*Website Curator's Note:  This diary has been transcribed without editing original spelling errors, punctuation etc.  Any additions by the transcriber are shown in 'Parantheses' and in a different font and color.  Illustrations are "thumbnailed', click to open., including ones above.

1863 Phineas Bird Diary

P. Bird, Com. C, 100th Regt PV

3rd. Brig. 1st. Div. 9th A.C.

Falmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Lexington, Camp Dick Robinson, Middleburg, Columbia, Snyder’s Bluff

Phineas Bird’s Diary

Commencing  January 1st. 1863

Phineas Bird, Company C, 100th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

1              January 1 A.D. 1863

Thursday 1st.

Wrote a letter home No. one.  Had a merry time in camp but nothing of unusual importance occurred.

Saturday 3rd.

On picket duty along the river.  The enemy threw bullets across to us marked with “Com C. 5th Texas”, “Goodnight boys” __.


2              Falmouth Va.

Sunday 4th

Marched to camp after being relieved by a part of the 79th N.Y. and were afterwards called out to brigade preaching which was conducted by our chaplin and the chaplin of 36th Mass.

Monday 5th

Reading “Rawson the Renegade or the Squatters revenge.”

Tuesday 6th

Grand review by Gens. Burnside and Sumner.


3          Falmouth, Va.

Wednesday 7th

On camp guard.

Thursday 8th

Joseph Gordon arrived and brought me a letter from home.

Friday 9th.

Battalion drill by Major Dawson.

Saturday 10th.

Reading the Venetian Outlaw.  Rain fell all day and made it very disagreeable.


4          Falmouth, Va.

Sunday 11th

Wrote a letter and attended preaching.

Monday 12th

On picket at the river.  Reading the “Hunted Chick.”

Tuesday 13th

We’re relieved of picket and marched to camp.

Wednesday 14th

Battalion Drill

Thursday 15th

On guard at Col. Leasure’s headquarters.  Plenty of rain all night.


5          Falmouth, Va.

Friday 16th.

Sent my diary for 1862 home.  Received orders to cook rations and to be ready to march next morning at an early hour.

Saturday 17th.

The marching orders were delayed indefinitely.

Sunday 18th

Clear and cold.  Remained in the tent reading “Oonamoo”.   Received a letter from D.M.Ward.

(Transcriber’s note: "Oonamoo" is definitely what it looks like written in the diary but I can find no references to this name on the internet, anywhere)

Monday 19th

Nothing going on in camp unusual.  Dress parade in the evening.


6          Falmouth, Va.

Tuesday 20th

Troops marching up the river.  Wrote to D.M Ward.

Wednesday 21st

On picket out along the river and were favored with a continuous fall of rain all night.  A house was burned in the town during the night and it made a brilliant light.

Thursday 22nd

Had a parley with the pickets on the other side who belonged to the 1st. South Carolina, Col. Edwards.


7          Falmouth, Va.

Friday 23rd

Wrote home.  The troops who marched up the river passed on their return to their former camps.

Saturday 24th

Visited Charles M. McCoy of the 140th Regt Pa. Vols.

Sunday 25th

On guard near Col. Leasure’s headquarters.  Received a letter from home.

Monday 26th

Spent the day refixing our tent with timber which we got at the camp of the 27th N.J.


8          Falmouth, Va.

Tuesday 27th

On picket reserve behind one of the batteries.  Rain all day and night.

Wednesday 28th

Commenced snowing at daylight and we had a disagreeable time night we reached camp after being relieved.

Friday 30th

Reading “Red Jack the Scout’s Rifle”


9          Falmouth, Va.

Saturday 31st

On brigade guard from dark until 9 o’clock P.M.

10        Falmouth, Va.

February 1st

Preaching by the chaplin.

Monday 2nd

Wrote to D.M. Ward.  Beautiful weather. Dress parade.

Tuesday 3rd

We’re called out for inspection but the order was countermanded on account of the cold.

Wednesday 4th

In the tent doing nothing as usual.

Thursday 5th

Went on picket along the river.  Very cold.


11        Falmouth, Va.

but moderated toward evening and snow and rain fell all night.

Friday 6th

We’re relieved by a part of the 50th P.V. Sergeant Cleland was buried on the funeral escort.  Orders to be ready to march.  (Transcriber’s Note: Sgt. Addison Cleland, Co. C, died February 5, 1863 of disease)

Saturday 7th

Wrote home. Fine day.

Tuesday 10th

Received orders to pack our knapsacks at 12 and we started for the station at 2 pm.

12        Potomac River

We marched to the station where after considerable delay we got on the cars and went to the mouth of the Aquia creek reaching the latter place after dark.  Our baggage was put a-board and we embarked on the “Sylvan shore”

Transcriber’s Note: Steamboat "Sylvan Shore", painting by James Bard (1815-1897), m. 19th Century, Collection of the New York Historical Society, Goache on Cardboard. http://www.bridgemanimages.com/en-GB/asset/192713/bard-james-1815-97/the-steamboat-sylvan-shore-gouache-on-cardboard/span>


Wednesday 11th

Started at daylight and went to the mouth of the Potomac river where we had to remain overnight as the Chesapeake bay was so rough that we could not venture out.


13        Newport News

Thursday 12th

Started at 8 A.M. and went to Fortress Monroe where we anchored.

Friday 13th

Went to Newport News and disembarked.  On fatigue duty unleashing baggage.  Made our camp in the evening. 

Saturday 14th

Carrying pine from the woods to fix our tent with.

