Civil War Diary – James Henry Darr

Transcribed by
Ronald P. Evans (great great grandson of Mr. Darr)
Feb. 6 1994,
updated June 29, 1997


Transcription Foreword.

This transcript was not copied from the original diary. This was copied from a typed transcript. The date of transcript and originator of the transcript as well as the location of the original diary is unknown to me at this time, but I suspect that the original diary was most likely destroyed in a house fire. Every effort has been taken to proofread the data to ensure that the text matches the original transcript.

I have taken the liberty to correct some obvious typos from the original transcript. These typos include a date referenced as 1963 instead of 1863 and several instances of the word cannonading being spelled as corronading. In addition, the original transcriptor added text from loose pages that were placed between the May 22 entries of the diary directly into the text of the diary (making appropriate notes that these were not actual entries in the diary). I have moved this text to the end of this transcription to improve readability of the daily entries.

From the information provided by the diary, I originally assumed that J. H. Darr returned home after his recovery from the Vicksburg hospital. However, from his pension file, I found that he was sent to Virginia (around the community of Mount Airy), to serve with the Confederate Cavalry. According to the records, he was captured in an enemy skirmish after receiving a severe wound to the head by an enemy sabre. He was later released and allowed to return to his outfit. He served until Lee’s surrender at Appomatix and then returned to his wife and children in Tennessee. At the end of his service, he held the rank of Sergeant and was the Quartermaster of his outfit.


This Book is the property of Jas. H. Darr
Given him by Capt. Day, May 20, 1863
Vicksburg MIP.
Jas. H. Darr
East Tenn.
Yours Respectfully
Vicksburg MIP.

Jas. H. Darr was conscripted by the Confederate Army and put in the service Jan. 1st., 1863 by a -?- Enrolling Officer for 4th. Drs. Brad. Co.- Was detailed as Clerk in Brig 2 WR Dept. Reynolds Brig – – Service in City of Vicksburg until 4th Day of July, 1863.

Fighting on Saturday and Sunday on Big Black our army used up. Ed Bradshaw, James Hall, J. M. Norman missing and suppose to be captured. Fighting commenced in the rear of Vicksburg on the 18th. day of May and has continued without ceasing for two days and is still continuing at 9 o’clock May 21st. Shelling us from the front from gun boats doing but little damage if any. William Bradshaw is out.

10 o’clock still fighting. A flag of truce came down the river from the Yankees. I suppose to ask permission to bury their dead. Nothing heard from Johnson or Gen. Gardner yet.

Friday May 22

Nothing heard from Gen. Johnson or Gardner yet. This is the 4th day of the fight – in the morning – none of our Company yet wounded.

May – Friday – 22 – 1863

Nothing new this morning only the sharp shooters are still popping away. There is five gun boats now shelling the town from the river – at a rapid rate.

May – 22 – 1863

Richard Bradshaw was wounded on yesterday shot through both thighs – no bones broken

10 o’clock 22D

The Gun boats are now firing from the river at a heavy rate upon the city.

Vicksburg May 22

The shells are bursting and flying in all directions.

6 o’clock May 22

The firing on our lines has ceased – there has been most awful fighting since 2 o’clock. The Yanks have charged the breastworks several times and repulsed with great slaughter – captured three of their flags – Capt. Turner was killed – shot through the head – and the tall man was killed in Huffmaster Co. – loss heavy on the Yanks (our loss very small)

Vicksburg May 23

5 o’clock May 23, 1863

Fighting has commenced all along our lines this morning. The Yanks are still shelling the town at a heavy rate from the river.

3 o’clock – very little fighting this evening of any kind – a few sharp shooters popping away occasionally.

I have been having coffins made for Capt. Turner and one other man killed on yesterday evening

Co. I Clothing

J. R. Petty 2 shirts 600
Jim White 1 pants 1200
” “ 1 shirt 300
George Brown 1 shirt 300
” “ pr drws 300
J. H. Darr shirt


Saturday Morning May 24

The Yankees kept up a continued shelling of the town from the river all night – the sharp shooters are pegging away – artillery firing very rapid – a man out of McKamy was killed yesterday – also one out of Co. D.

Started the remainder of mules through the lines last night.

