the morning. Lt. [A. A.] Pomeroy & N[oah] H. Shearer killed.

April 1865
1 — Started in the morning and moved to the left of the line and met Gen. Sheridan’s Cavalry about noon. In the evening marched to the front and aided in capturing a line of reb works and a lot of prisoners. Five Forks.
2 — Started about 11 o’clock marched to the South Side R. R. Finding no enemy we marched toward Petersburg & encamped for the night about 9 or 10 mi south of Petersburg.
3 — Marched all day toward the Danville R. R.
4 — Continued our march toward the Danville and reached it about dark & commenced
fortifying ourselves.
5 — Lay in the works all day.
6 — Started on our march toward the Appomattox C. H. Encamped for the night at 1/2 past 8 o’clock.
7 — Marched again at 6 o’clock and reached Prince Edward C. H. at 9 o’clock P. M. and
encamped for the night.
8 — Continued our march after the Rebs. Stopped at midnight nothing of interest having
transpired during the day.
9 — Marched at 4 o’clock & reached the Appomattox about 10 o’clock when and where the Rebs were entirely surrounded by the Union Troops & Gen Lee Surrendered his whole forces consisting of 35,000 troops.
10 — Encamped at Appomattox.
11 — Moved ½ mi to the east and encamped.
12 — Marched out to receive the rebs arms and then came back to camp.
13 — Laying in camp doing nothing.
14 — ” ” ” ” ”
15 — Moved at 1 o’clock toward Berksville. Encamped in the woods for the night.
16 — Easter Sunday. Started at 6 o’clock and marched to Farmersville. Distance 17 miles.
17 — Started at 8 o’clock from Farmersville & marched about 4 miles beyond Berksville &
encamped in the wilderness.
18 — Established a temporary camp.
19 — In Camp.
20 — Moved toward Berksville till 4 o’clock.
21 — Marched at 6 o’clock. Marched till about 3 o’clock.
22 — Started at 11 o’clock & marched 1 1/2 miles & encamped at White Oak Hospital.
23 — Laying in camp.
24 — Laying in camp. On guard duty at night.
25 — Order read to the Reg. relating to the badge to be worn for the death of Pres. Lincoln.
26 — Still in camp doing nothing.
27 — ” ” ” ” ”
28 — Gen. inspection of arms.
29 — S[amuel] H. Witter started home on furlough.
30 — Mustered in for two more months pay.

May 1865
1 — Marched at 6 o’clock & stopped for the night within 6 miles of Petersburg.
2 — Orders to move. Drew 3 days rations.
3 — Moved through Petersburg and encamped for the Manchester.
4 — Moved about 8 miles nearer Manchester & encamped.
5 — Packed at 9 o’clock but orders being countermanded, we pitched tents & remained in camp till 9 o’clock on the 6th.
6 — Marched in review through Richmond and reached Hanover C. H. about 8 o’clock P. M. having marched 18 miles in the afternoon.
7 — Started at 11 o’clock and marched across the Chickahominy R. Went into camp about
sundown. (Pamunkey)
8 — Moved off at 6 A. M. & marched across the Mattaponi R. about sundown & encamped for the night.
9 — Marched at 5½ o’clock. Passed through Bowling Green in morning & crossed the
Rappahannock at 4½ o’clock. P. M. Encamped 1½ miles N. of Ford’g.
10 — Started at about 7 o’clock and passed Stafford C. H. Crossed Aquia Creek. Camped about sundown.
11 — Moved at 6 A. M. Crossed Occoquan Rover on pontoons in evening. Went into camp about 9 o’clock.
12 — Marched at 6. Passed Fairfax C. H. about 7 A. M. Reached Arlington Heights about 4 P. M.
13 — Lay in camp.
14 — ” ” ”
15 — Changed the location of the camp.
16 — Laying in camp.
17 — In camp doing nothing.
18 — ” ” ” ”
19 — S[amuel] H. Witter returned from furlough.
20 — Turned in our ammunition & received our surplus baggage.
21 — Laying in camp doing nothing.
22 — General Presentation inspection.
23 — Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac.
24 — Gen. Sherman’s Army Review.
25 — Still in camp. General’s Illimination in evening.
26 — Rec’d our Muster Out Rolls.
27 — Doing nothing.
28 — Camping inspection. Dress parade in evening.
29 — Doing nothing.
30 — ”
31 — 185 Reg N. Y. V. left our Brig. for home.

June 1865
1 — Made out the muster out rolls.
2 — Doing nothing.
3 — Escorted Brig Gen. Pearson & the 155th Reg. P. V. to the Long Bridge. Mustered out of
service after which orders came to make out a new set of Muster Rolls for the transferred
men. Finished the 2nd of Rolls about midnight.
4 — Rolls finished & Transferred men. Mustered out.
5 — Broke camp at 5 o’clock and marched to Washington. Took transportation to Philadelphia and at 5 o’clock in evening and Baltimore 9 o’clock P. M.
6 — Arrived at Philadelphia. 9 o’clock A. M. June 6th. Eat breakfast at Cooper’s Institute.
7 — Nothing doing in camp.
8 — Turned in our Government Property.
9 — Doing nothing.
10 — Review in the city but Co. I did not go.
11 — Doing nothing.
12 — Discharged, paid off, & started for home.
13 — Arrived at home.

Message from Submitter of Diary:

My father, Frederick Gale Shuman (now  deceased),  was intensely interested in his family genealogy and before his death was able to amass a number of records and materials about Josiah and Simon Shuman — brothers — who fought for the Union during the Civil War. My sister and I have taken up our dad’s research to try to extend what he found. I am intensely interested and excited to have seen the Simon Shuman letter, as it is one that we had not known existed.

I have a transcript of a diary written by Josiah that he kept during his stint in the Union Army. The original resided with my father’s aunt, and I do not know its present whereabouts; but my father transcribed it back in the 1980s, and I copied and posted it recently on my Ancestry.com page. I would be VERY interested to share other letters and artifacts I have from the Shuman family and to communicate with anyone who can share similar information with me. If you are interested, please e-mail me — deb[dot]shuman@icloud.com — and thank you for helping to preserve the memories of our ancestors.

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