Sunday 15th

On fatigue duty at the wharf unloading tents.


14        Newport News

Monday 16th

Playing ball on the parade ground.  (Transcriber’s Note: Ball likely being ‘baseball’)

Friday 20th

Putting up our new tents and improving our camp generally. 

Sunday 22nd

Cold and disagreeable.  Snow fell last night.

Wednesday 25th

Grand review.  Warm and pleasant.  Dress parade.

Thursday 26th

Company and battalion drill.  Was weighed and am


15        Newport News

 one hundred and ninety one pounds.  (Transcriber’s Note:  This is interesting.  In late 1861 and early 1862 when they were less active in South Carolina campaign he was gaining weight as he was weighed over his first months of service. Here, he was gaining even more though they were more mobile and you would think he would be losing weight.  It is suggested that Bird was still growing as he was only 20 years old in 1863 and was filling out into a strapping young man.)

Friday 27th

Company and battalion drill in the Forenoon and the same in the afternoon with dress parade in the evening.

Saturday 28th

On brigade guard. Lieut. Brigham (William F.), Com I, 36th Mass officer of the guard.  Inspection of arms, quarters, and knapsacks.  And muster for pay. Rec’d a letter from M. Fitzsimmons.

16        Newport News

March 1st 1863

Attended preaching.

Monday 2nd

Company and battalion drills in the forenoon and afternoon. Col. Leasure made a speech to the regiment on dress parade.

Tuesday 3rd

Company and battalion drills and dress parade.

Wednesday 4th

Regimental inspection, brigade drill, man-


17        Newport News

euvered by battalions closed “en masse”. Dress parade.

Thursday 5th

Company drill and dress parade.  Wrote to M. Fitzsimmons.

Friday 6th

Inspection by Captain Gilhan (Gilliland) of Company K who is acting inspector Gen.

Sunday 8th

Inspection, preaching, and dress parade.

Monday 9th

Company drill in the morning which was followed by Capt Cline drilling the bat. (battalion).


18        Newport News

Tuesday 10th

We were not called out to drill am today on account of the weather being disagreeable.

Wednesday 11th

The 8th Mich. Were presented with a flag in presence of the 1st Div.

Thursday 12th

On fatigue duty loading hay at the wharf.

Friday 13th

3rd Div. moved.  Company drill on breaking files from the flanks to the run.  Bat. drill by Captain Bentley.


19        Newport News

Saturday 14th

Brig. Drill.  Some resolutions were adopted by regiment and sent to be published. (Transcriber’s Note: These resolutions are summarized in this transcription of this newspaper article from the Mercer County Dispatch, March 27, 1863 as written from Newport News, March 14, 1863 ŕ http://www.100thpenn.com/mercerdispatch.htm)

 Sunday 15th

Inspection at 8 o’clock am

Monday 16th

The normal drills and dress parade.

Tuesday 17th

Company, Battalion and Brigade drills.  Received orders to cook two days rations.

Wednesday 18th

The order to cook rations was countermanded.  Inspections.  Wrote home.


20        Hampton.

Thursday 19th

Marched to Hampton and bivouaced.

Friday 20th

In Hampton all day.  Considerable snow fell.

Saturday 21st

Started in the evening and marched to Fortress Monroe where we went aboard the steamer John Brooks.

Transcriber’s Note: Steamer John Brooks.  Watercolor by Edward Lamson Henry, November 1864

Sunday 22nd

Started early up the Chesapeake bay.  Pleasant day and the water calm.  Had good quarters & a fine time generally.


21        “en Route”

Monday 23rd

Arrived at Baltimore & disembarked at Boyce’s Wharf, Locust Point.  Went aboard the cars at dark & slept on them.

Tuesday 24th

Left Baltimore at noon on the Balt. & Ohio R.R.  Passed the Relay House 9am.  From B. from which we followed the Patapsco River towards it’s source.  Passed Llchester, a neat village on the North side of the river and also Elysville (now Alberton) on the south side of the river.  Still further

Transcriber’s Note: Union soldiers along the Balt. & Ohio RR in front of the Relay House. 


22        En Route                                                                                                        

Up we passed Marriottsville, Woodstock station and Dykesville.

Wednesday 25th

Breakfasted at Harper’s Ferry, crossed over into Virginia and made our way slowly to the westward.  Crossed the Shenandoah—passed through Martinsburg-Cherry Run & –Sleepy Creek & Hancock—Sir John’s run & Great Cacapon, Little Cacapon, Patterson’s creek and took dinner in Cumberland, the mountain city.  Between Martinsburg &


23        En Route

Cumberland the scenery was grand, wild & romantic.  Got aboard after dinner and went ahead passing Brady’s mill &, Rawlings &- Black Oak Bottom—New Creek and stopped an hour at Piedmont at dark.

Thursday 26th

Ate breakfast in Grafton & then went on through Webster-Bridgeport-Clarksburg-Salem-West Union-Central-Ellenboro-Cornwallis-Petroleum-Caring?-Kenawha-Claysville-Parkersburg

Transcriber’s Note: Baltimore & Ohio RR towns and places mentioned in Bird’s diary.


24        En Route

where we went aboard the steamer Jennie Rogers and started down the Ohio at 10 P.M.

Friday 27th

Passed Gallipolis, Ohio.  _______ Steamer Oman ascending the river with troops, Burlington, Big Sandy, Ashley, Sciotoville at the mouth of the little Scioto River, Steamer Lea Cross (Lacrosse) on which the 45th P.V. were embarked Portsmouth at the mouth of the south river Leniner, Manchester


25            En Route

on Manchester island, three Kentucky Ladies who were firing rifles on the shore, Ripley, Dover, Augusta, Steamer Leah, Erie; and arrived at Cincinnati.