3 o’clock 24

Artillery firing along the line – the fight very nearly confined to it – The sharp shooters put in a shot occasionally. I have had three coffins made to-day.

Monday May 25 63

The fighting among the sharp shooters is more rapid than on yesterday – artillery is not doing much this morning. This is the seventh day since the Yanks commence to storm this place and do not see that they have accomplished anything. The river boats threw shell all night.

4 o’clock May 25

Not a gun to be heard along the lines or upon the river.

Hostilities have entirely ceased. What does it mean? A flag of truce to bury the Yanks.

May 27 12 o’clock

Gun boats attach our batteries above fired some twenty shot and made to return up river but sank to bottom. A prisoner we took says only forth out of a crew of one-hundred and twenty made their escape – boat riddled to pieces.

Thursday May 28

10 o’clock very little doing this morning in the way of fighting except sharp shooters and artillery. – Dr Johnson is some better this morning.

May 29 Friday morning.

Heavy cannonading – one cannon ball pass through the tent – no person in at the time – Heavy cannonading in the evening again.

W. N. McKinney Dr
Cash shirts 21.66
G. D. Buckner
Cash shirt 2.85
J. R. Bingan Dr
Cash shirts 21.66

I wish Jef. Davis and all the men who had a hand in bringing this war was in heavy loss and then we would have peace.

Saturday May 30

The river mortars shelled the city all night – Everything quiet this morning with the exception of a little artillery – We look for Gen Johnson next week. We hope to be able to hold out till he arrives. We have 15 thousand men against 100 thousand.

How I should like to hear from home – how much uneasying for me – much.

Quiet most all day – shelling this evening – some.

May 31 1863

Sunday – Came out to the ditch had nothing to do at the city – ditches safest plan – Nothing doing around the line – The Yanks have concluded if they cannot whip us to starve us out.

Monday June 1 1863

Yanks shelling from the river – All quiet round the lines.

June 2

One square of the city burned up last night. Negroes turned out of our lines and sent to Jackson – Not many of them got there I reckon.

June 3

All quiet around the line this morning – A shot from gun boat occasionally. – The boys all have holes in the ground to get in when the Yanks throw shells – All look like hogs – are heap more dirty.

5 o’clock June 3

Charles Graves wounded by a shell from gun boat – expect will have to have his leg amputated. Heavy firing on our left to what extent I am now on picket for the first time.

Thursday June 4

Charley Graves leg was cut off yesterday evening. – Heavy fighting last night on center and left. Heavy cannonading all night – still going on this morning. This is horrible to be penned up in as small place of two miles square to be butchered like so many hogs – Am it not?

5 o’clock June 4

Cannonading slowly all day. – The men are getting much dissatisfied at eating pea bread and only one day at that. They say that there was nothing else to eat they would not grumble but they think that there is 700 bbls of flour on hand – eat that first & if not relieved then eat pea’s as bread. This is the 18th day since the fight commenced.

June 5

Shamblin of Co. I was wounded accidentally through the arm. – Not much fighting this morning. Sharp shooters popping away all day.

Oh that I was out of this place – home sweet home.

Oh that I could see home and enjoy its pleasures once more.

June 6

Everything quiet this morning – our regiment was permitted to sleep all night – something strange (our men all getting sick) Heavy firing from gun boats.

12 o’clock

All quiet around the lines.

June 7 1863

Heavy cannonading at a distance – cannot tell where it is. – Sharp shooters pegging away – One man wounded in Co. K this morning – Very dangerously shelling the city from the river (the heat is most awful). I am dirty as a hog.

Oh that I could hear from home and home could hear from me. The soldiers are all worn out lying in the ditches. They have now been in 22 days – Will soldiers endure more that this (if any man in the world deserved merit it is the soldier at Vicksburg) May they all be spared to return to their homes.

June 8 1863

7 o’clock A.M.

One man wounded in Co. D this morning – Heavy cannonading from the river all night – When shall we get help — Heavy musketry on our lines last night.

Thursday June, 9

Continued fighting all day.

June 10

Continued fighting all day. Capt. McDermitt killed – I have been sick but feel better to-day.

June 11, 1863

Everything quiet this morning except the Mortars shelling the city.

Benj. Herman of Co. C 31 Tenn. Regt wounded slightly. Dr. Johnson very bad doubtful if he ever recovers.

