Kessler, Thomas J. (fl. 1843-1868) [Diary of a soldier 2nd Brigade Band, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, during Petersburg Campaign]
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04562
Author/Creator: Kessler, Thomas J. (fl. 1843-1868)
Place Written: Petersburg, Virginia
Date: 1 January 1865- 11 August 1865
Pagination: 1 v. : 107 p. ; 14 x 8 cm.
Summary of Content: States that his band played out the old year and in the new 1 January. 2 January, mentions ”Rebs threw a shell at us while playing the Star-spangled Banner at Div Hd. Qrs shelling continued for some time afterwards. Notes that his band performs and practices nearly every day. 12 January, notes that a flag of truce has been sent by Confederates, with a sealed communication for General Ulysses S. Grant. 17 January, notes that Fort Fisher, North Carolina, was taken with 1400 prisoners. After celebrating, his band was practicing when they were ”astonished By music out-side of the tent, which was made by Purdy’s Band, came to Serenade us we had quite a loud Time... ” Reports hard fighting 5-7 February (possibly the Battle of Hatcher’s Run). 8 February, reports continued fighting. Falsely notes the death of General Gouverneur K. Warren. 20 February, receives official news that General William T. Sherman has ordered the evacuation of Charleston, South Carolina. 25 March, records waking to Confederates who had crossed Union lines, and captured a fort. Notes that by the end of the day, the Confederates had to retreat with great losses, and later sent a flag of truce (possibly referring to the Battle of Fort Stedman). 26 March, notes 22nd birthday. 3 April, cites the fall of Petersburg, declaring that his band was the first to play in the city. 16-19 April, discusses the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. 26 April, cites the capture of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassinator. 28 April, arrives in Washington, D. C. Spends June and most of July encamped (possibly outside of Washington, D.C., near Georgetown). Kessler’s regiment is mustered out 25 July. 11 August notes discharge while in Jackson, Michigan. Commenced clerking at Defrees, [Halan?], & Co., Goshen, Indiana after his discharge. Includes a note from December 1868 written in red ink after the last entry. Final pages contain account information. Bound in leather. Accompanied by a small newspaper clipping with a recipe for liniment for barbed wire cuts.
People: Kessler, Thomas J., fl. 1843-1868., Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 1822-1885., Warren, Gouverneur Kemble, 1830-1882., Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891., Booth, John Wilkes, 1838-1865., Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877
Keywords/Subjects: Medical History;, Fortification;, Battle of Petersburg;, Civil War;, Military History;, Soldier’s Diary;, Union Forces;, Music;, Holidays and Celebrations;, Confederate States of America;, American Symbols and Seals;, Artillery;, American Flag;, Truce;, Union General;, Battle;, Prisoner of War;, Refugees;, Death;, Assassinations;, President, Government and Civics;, Lincoln Assassination;, Prisoner, Crime;, Finance;, Health and Medical;
Sub Era: The American Civil WarOrder Image