Saturday 28th

Crossed the river to Covington where we took the cars on the K.C. RR.  Went through Cynthiana & Paris & arrived at Lexington.

Sunday 29th

Encamped in a beautiful walnut grove.  Went to the


26        Lexington

city.  Went to pray at the Second Pres (Presbyterian) Church of Lex (Lexington)

Monday 30th

Signed the payroll and were payed for 4 months or up to the 1st of March.  Went to town and had an oyster supper.

Tuesday 31st

Took a walk in the country.  Received a visit from Alpin (Alpine) Matheney of the 18th Ohio Battery.


27        Lexington

Words engraved on marble on the tomb of Henry Clay, Lexington, Kentucky.  “I can with unshaken confidence appeal to the Divine Arbiter for the truth of the dedication that I have been influenced by no impure purpose, no personal motive, have sought no personal aggrandizement but that in all my public  acts, I have had a sole and single eye, and a warm, devoted heart, directed and dedicated to what, in my best judgment, I believed to be the true interests of my country”

Transcriber’s Note: Tomb of Henry Clay, Lexington, Kentucky

The inscription in marble that Corp. Phineas Bird quotes in his diary entry from March 31st 1863 is seen in the photo on the right at the base of the tomb.


28        April 1863

Wednesday 1st

Inspection and battalion drill.  Fred  & I went to town and got our likenesses taken.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Fred is likely Corp. Fred Pettit, but also possibly Pvt. Fred Bauder, I lean toward Pettit since Pettit often mentions Bird in his letters and diaries. Not sure if there is any of these photographs that survived, Bird gets his likeness taken again in Knoxville, TN six months later, October 3, 1863 with Adison White.) 

Sunday, 5th

The 36th (Massachusetts) left in the direction of Covington.  In the evening inspection and dress parade.  Took a stroll in the country.

Monday, 6th

Went to the theater at night.  The three romances were


29        Camp Dick Robinson

“The Faint heart never won fair lady”, “20 minutes with a tiger” & “Dead Shot”.

Tuesday 7th

Working on the fort.  Rec’d marching orders.

Wednesday 8th

Marched from Lexington to Nicholasville a distance of 19 miles.

Thursday 9th

Marched from Nicholasville to camp Dick Robinson near _________.  Distance 14 miles.  Crossed the Kentucky River at noon.


30        Dick Robinson

Friday 10th

On camp guard.  Very warm.  General muster.

Saturday 11th

My twentieth birthday.  The 50th P.V., the 46th N.Y.V., the 27th N.J.V. under command of Col. Christ passed along the road in the direction of Tenn.  Very warm and rain at night.  Dress parade in the evening.  Wrote home.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Bird mentions it being his birthday on this day, April 11th and turning 20.  This is confirmed from other sources that he was born April 11, 1843.)

31        Dick Robinson

Sunday 12th

Company inspection.  On patrol with an order to arrest straglers (stragglers)

Monday 13th

Col. Leasure resumed command of the Regt. & Gen. Welch (Welsh) took command of the Brig.  Dress parade.

Tuesday 14th

Inspection & dress parade.

Wednesday 15th

Took a walk into the country.   Some prisoners were brought in.  Dress parade.


32        Dick Robinson

Friday 17th

On picket near Dix River.  Very warm. 

Saturday 18th

W. (Pvt. Winans) Watson & I took a tour to Dix River.  I had a splendid bath.

Transcriber’s Note:  Union soldiers bathing in a river.  Though this would have been a welcome relief to their wellbeing, it didn’t happen often enough as camps were typically overrun with uncleanliness. From Shorpy.com http://www.shorpy.com/node/3729?size=_original#caption.

Sunday 19th

Inspection of arms.  Wrote home.

Monday 20th

Grand Review by Gen. Welsh.   Preaching in the evening by Mr. Browne.

Transcriber’s Note: Chaplain Robert Audley Browne,
th Regt. Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, ‘The Roundheads’


33        Stanford (Tennessee)

Wednesday 22nd

Company drill and dress parade.

Thursday 30th

Left Camp Dick Robinson early marched to Stanford, a distance of 17 mi.  Passed through Lancaster on the route.


34        May 1863

Friday 1st

On provost guard in Stanford.  A prisoner escaped through a window of the Provost Marshall’s office but we recaptured him.  Marched to Hustonville a distance of 10 miles.

Saturday 2nd

Marched to Middleville (Middleburg) & encamped near a branch


35        Camp Leasure

of the Greeen River.  Marched about 9 miles.

Sunday 3rd

Was sent to guard a house with a squad of six men.  Stacked arms on the porch and slept a night. Wet day.

Monday 4th

Moved our camp a short distance down the stream.


36        Middleburg

Saturday 9th

Fisher, Tebay and S.A. White went home on a furlough.

Sunday 10th

Received a new Springfield rifle.  Inspection of arms.  Grand demonstration at night in hour of the supper.  Capture of Richmond.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Not sure what Corp. Bird is talking about here—possibly joking about capture of Richmond, VA which didn’t happen until the end of the war—or possibly he was permitted to test fire his new Springfield rifle in the evening and it caused a spectacle?   There is a Richmond, TN, but no record of any action there on May 10, 1863)

Monday 11th

Abandoned our camp to Middleburg.  The 45th (Pennsylvania Volunteers) went to Hustonville.