Friday, June, 12

12 O’clock

Quiet today with the exception of the artillery. Maj. Bage died last night of Flux. No news from Johnson. Our Army is nearly half sick – Will be all sick if they do not quit pea bread.

I have left the ditches and am now waiting Doct Johnson – he is very bad. I am still unwell myself – We had a very bad rain night before last and I got wet. – I wish every man at the head of this war was somewhere else. – Every man is worn out and sick. Stop it! I say – Stop it!

June 13 63

Heavy cannonading all night last night and still heavy this morning. Courier came in from Gen Johnson yesterday. – It is thought he will make a move soon. Doct very restless last night.

Monday June 15

8 o’clock

Somewhat calm this morning – some little picket fighting – The Yanks tried to burn the city with cotton & turpentine last night but failed – (Doc Johnson some easier) No relief yet – how long – how long – shall this fight last — Oh! That I could hear from home.

Tuesday June 16

8 o’clock

Considerable stir round the lines this morning – both in small arms and in artillery – We are getting better provisions.

Sunday, June 14 63

Heavy firing on our lines this morning. – The Yanks have the gift of continuing like as if they thought they would whip us anyway. We had expected Gen Johnson by this time. Our Army is nearly half sick. Doct Johnson some easier this morning. This is Sunday but no Sabbath here. – Heavy fighting all day. – The Yanks make a change on our breastworks to no effect.

Years creep slowly Lorina
The snow is on the grass again
The sun is low down the sky Lorina
The frost gleams where the flowers have been
Time drags so wearily now as when the summer
Days were nigh
Oh the sun can never dip so low
Down affections cloudless sky
An hundred months have passed Lorina
Since last I held thy hand in mine
And felt thy pulse beat fast Lorina
Though mine heart faster far than thine
An hundred months it was come May
When up the hilly slope we climbed
To watch the dying of the day and hear the
Distant church bell chime
Oh we loved each other then Lorina
More than we ever dared to tell
And what we might have been Lorina
Had but our love prospered well
It was not thy womanly heart that spoke
Thy heart was always true to me
A duty stern and pressing broke
The tie that binds my heart to thee
It matters little now Lorina
Past is an eternal past
Our heads will soon lie low Lorina
Life’s tide is ebbing out so fast
But there is a future sure & good
Of life it is to small a part
Dust to dust beneath [the sod,
But there, up there, tis heart to heart]

***page missing***

The crescent silver sunk and the crimean cross glared over the field but
Oh! Red with blood
– the glare of burning street like moonlight on the water was imaged back
Oh! the sea of slaughter
Now that the robbers shouts are over Lo! hear it in your countries cries.
Behold the south & curse your victories.

(June 16 continued – previous page missing)

than we did last week – We got Rye bread instead of cow peas – How tired I am of this place – so awful hot and dry – Oh could my wife know that I am not wounded. I should be better – But so it is

5 o’clock P.M. Heavy firing this whole day – very heavy after dark.

Wednesday June 17th. 1863

Firing just as heavy as on yesterday. Sergeant Maj of the 3rd wounded on yesterday – seriously. This makes one month since we were first hemmed up in the narrow cofine and there has not been one day but what we have been fighting.

We know nothing of what is going on in the world outside of this place – heavy fighting on the left all evening with small arms – Dr. Johnson sinking very fast – Oh to die in such a place as this among strangers – booming of cannons – roar of small arms and confusion of battle. Oh! God save me from it – same me from such a death.

Thursday June 18 63

6 o’clock – everything quiet this morning – not a gun to be heard on our line – heavy firing in the evening.

Friday June 19th

Dr W. B. Johnson died this morning at 2 o’clock A. M. – One man wounded in our Regt last night in Co. K – Some sharp shooting going on this morning – No assistance comes to us yet and I am afraid none will – They have gone out to bury Dr. Johnson – I am nearly worn out sitting up and waiting on him.

Saturday June 20 63

8 o’clock A.M.

The heaviest cannonading that has ever been yet on the line. M. Christian out of Co. G. – 31st Regt was shot last night through the head.

June 21st 6 o’clock

Am out on picket – outside of our lines – the Yankees are shooting over us all the time – have to stay here till night – considerable firing of small arms – we are between the fire of our men and the Yanks.

