[MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF WILLIAM H. LEACH, OF THE 3rd MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT, FROM OCTOBER 1, 1862 - MARCH 24, 1863]
1863·Massachusetts & North Carolina
by Leach, William H.
Massachusetts & North Carolina, 1863. 175pp., each with 10-15 lines of text. Oblong. Contemporary limp cloth. Minor edgewear. Minor scattered foxing. Very good. The fascinating diary of Union soldier William H. Leach, from his training at Camp Hooker in Massachusetts to his service in North Carolina at the Battles of Kinston and Goldsboro Bridge. Each page of Leach's journal covers one day and is signed by him, much like a letter. Leach presents a comprehensive and engrossing account of his military service, peppered with entertaining anecdotes of spotting sperm whales on the trip to North Carolina, pitching pennies and encountering "darkies." He mentions an accident which occurred as the men prepared to set sail on October 23rd: "We hauled in anchor about 5 o'clock am and started on our journey... I went on deck while they were hoisting up some hay and after they had unhooked it the hooks swung off and took a man in the head. I felt kind of sick but did not heave." Further on he discusses battle conditions. From Dec. 14th at the Battle of Kinston: "...on our march over a muddy road saw some rebel prisoners... heard firing ahead and saw the wounded as they were brought by us. We were drawn up in line of battle. At 1 P.M. firing soon ceased the victory was ours... as we marched through the woods saw many dead bodies both rebel & federal. A meeting house was used for a hospital. We encamped at Kinston that night at 6 o clock. The 10th Com suffered severely in the fight." A few days later they met rebels again at the Battle of Goldsboro Bridge: "...marched towards Goldsboro met rebels they skedaddled. We pressed forward when within a few miles of said city the batteries commenced shelling the rebels in the woods... the shot was whistling over our heads...and the rebels rushed out of the woods. We were drawn up into line again we had the privilige [sic] of firing also the battery and you could see the rebels fall in great numbers. They led on a pond of water and some of us had a swim." Leach describes these definitive battles in great detail as well as adding numerous particulars of daily life in camp and service. A fascinating report of the Union campaign in North Carolina.
(Inventory #: WRCAM51105)
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