37        Middleburg

Tuesday 12th

On guard at the Post Comissaries.

Thursday, 14th

Were sent to the front to support the picket.

Sunday, 17th

Preaching in the camp.  Went out on picket in the evening.    

Wednesday 20th

Wrote to W.B. Cunningham.  Dress parade in the evening.


38        Liberty, Ky.

Friday 22nd

On guard at the Post Commissary’s with H.W. and Wine (Pvt. Winans) Watson and James (Pvt. of Co. C) Sullivan.

Saturday 23rd

Marched 10 miles passing through Liberty & encamping 2 miles below it on Green River.

Sunday 24th

Rested and cooked rations.  Received letters and wrote home.  Passed the day away very pleasantly.


39        Columbia, Ky.

Monday 25th

Marched at 5 A.M. and advanced 10 miles before dinner & five miles after.  Encamped on the south bank of the river near Neatsville.

Tuesday 26th

Reveillie beat at ˝ past 2 A.M. and started at 4.  Marched 15 miles and encamped near Russell’s creek not far from Columbia.  The march was executed before 10 A.M.


40        Columbia, Ky.

Wednesday, 27th

Started out on a scout the party consisting of two regiments of infantry, 400 cavalry and 1 section of artillery.  Left camp at 7 pm and marched 10 miles.

Thursday 28th

The cavalry went out on a scout.  Rested in the woods under birch trees.  Rained in the night.

Friday 29th.

Breakfasted at a country house.  Marched 8 miles


41        Columbia, Ky. 

to the westward and took up our quarters in a barn among the hay. 

Saturday 30th

Four prisoners were captured and brought in by the cavalry.  Marched 14 miles to our camp at Columbia.  The road was very bad and the rain fell in torrents.  Forded Russell’s creek & arived at camp about midnight.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Bird consistently misspells arrived as ‘arived’ throughout the diary.  He also misspells bivouacked as ‘bivouaced’; understandable as the noun is ‘bivouac’.)


42        Columbia, Ky.

Sunday 31st

Awoke very late in the morning.  Wrote home.  Had an inspection of arms at 4 P.M.


43        Columbia, Ky.

June 1863

Monday 1st

Stood picket on the Jamestown road in company with Leary, Aiken and Wine Watson.  We caught some stray horses and had a ride.

Tuesday 2nd

Were relieved by a part of the 79th N.Y.  Crossed Russell’s creek and encamped near Columbia.

Thursday 4th

Marched at 4 A.M.  Passed through Campbellsville & bivouaced. Made 23 ms. (miles) am.


44        En Route

Friday 5th

Marched to Lebanon a distance of 18 miles. Were payed off for two months.

Saturday 6th

Started on the cars at an early hour & passed through Louisville.  Crossed the Ohio.  Took the cars again at Jeffersonville. Went to Seymour and changed cars.  Went ahead on the St. Louis and Cin. (Cincinnati) R.R. all night.


45        Cairo, Ill.

Sunday 7th

Crossed White river, Wabash river and passing Summit, Fairmont, Clay City, Flora, Zenia and at Sandoval where we changed cars.

Monday 8th

Went from Sandoval to Cairo on the Ill Cen. (Central) R.R.  Got off the cars at Cairo, stacked arms and spent the day in the city.  Went aboard the steamer Alice Dean in the evening.

Transcriber’s Note: 1863 constructed Alice Dean, sidewheel steamboat.  Confederate John Hunt Morgan (“Morgan’s Raiders) burned the steamer in July 1863 after capturing and using it themselves for a short time.  Bird and the rest of the Roundhead Regiment used the steamer to transport to the Vicksburg, MS campaign under U.S. Grant.

46        Memphis, Tenn.

Tuesday 9th

Wrote a letter, took it ashore & put it in the office.  Started down the Mississippi stopped at Columbus, Ky.  Passed Island No. 10.  Tied up at night.

Wednesday 10th

Passed Fort Pillow (Transcriber’s note:  the Fort Pillow massacre happened a year later-1864) and arived at Memphis Tenn.  Got a pass and went ashore to behold the city and the wonders thereof.


47        En Route.

Thursday 11th

Remained all day at the wharf.

Friday 12th

Started early and steamed down the river.  Stopped at Helena, Ark. Passed Delta, Miss. And tied up at the mouth of White river near Napoleon.

Saturday 13th

Passed Tallula & Lake Providence.  Stopped for the night at Millikens Bend.


48        Young’s Point, La.

Sunday 14th

Went down to Young’s Point where we landed.  Firing all day and night from the mortars.  Vicksburg in sight.

Monday 15th

Marched across the Point to a place opposite Warrenton and below Vicksburg.  Went back in the evening to Young’s Point and went to bed.


49        Snyder’s Bluff, Miss.

Tuesday 16th

Got aboard the Sam Young and steamed up the Yazoo to Snyder’s Bluff where we tied up.  On guard.

Transcriber’s Note:  View of Snyder’s Bluff area in July 1863 with build up of union troops during siege on Vicksburg, MS.

 Wednesday 17th

Landed and encamped about three miles out along the Bluffs.

Saturday 20th

Heavy firing at Vicksburg in the morning.  Inspection by Captain Gilhan (Gilliland)

Transcriber’s Note: Captain Joseph Gilliland, Co. K mentioned often in Bird’s diary as conducting inspections (arms, knapsacks, etc.)

Monday 22nd

Received orders to be ready to march.


50        Flower Hill Church

Tuesday 23rd

Orders countermanded.  Part of the 18th Corps passed.