June 22nd. 9 o’clock A.M.

We had five men killed and wounded last night – Lieut James Crookshanks was killed dead – Capt Cawood was wounded – leg broke and Denton Co. S both thighs

June 23 – 63

Last night was a terrible and long to be remembered night. Our Regt was ordered out at 12 o’clock to run the Yanks from a picket post outside of our entrenchment which the Georgians so cowardly abandoned.

We went out and found them ready for us and the first thing we knew were shooting at us from all directions – yet we run them off after having our man shot dead and 21 wounded – Capt McKany, Capt Wisman, J. H. Darr, A. Jarnagen, H. Witt

Jarnagan and 2 others died today – Capt McKay had all the bones taken out of his shoulder.

Wednesday June 24

Very little fighting going on today – There is no relief for us yet – Myself and McKay are in the same room at hospital with Charley Graves.

Thursday June 25 63

Firing on the right this morning – Bill Harman of -?- was wounded – Capt McKay is doing as well as could be expected.

5 o’clock P. M.

Heavy cannonading round the line. Something up certain – Maj. Guthree was wounded today shot through the thigh.

Friday June 26 63

All quiet along our lines to-day – The Yanks made an effort to blow up our entrenchment and made a charge but were driven back with great slaughter. Capt McKay very bad today.

Friday June 27

Gen Green killed – Capt Gates wounded. My wound doing very well – Capt McKay some better.

Ration: 4 of flour



Thom Hamilton killed.

Sunday June 28

All quiet this morning – the Yanks are keeping Sunday. – They will spill it yet – It is reported that they are killing mules today making beef of it.

Monday June 29

All quiet again this morning except cannonading. My wound is doing finely – Oh that I was at home.

Tuesday June 30 63

We will have to begin to eat mule meat in a day or two – It is rumored that Johnson will be here this week.

Oh! life Vail life how many strong cares die thickly strewn in all thy crooked paths.

July 1st 1863

“Here’s your mule” was our tune in every soldiers mouth but some more is added and in every soldiers mouth – ” Here is your mule meat”! Every thing is in expectation to hear General Johnson attack the Yanks – but no such sound yet.

Every thing quiet around the line except a little cannonading on the left.

Thursday July 2

Heavy cannonading from the river – They are trying to silence our batteries – (No Johnson yet)

Friday July 3 63

Gen Johnson must be fighting the Yanks some where outside of the lines for it is most awfully smoky. – All quiet here except cannonading from the river.

Beef $1.00 a pound – Chicken $5.00 – Turtle Dove 1.50 – The government furnishes our tobacco. Capt McK case very doubtful.

Mule beef is the cheapest of anything – Roasting ears 150 – meal 100 a pint – flour scarce and diminishing.


Saturday July 4 63

There has been an armistice since yesterday.

I suppose it is for the purpose of surrender as mules are getting scarce and poor. – Oh how still and calm it all seems without a gun to be heard. – We all surrendered – but on what term we know not. – Terms of surrender all to be paroled and each soldier to retain his private property.

Saturday July 11 63

Oh save me from my friends – Mississippians good Mississippians who sold Southern soldiers roasting ears at 2 dollars pr doz. are now selling the same to Yankees at ten cents. Beef to us at 1.00 pr pound now sells at 15 cents – and they all took the oath – curse ye the Mississippians curse ye them bitterly —- So I say.

Dec 14 1864

Wounded near Marion Virginia and taken prisoner by federals – retained four days and then released.

Relieved from further duty by Command of Gen J. C. Vaugh and allowed to go where I pleased within the Confederate lines.

Tues. Jan 6 1865

Fare on train to 200
Linen bill at 500
– coat 400
Bill Chattanooga 250
” “ 150
” Barber .15
” Paper .10
Bill Knoxville 230

I entered the federal lines on 16th day of April 1865.

****next 5 lines obliterated*****

Left home on Tuesday June 6th for Knoxville. staid there at that place Wed, and Thursday – had to buy a coat – arrived at Chattanooga Friday evening.

