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Surviving Manassas: Civil War Diary

On Day 3 celebrating the Art of Handwriting and Family we are sharing a page from Robert Israel's 1862 Civil War diary.


This is the 1862 diary from my father's great grandfather, the first to enlist in Company A 36th Regiment Ohio Volunteers.

By August, Robert has spent much of his time in West Virginia drilling constantly, marching from place to place, although in mid August he rides on the "cars" or railroad which go "like the devil." He's been in some battles, but talks as much about the rain, heat and food (or lack of it). His spelling and grammar are poor, but certainly adequate to relate his experiences.

August 1862 Civil War Diary Entries

Looking at just the week of August 26 highlights his experiences: rebels attacking, burning railroad bridges, fighting "old Jackson" and then burying the dead from Manassas, confusion as men rush over a hill. Nothing compares to seeing it written by someone who was there.


we are guarding

head quarters

had parade the reb

els maid a dash in

the reer of and bur

ned a large rarero [railroad]

ad bridge


got orders to leav

at .6.o ‘clock had to

guard generals popes

train marched to

Bull run and Camp

ed for the night ma [or, ‘in a’ ?]


THURSDAY 28 [¿stake?]

I was detaled to [detailed]

help bury the dead

at manasis worked [Manassas = 2nd Battle of Bull Run Aug 28-30]

hard all day our

Regt marched to

bull run camped

for the night

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1862.

left Bull Run

at daylight marc

hed to Centerville [Centerville VA is one mile from Bull Run]

was put on guard

as soon as I got the

re our men us fght [there; our men is fighting]

ing old Jackson


layed in camp at

Centerville all day

Jackson turned

our h left wing a

and our men rushe

over the hill in con


fusion so I was put

on guard

Left rais with th

train went back

5 miles our company

went out on a cout [scout]

seen plenty of secesh

cavarly and herd

[on next page] hevy connoaiding


Hope this inspires you to share some of your written family treasures.

Remember to Tag @UnlockYrHistory on Instagram and tag Unlock Your History on Facebook with #HandwritingYourHistory and #NationalHandwritingDay.

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