Wednesday 24th

Chopping timber in front of the rifle pits.

Transcriber’s Note:  A soldier’s rifle pit during the Civil War was different than modern soldiers as they did not typically carry entrenching tools.   A pile of logs arranged such as the artist’s sketch depicts would give rudimentary protection from the enemy.

Monday 29th

Left Mill-dale & marched to Flower Hill Church about 8 ms (miles).

Tuesday 30th

Were stationed at headquarters as a support of the picket.

51        Big Black River

July 1st, 1863.

Making our camp and gathering berries.

Saturday 4th

Marched 5 miles in the direction of the Big Black (River). 

5th Sunday                                                             

Marched across bear creek and bivouaced. 

Transcriber’s Note:  Image of rocky shoals on Bear Creek through Tishomingo State Park, MS.  The landscape that Bird and the Roundheads marched across in June and July of 1863 may have looked something like this.

6th Monday

Waiting for the pioneers to make a bridge across the river.  (Transcriber’s note:  Ditch diggers or other laborers were often referred to as ‘pioneers’).

7th Tuesday

Crossed the river.


Jackson, Miss (no page number)

Wednesday 8th

Marched 10 ms (miles) towards Jackson.

Thursday 9th

Marched all day.

Friday 10th

Marched all day & had a skirmish in the evening & took the Lunatic Asylum.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Not sure what Bird is referring to here regarding ‘Lunatic Asylum’ but he and his comrades may have felt a little crazy in the head after marching all day followed by a skirmish in the evening considering the high heat and humidity and lack of good water in the area).

Saturday 11th

Advanced to support the skirmishers in front of the enemy’s rifle pits.

 Jackson, Miss (no page number)

Sunday 12th

Were relieved by the 2nd Div. Gen. Potter and went up the river on picket to the Eubank Plantation. 

(Transcriber’s Note:  Some interesting history of the Eubank Plantation, also known as “Mall Bank” located about 3 miles north of Jackson, MS is presented on this website.  Apparently in 1871, the descendant owner of the Plantation Mary E. Eubank tried to claim $33,310 from the State of Mississippi government for use of her land by federal troops as a hospital and a laundry list of supplies such as crops and livestock to feed the northern soldiers at the time of the Vicksburg campaign.  http://www.ancestraljourneys.com/eubank_ware2_mississippi.htm)

 Monday 13th

 Marched to camp after dark.

Tuesday 14th

Advanced to the front and sup.d (suppered?).  The skirmishers on the left.

Wednesday 15th

Were sent back on pick (picket).


Jackson, Miss. (no page number)

Thursday 16th

On guard at picket Head Quar.

Friday 17th

Jackson evacuated.  Marched 8 ms. (miles) up the river and ___at a ford.

Saturday 18th

Marched to Madison Sta. Burned the sta. & tons supplies R.R.

Sunday 19th

Worked until noon and then marched to camp near Jackson.


Snyder Bluff, Miss. (no page #)

Monday 20th

Marched 18 ms. (miles) in the direction of the Big Black.  Passed _____ Sta.

Tuesday 21st

Passed through Brownsville & marched near the riv. 15 ms (miles)

Wednesday 22nd

Crossed the Big Black.

Thursday 23rd

Passed our former camp at Flower Hill Church & _____ Mill-dale.


(No page #)

Friday 31st

Marched to the landing in the evening and embarked on the steamer S. B. Hastings & loaded our baggage during the night.

(No page #)

 August. 1863

Sat. 1st

Steamed down the Yazoo river to its mouth & then up the Mississippi.

Sn. 2nd

Rain all day.

Mon. 3rd

Crossed Helena, Ark.  The wheel was broken & we stopped to repair it but soon started ahead again.

Tu. 4th

at Memphis & went ashore.


En Route (No page #)

Wedn. 5th                 

Went on up the river passing Forts Randolph & Pillow. Tied up at night and put out pickets.

Thur. 6

Passed island no. 10 & stopped a short time for wood in the evening.

Fri. 7th

Passed Columbus, Ky. and arived at Cairo Ill.  when we landed and went aboard the cars in the

En Route (No page #)

evening after dark & soon after started out.  Detailed on baggage guard.

Sat. 8th

On waking up found ourselves near Du Quoin (IL) and soon after stopped at Centralia (IL) for breakfast.  Then run to Sandoval where we changed cars taking the OH. M. R.R.  Passed Odin and Salem and stopped a few minutes at Xenia.  Then Clay City, Noble, Fairmont & Sumner.

Su. 9th

Passed through Mitchell (IN) early, run off the track at Browntown Sta. & got our dinner at Seymour (IN).  In the P.M. we passed Hardenburg (IN), North Vernon (IN), Nebraska (IN), Osgood (IN) & finally arived at Cinncinnati.  Was relieved from guard and partook of a supper prepared by the citizens.  Crossed over to Covington (KY) on a ferry boat and marched out to the barracks. 


En Route (No page #)

Mounted to a bunk which was about 10 feet from the floor & rough repose in this elevated position until morning.

Mo. 10th

Awoke rather late in the morning.  After breakfast advanced over the hill and plunged into Licking river.  After wriggling about for some time in the water we got out and shook ourself.  The regiment left the barracks at 4 P.M.


En Route (No page #)

& marched to the station & set out on the K.C.B.R.

Tu. 11th

After several unsuccessful efforts we succeeded in elevating ourself to a perpendicular position & found our corporal system much supine by being jolted about in the car during the night.  Entered Lexington early & after a short delay.


