Civil War Manuscript Diary--First Battle of Bull Run, Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Williamsburg 1861 and 1862-Major Charles P. Chandler, 1st Mass. Volunteer Infantry
by Chandler, Charles P.
Good. 1861. Hardcover. Two diaries, 1861 and 1862 of manuscript Civil War diaries by Major Charles P. Chandler of the 1st Regimental Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Col. Robert Cowdin. The 1st Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. Saw action at the first Battle of Bull Run, the Siege at Yorktown, Battle of Williamsburg, Battle of Fair Oaks and Seven Pines. Major Chandler was killed in action at Glendale the end of June 1862. Both diaries are daily diaries with entries on the majority of days. Early 1861 we learn much about the weather of Brookline, MA and Chandler's day-to-day family affairs. Several news clippings are tipped in which confirm Chandler's record of the harsh New England winter. Jan. 8, 1861--"Col. Cowdin...called to present my commission as 3rd Lieutenant of Company "A" ". February and March details many meetings and social affairs. Chandler apparently was involved in the practice of the law. Also notes much reading including finishing the Bible. By April 14th, "everyone talking of War. The excitement is intense...the news of the surrender of Fort Sumter is stirring up the nation." Soon Chandler is drilling "Company A" almost every day. May 16 Chandler meets with Governor Andrew and is offered a commission of Major, for the war; commission is voted by officers of the 1st Regiment with 31, or 33 affirmative votes out of 36, "A compliment". The 1st Massachusetts is mustered in on May 23rd, 1861. The company boards a steamer on June 15th for Philadelphia, via railroad to Baltimore then Washington, D. C. June 19th--"The 1st Massachusetts Regiment marched out of Washington, paying a passing salute to the President." "I walked four miles, having got no horse yet, and found it rough enough." Encamped at Camp Banks in Georgetown Heights for the next several weeks with much drilling and complaints about the heat. July 7th--"My disrespect for Colonel (left blank) as an officer and man is fast-becoming a disgust." By July 14th they have advanced to Great Falls of the Potomac where Chandler is often "left in command." Interestingly on July 21st, the Battle of Bull Run, Chandler talks about receiving a "crowd of letters" at mail call. The main battle is "on our right, two miles off, we expect an attack each moment. I (sic) up in a tree see much of the fight: it is a terrible sight." July 22nd--"the flight of our army has been scandalous...cold and tired--fires and coffee and food do us good...had they followed us up on Sunday night, Washington would now be theirs." By August 22nd the 1st Massachusetts encamps at Bladensburg, MD as part of Hooker's Brigade. On this day Chandler writes verbatim his orders from Brigidier General Hooker making him Field Officer of the Day. Chandler is very proud of each advancement. A couple days later Hooker's Brigade is review on parade by the President of the United States. Things go downhill for Major Chandler as he is soon laid up with "camp fever". October 14--"am weak, and my mouth and throat are sore from canker so that I cannot eat." but by October 30th, Chandler is well enough to sit for a Brady portrait, but curiously is not back with his regiment but staying at a hotel in Baltimore into mid-November. He sits on a court-martial case (his background was in law) and also makes note on December 7 that "up in the balloon, first time in my life, held by ropes at some 700 feet." More illness into December. On the 12th he remarks, "hospital still, tho I feel ready for duty, but the doctors and Lieut. Col. Seems to hinder it." He continues his work as Judge Advocate at General Court Martial for Hooker's Division at Posey's House into April, 1862. He lists many of the defendant's of cases he hears. By mid-April he is back with his regiment and moving towards Yorktown, VA where he participates in the Siege of Yorktown. April 17--"Our brigade, and I am told the whole army, was called out at 3 o'clock this morning and stood on our arms, over an hour, awaiting an attack...after breakfast I was over to look at the rebel forts=saw a few of the "varments"." April 22--"a rumor afloat that General Joe Johnston at Yorktown, by flag of truce...gave us notice to leave these premises in forty-eight hours." This turned out to be false as the 'siege' ended in early May with the confederate forces slipping away. May 5th Chandler reports on the Battle of Williamsburg, "and here occurred the fearful fight before Williamsburg...lasted all day...our division suffered fearfully and would have been whipped had not Kearny come up to reinforce us--our regiment was first in, opening, as skirmishes, the fight. I felt very little fear--perhaps some." His brigade missed most of the action at the Battle of Fair Oaks. "Heavy firing heard at no great distance...a battle evidently going." The next day, June 2nd he reports, "news reach us of a battle on our right...we were victorious." Major Charles P. Chandler was killed in action June 30th, 1862 at White Oak Swamp/Glendale. The last journal entry is June 16th, "awakened early...because of sharp musketry on our picket lines...sent mother a large letter began on picket Saturday...and finished this morning." Both journals include several pages of appendices including a general order written January 16, 1862 listing the 13 officers in a General Court Martial in which Chandler served as Judge Advocate. Both journals use commercially produced daily journals. Both are in good plus condition. The 1862 Diary has several loose pages at front but all pages are present. Generally very readable, some small sections show fading ink. Included with the journals is an affidavit dated October 24, 1980 stating the journals were acquired directly from a Chandler heir in July 1949 and to the best of the owner's knowledge have never been published. Photos and more information available on request. ; Oblong Small 8vo 7½" - 8" tall . (Inventory #: 012267)
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