March-April 1865 Diary of Lieutenant Samuel D. Hays, 110th Pennsylvania - Fall of Richmond

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March-April 1865 Diary of Lieutenant Samuel D. Hays, 110th Pennsylvania - Fall of Richmond

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Item No. 0233728

A fascinating Civil War diary covering the end of March and beginning of April 1865, just at the time when Petersburg and Richmond fell and the Appomattox Campaign began. The author is Lieutenant Samuel D. Hays, regimental quartermaster of the 110th Pennsylvania Volunteers, a regiment in the 2nd Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The diary covers March 26 through April 7 and was written in pencil. The entries for March 26-28 are smudged and difficult to read, but the remainder is legible. There are also several pages of Hays's quartermaster notes and number tallies. The content is quite interesting, with Hays describing his efforts at moving the 2nd Corps supply trains along, the troops marching triumphantly through Richmond, and his interactions with Virginia civilians.

Some brief portions from the diary:

March 31
Capt Coomey came round to see if some one of the Qr Masters would take charge of a C.S. train. found several of the RQMs in Posts and all refused to volunteer for the trip. Soon after order came for RQMs to go 12 miles front and see to receiving & issuing of rations. Turned out in a body reported to Lt R at Humphreys Station around the RR drew up in line near Dispatch Office. QMs & Sergts &c saluted.

April 4
Orders to move at 8am. Crossed the River on Pontoons at 9am. Roads very good. Afternoon began to cloud up appearance of rain came to swift ??? about dusk. 14 miles from the Appomattox. Went into park about 8pm. Did not retire until after 10 oclock. About 12 orders to report to Major [George W.] Johnes [a 2nd Corps quartermaster]. Had my horse saddled & went up train & came to the troops about 4am. Went over to the Regt. Got the number of booties they wanted and drove out to the road, but were delayed near two hours. Waited until the troops passed. Arrived at Manchester about 10am and went to Depot for supplies which then got dinner. Then went to where train was parked and took a good sleep. After supper went over to see David. Then rode over to Richmond and took a view of the city by moonlight. City full of officers & orderlies. Got back to park about 10 oclock. After reporting to Maj Johnes rain came on continued until about 8am. Afternoon very warm.... While I was getting ready Lt Remick came to enquire if I would take charge of the extra men of the train, who were ordered to be placed in charge of a commissioned officer and march at the head of the Brig train. I consented went to my Post and took charge, but when we came to the Fisher House about 300 yd from where we encamped and where the road forks. I met Col [Richard N.] Bachelder, Chief Qr M 2d AC who requested me to remain at this Point until one Corps train got under way when I was to report the movement to Maj Johnes...

April 5
Orders to move early. Soon got under way. Drove on steadily until we came to a place called “Black & White” where we halted to feed the teams. Just before stopping Lt Remick came to me and wished to know if I would go to the front in charge of the commissary train. I refused at first but on account of my horse not being able to endure the march but on agreeing to furnish me one I consented to undertake the trip. As soon as I had my dinner I went out to the train which was already under way halted near “Notaway Court House” until the 6 corps train came up and passed us. Then waited for a guard which was to accompany the train. By this time it was near 4 oclock. Drove to the “Vaughn House” where we halted until the guard made coffee. Called to see Mrs Vaughn. Prevailed upon her to prepare supper for 4 officers Lt Brown – King – Eaton and myself. Men from train began to carry off her poultry, bacon, corn &c. Caused her to take all the meat she had left into the House. Kept the scamps at bay until all was snugly stored away. Had went to watch the guard while the women baked the Biscuit lest the thieves would capture them while being carried from the kitchen to the dining room. After waiting for near 2 hours, we were called in. We had supper, warm biscuit, good butter, ham, stewed peas, and wheat coffee, which we relished well as we were very hungry. We had scarcely sat down when we were most agreeably surprised at appearance of two splendid looking ladies neatly dressed o beautiful the daughters of our kind hostess. We were duly introduced & had quite a pleasant entertainment after the introduction Mrs Vaughn gave us an account of the manner in which she had been troubled by the men of both armies. Robberies &c &c when she told us of the Horses they had taken and especially of a colt belonging to one of the young ladies...

April 6
...This is to be the great gala-day for the army as they are to pass through the city. All are anxious to gratify their curiosity and get a view of the goal for which they have so long been fighting & marching. Troops began to march. 5th corps and train moved at the same time, their train being on the right of the road. Train of 2d AC was parked on the left. Had to wait until troops all passed, but about 2pm train began cross soon as over it rode through the city, passed the capital, Jeff’s Residence, Spottsville Hotel, & of the famous buildings, then joined the train...

April 7
Orders to move at 10am, but as the troops were long in passing did not get underway until 4pm. Roads being in fine order. Moved along smartly. More attention paid to agriculture. Passed Hanover Court House 9pm in the company of Lt Brown. Went in to see this ancient and renowned edifice. 133 years old when Patrick Henry made his famous speech on the big question. It is a brick building & is in good state of presentation from grounds and surrounds with a grove of noble trees. Jail on the right of entrance & clerks on left. The spot where P Henry was born is but a short distance from here. H Clay's birth place about 3 miles north of Ct

There are diary entries on all or portions of twelve pages, with Hays's notes occupying another six pages. A couple of the pages have become detached from the binding. The outer covering is thin black leather. Overall dimensions of the closed diary are about 3 1/2" x 5 3/4". It is fully intact but for a small hole along one of its folds. There is a small paper pocket inside for holding small articles.

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