Camp Park (No page #)

moved on to Nicholasville where we disembarked & marched to Camp Nelson & pitched our tents. 

Fri. 14th

Moved camp two miles towards Nicholasville & found the brigade.

 Sat. 15th

Were payed off for two months

Mo. 17th

Went out on picket near the brick church.

Wedn. 19th

Major Cline drilled the Bat (Battalion).


Camp Park (No page #)

Thu. 20th

Was detailed on an Escort de Honor to attend the remains of Maj. Gen. Nelson to Camp Dick Robinson for burial.  Marched to Nicholasville & waited until the train arived with the _____ when we marched to Camp Nelson & bivouaced.  

(Transcriber's Note: Major General William "Bull" Nelson, a navy man and Kentuckian who was responsible for recruiting 10,000 pro union volunteers and helping to establish Camp Dick Robinson.  He was murdered by another officer, Jefferson C. Davis in a dispute on September 29, 1862 in Louisiville, KY.  The nearby Camp "Nelson" established by engineers under command of General Burnside is named in his honor.  All that remains of Camp Nelson is the cemetery there.  General Nelson's remains were moved from Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY in August of 1863 to Camp Dick Robinson.  At the request of his family, his final burial was his birthplace, Maysville, KY, where his remains were interred in 1872.)

Fri. 21st

Marched to Camp Dick Robinson where the funeral ceremony was performed in ______


Camp Park (No page #)

of a vast concourse of people.  Partook of a supper which the citizens had prepared & started for Camp Park at 4 P.M. and arived there soon after dark.   Marched 18 ms (miles) during the day.

Sat. 22nd

Took a stroll in the country.

Su. 23rd

Visited some of our friends who had peaches.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Civil War soldiers did enjoy food luxuries on occasion and canned peaches were accessible at times—most likely from sutlers that followed the army around.  Based on the time of year, it is possible he was referring to fresh peaches too.)

Mo. 24th

Went to the dentist & got our teeth pulled.


Crab Orchard, Ky. (No Page #)

Friday 28th

Marched from Camp Park to Camp Dick Robinson.

(Transcriber’s Note:  Sketch of Camp Dick Robinson, KY near Nicholasville.  From Harper's Weekly

Saturday 29th

Marched through Lancaster & encamped on the steepest hillside in the vicinity.

Sunday 30th

Marched through Crab Orchard and encamped 1 mile from it.  Preaching in the evening by the Chaplin.

Mo. 31st

Muster for pay.

En Route (No page #)

September 1863

Tuesday 1st

On picket guard on the Lancaster Road. 

Mo. 7th

Company & Battallion drills.

Thurs. 10th

Marched 10 miles towards Mt. Vernon.  Eight days rations in our knapsacks & haversacks.

Fri. 11th

Passed through Mt. Vernon, crossed Rock Castle Creek & passed Camp Wild Cat.


En Route (No page #)

Sat. 12th

Marched early.  3rd Brigade in front halted at the crossroads 47 miles from Richmond & 70 from Lexington.

Sunday 13th

Were payed off for the months of July & August.  Received $11.25 extra of clothing allowance. 

Monday 14th

Marched at 5 A.M. passing through Loudon.  Passed over two

 En Route (No page #)

 thousand prisoners of war in the P.M.  Marched 15 miles.

Tuesday 15th

Arived at Barboursville on the Cumberland river after a march of 14 miles.

Wednesday 16th

Marched 9 miles up the river.

17th & 18th

In camp resting.

Saturday 19th

Made a march of 10 miles crossing the river above ____ Lake.


En Route (No page #)

Sunday 20th

Marched 19 miles crossing the mountains at Cumberland Gap.

Monday 21st

Marched 18 miles crossing Powell’s River & passing through Tazewell (TN).

Tuesday 22nd

Marched to Morristown a distance of 21 miles.  Forded Clynch River.  Crossed Clynch Mountain-passed Bean’s Station-forded Holston river.


Knoxville, Tenn. (No page #)

Wednesday 23rd

Got aboard the cars at Morristown and through a mistake of the telegraph operator who sent the order we were sent to Greenville instead of Knoxville.  But the mistake being discovered we run from Greeneville to Knoxville.  Between Morristown & Greenville we passed Whitesburg, Rogersville Junction & _____Way.


Knoxville, Tenn (No page #)

Thurs. 24th

Encamped one mile from Knoxville up the Holston River.

Mon. 28th

Were waked up long before daylight & ordered to pack up.  Crossed the river at the ferry & took up position on the first hill we came to.  Our detachment consisting of 4 regiments (3rd Brig.) & 4 pieces of artillery took position to guard the road. Each piece being


(No page #)

supported by a regiment.  Heard heavy firing at Loudon Bridge. 

Tu. 29th

Went out on picket in the evening. 

Wedns. 30th

Were relieved from guard & marched to camp. 

Knoxville Tenn. (No page #)

October Thurs. 1st

Wet weather & nothing going on in camp.

Fri. 2nd

Wrote home.

Sat. 3rdAd. (Adison) White & I went over to town & got our photographs taken.

Transcriber’s Note:  Pvt. Adison White (left) and Corp. Phineas Bird get their likenesses taken in Knoxville, TN October 3, 1863.  It is easy to see this was the same photographer’s studio with the same card stock and similar pose.

--Images From The Civil War in Pennsylvania, A Photographic History, Kraus, Neville, Turner, 2012, Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, Images used with permission  .


Thurs. 8th

Marched to the K. A. Depot at Knoxville & awaited transportation.