Hugh Herman

L – 20 – 44

7 – 21 – 35

James Herman

L – 19 – 42

7 – 20 – 33

w 32

B 34


43 = 33

W 31

Dr. Davy

L – 36 – B 72

S 7-1/2 20 33

Maj W. B. Cox

To A. C. Day

1 note date Oct 8/62 for 2 pistols –

150.00 Home Atlanta Ga.

3 o’clock May 21st (this entry appears out of place – may have been a page torn loose)

Still fighting slowly and though they were getting -?- . The Yankees will not come close enough to do any good but when they do chance our boys give them particular fits. There has been most awful fighting all evening.

(This text was entered on the last page of the diary – appears to be summary of J.H. Darr service)

The records show one James H. Darr, Private, company I, 43rd regiment, Tennessee Infantry, Confederate States Army, enlisted Jan 1st 1863 at Charleston, Tenn.

Muster roll for May and June 1863 (latest on file) shows that he was wounded in action June 23 1863. Prison of war records show him captured at Vicksburg Miss., July 4, 1863 and paroled at Vicksburg Miss., July 13, 1863. His name appears as signature to our oath of allegiance to the N – S subscribed and sworn to at Chattanooga Tenn., June 10 1865. His residence is shown as Bradley Co., Tenn., and description as follows complexion, dark, Hair, dark. Eyes, blue and height 5 ft., 8 inches.

Capt. Day not identified.

C H Bridges

Major General

The Adjutant General

by M. G.

The following was written on pages between entries for May 22

Come to Mrs. Highlondre on 31st. Day of Mar 1863 twelve miles from Vicksburg eight from Reynolds Bridage. Charges 25 dollars per month. Sent 200.00 dollars to Charleston by Frank Martin to be exp. to Mrs. Darr at Mossy Creek E. Tennessee. Came to Vicksburg from Mr. Highlondre on Tues. the 7th of April. Entered the service of – ? – ? – on same day.

Got acquainted with Mrs. Kane and Daughter Mip Mariah the only – ? – in the state of Mip. Bought one pr. of pants of Edward at six dollars. Paid him 3.25. Loaned William 75 cents he owes me twelve dollars and forty five cents. Edward owes me five dollars and sixty cents. (Note, Edward and William are probably BRADSHAW, his wife’s cousins. R.P.E.)

5 cases shoes

1 box clothing

Blaks Expense
Din. 200
Sup 100
Atlanta 450
Breakfast 100
Dinner Atlanta 100
West Point 600
Sup. 100
Break 100
Montgomery 500
Selmer 500
Dinner 100
Sup 100
Maridian 600
Bill at Maridian 1890

Jackson 400
Sup 100
Vicksburg 300
Bean and Brink Via 300
Cash 650

3 cars Bacon Capt Woodard



14 bbs Pork

78 Sacks Flour

39 bb Lard

1 bb Bacon
4 bb
5 Car Guns and Fixtures
10 boxes Fixtures
2 Boxes Bacon
1 Car Lumber

Shot and shell



Wagon and Hr





Q M Stores









Pine knots

Mailed to Gen Q M the Quar Reports from

Capt A C Day A Q M Regt Ten Val May 2/63

J. H. Darr

1 Car Ordinance



Shot and shell





May 4/63

13 Boxes Stationery
3 Cars Shell and shot
3 Cars Amunition




6 Cars Bacon




W—–R——–R—– (signature not decipherable)

G420 – 44= 376=

D426 – 50= 376=1227

K428 -53= 375=

Capt Day Sugar

Gross 236 – 36 200 Lbs net.

A. C. Day dr

Paid butter






for paper


—– –



by cash 100






prime beef





of detail




Amt of payrolls
30/63 April $1776567
1 note on W.F. Lenoir


1 “ Courtney


Capt A.C. Day sent four thousand three hundred dollars to Branch Bank of Tenn. by Howard.



Confederate State of America

East Tenn. Office

April 20 1863

Jackson Mip.

This will certify that A. C. Day, Vicksburg, has paid in at this Office in notes dated prior to Dec 2/62 nine hundred dollars for which amount Confederate Bank of Regt Stock of the Confederate States of America or he may elect bearing interest from this date at the rate of eight pr cent pr annum payable half yearly will be issued to him under the act of Feb. 20th 1863 entitled an act to authorize the issue of Bonds for Finding Treasury notes upon the surrender of this certificate at this office.


Ezekiel Eldridge dr

Cash loan $30.00

This information is not to be re-used for commercial purposes

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