Fri. 9th

Got aboard the cars & went to Rogersville Junction where we disembarked.  Gen. Burnside


Knoxville Tenn (No page #)

accompanied us on the route.

Sat. 10th

Marched to Blue Springs & engaged the enemy under Brig. Gen. Williams late in the evening.  Drove them about half a mile when night coming on closed the contest.  Lay on our arms during the night.

Su. 11th

We found that the enemy had retreated & we took up our


Knoxville Tenn. (No page #)

line of march in pursuit.  Made a march of 10 miles & captured the enemy’s wagon train.  Bivouaced near ____town.

Mo. 12th

Remained in camp.  The cavalry still being in pursuit. 

Tu. 13th

Marched to the rail-road about three miles from Blue Springs

Wedns. 14th

Marched to the junction of the Rogersville R.R.


Knoxville Tenn. (No page #)

Thurs. 15th

Marched to Morristown.

Fri. 16th

Got on the cars, went to Knoxville & encamped.

Sat. 17th

J.A. Craig & I went to the city. Mr. (Chaplain Robert Audley) Browne returned to the regiment & held service in the evening.

Mo. 19th

Built our tent up very nice in the forenoon & received marching orders in the P.M.


Loudon (No page #)

Tuesday 20th

Marched 15 miles down the river and bivouaced.

Wedns. 21st

Marched 11 miles and encamped about 4 miles from Loudon Bridge.

Thurs. 22nd

Marched to Loudon and encamped.

Sat. 24th

The cavalry advanced & engaged the enemies skirmishers for some time.

Mon. 26th

Went out on picket.  The rebel cavalry charged


Lenoir Station (No page #)

on the picket and captured two of the 20th Michigan.

Wedns. 28th

Retreated across the Holston (River), took up the pontons (pontoons) and run the locomotive which was on the S. side of the river into the stream.  Bivouaced at Lenoir Station. 

(Transcriber’s Note:  I’ve never heard this story—it sounds like several of the regiment were able to push a locomotive into a stream, thus rendering it useless to the Confederate army.  I can only imagine how this was accomplished—possibly using rope and/or chain, which would have been available.)  Damaging the enemy’s railroad lines was common practice, especially late in the war.  The image above shows soldiers bending hot rail around a tree (“Sherman Bow Tie”), thus making it unuseable during William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea. 

 Thurs. 29th

Moved camp about one mile and received orders to build winter quarters.

30th and 31st

Getting timber for our quarters.

November (No page #)

Su. 1st

The chaplin of the 20th Mich. Held service in our regt.

Mo. 2nd

On camp guard.

3rd and 4th

Engaged at our winter quarters.

Thurs. 5th

Inspection of arms by Captain Gilliland. 

Friday 6th

Were waked up at 10 P.M. & ordered to pack our knapsacks.

Sat. 7th

The company with the exceptions of Wm. Smiley and myself got on


Lenoire Sta. (No page #)

board the cars at two A.M. & went to Knoxville.  Smiley & I kept house for the Lieut.

Transcriber’s Note:  Sgt. William Smiley, Co. C, Michael Kraus Collection, Used with Permission.  All Rights Reserved.

Su. 8th

Sitting by the fire and waiting for something to happen.

Mo. 9th

The company came home in the evening without sustaining any loss whatever.

Wedns. 11th

Had a tooth pulling operation performed by the


Lenoire Sta. (No page #)

Surgeon.  (Transcriber’s Note:  This is the second entry by Bird mentioning issues with his teeth, though he never complains about this or anything in his diary—remarkable.)

Thurs. 12th

A ponton (pontoon) was thrown across the Holston above the mouth of the Little Tennessee.

Fri. 13th

Rec’d orders to remain in camp & be prepared for active operations.

Sat. 14th

Were ordered to pack up in the morning & we soon after started with the


On-the-march (No page #)

wagon trains for Knoxville.  The ponton bridge across the Holston was destroyed, the enemy crossing below Loudon.  Gen. Burnside arived at Lenoire & took command of the army in person. Considerable rain fell today.

Su. 15th

On our march towards Knoxville.  The train moved very slow as the road was bad.


Knoxville (No page #)

Mo. 16th

Arived at Knoxville & bivouaced with the train near the fair ground.   A part of Wilcox’s (Transcriber’s note: Gen. Orlando B. Willcox) troops arived on the cars.

Tues. 17th

Moved to the fort West of the town where we joined our brigade.  Our skirmishers were engaged about a mile in front of us all day.  Captain Critchlow returned from Cincinnati.  Slept


Knoxville (No page #)

at night in rear of the rifle pit.  The enemy made their camp to the North West of our position.

Wedns. 18th

The enemy advanced their line & drove our skirmishers in.

Thurs. 19th

Went out as sharpshooter & got wounded in the head.  Was taken to the Hospital in the evening. (Transcriber’s Note:  Bird was back at his diary only 5 days after getting wounded in the head!  He returns to service in April of 1864 after a February 1864 furlough and gets shot in the head AGAIN at The Battle of the Mine Explosion, July 30, 1864.)


Knoxville (No page #)

Tues. 24th                                                                                                                                                                                          

The 2nd Michigan charged on the enemy and took their first line of rifle pits but could not hold it. 

Wedns. 25th

The surgeon performed an operation on my head.

Su. 29th

The rebels charged on Fort Saunders three times but were repulsed every time.  The enemy


Knoxville (No page #)

lost over one hundred killed besides several stands of collors (colors) & about three hundred prisoners.

Transcriber’s Note:  Please visit this link to get more history of the Battle of Fort Saunders and the Roundheads involvement.  Two Roundheads were killed there, Pvts. Isaac Garretson and Aaron Templeton, of Co. A.

Knoxville (No page #)

December 1863

Sat. 5th

Gen. Sherman came up to our relief & the enemy ran away.  The 9th corps followed the enemy in the direction of Strawberry plains.

Wedns. 9th

One brigade of troops from Kingston passed through town.           

Sat. 12th

Rec’d two months pay.


Knoxville (No page #)

 Tues. 15th

Took a stroll in town for the first time since I was wounded.  (Transcriber’s Note: It was very common for soldiers to complain about their discomforts, illnesses and war wounds through their diaries and letters.  Bird, on the other hand does not seem to complain about much of anything!)

Thurs. 31st

Gen. Grant in Knoxville.


1864 (No page #)


Fri. 1st

Very cold weather.

Wedns. 6th

Saw Alpin (Alpine) Matheny who was going to join his batery (battery).  Saw some men for the regt. who came here for provisions.   Snow fell today but it was very slight.

Fri. 8th

A rebel spy was executed by the authorities.


(No page # or heading)

Wedns. 13th

Troops from Chattanooga passing through town & marching towards the front.

Tues. 19th

The cavalry crossing the river on the ponton bridge. 

Wedns. 20th

The cavalry still crossing the Holston.

Thurs. 21st

The 4th Corps passed through town and crossed the bridge.

Sat. 23rd

The 4th Corps recrossed the river.

Su. 24th

The 9th corps marched 5 ms. (miles) below town & encamped.

Fri. 29th

Drew clothing—Overcoat, 1 pr. trousers, 1 pr. drawers, 1 pr. shoes, 1 pr. socks.


February 1864 (No page #)

Thurs. 4th

Applied for a furlough.

Mo. 8th

Took a walk out to the fortifications.

Tu. 9th

Took a stroll out in the country.

Fri. 12th

Drew a dress coat.

Sat. 13th

Visited the boys in the 79th (NY).

Su. 14th

Went to the hospt. from the camp of the 9th corps.

Mo. 15th

The 9th corps. moved to Knoxville.

Tues. 16th

My furlough came in and was delivered to me by the Surgeon-in-charge.

Wedns. 17th

Went to the depot & got transportation on the cars to Loudon.  Sgt. F. L. Bartholomew  10th O (Ohio) Cav. & Jas. Mullen & I slept in a car.  (Transcriber’s Note:  Sgt. Francis L. Bartholomew died from a gunshot wound Dec. 8, 1864.)

Thurs. 18th

Started at 12 m.(midnight)—passed _____-Sweetwater-Athens-Rosaville-Clarkston.  Crossed the Kiawana Cleveland & arrived at Chattanooga.  Slept in the soldiers home.

Fri. 19th

Started at 6 A.M.  Passed Whiteside (TN), Shellmound (TN), crossed the Tennessee, Bridgeport (AL), Stevenson (AL). Went to bed.

Sat. 20th

Arrived at Nashville about 8 A.M.  and went to the Soldier’s Home where we got plenty to eat & lodging until the train left at 4:30.

 (No Page #)

 P.M.  Run all night, took supper at Bowling Green (KY).

Sun. 21st

Arrived at Louisville, Ky.  Stopped at the Soldier’s Home.  Preaching in the evening.   Got transferred, crossed the Ohio and took the 830 for Seymour (IN).

 Mo. 22nd train

Started at 3 from Seymour and arrived at Cin. At 2 a.m.   Took the 830 train for


(No page #)

Columbus, changed cars at Newark, took supper at Jamesville, changed cars at Bellair, passed thru Bridgeport & Steubenville, got off at Rochester.

Tues. 23rd

Walked from Rochester to ____ Wallren’s when I took breakfast, went to McGregors.

Wedns. 24th

Visited ___ ____ at North Sewickly. 


(No page #)

Thurs. 25th

Visited Locust Ridge.

Fri. 26th

Got on the cars at Clinton Sta. & went to New Castle.  Ate dinner at the Colton House, went to Warren.

Sat. 27th

Went to Mercer on the stage & then the _____ Corner & walked to Brownsville.

Su. 28th

Arrived at home.


(No page #)


Fri. 4th

Attended a spelling at the schoolhouse. (Transcriber’s Note:  Interesting to ponder what he was doing here—a spelling bee?  Was he training to be a teacher? Or possibly went to the school with a younger sibling?)

Mo. 7th

Took a trip to Utica.

Tu. 8th

Visited Mr. Amon and Mr. Cotton.

Wedns. 9th

Went to Mr. ____.

Thurs. 10th

Spent the a.m. at Mr. Gordons.

Su. 13th

Considerable snow fell.


Transcriber’s Note: Not sure of the significance of the last two pages of entries in Bird’s diary that list Wapello, IA.

(No page #)

Wapello Iowa


XX (with a circle around it)

1st. Jan. 18th

2nd. Feb. 15th

3rd. Mar. 11th.

 (No page #)

Wapello Iowa


Jan. 24th on 8.

(Transcriber’s Note: some scribble at end of diary with a few blank pages and then a final listing of Bird’s Service.  Bird returned to military service in April of 1864, based on the Letters of Corp. Fred Pettit, another comrade in Co. C.)  He was shot in the head again at the Battle of the Mine Explosion, July 30, 1864 and apparently spent some time in a confederate prison camp before being released.



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