A remarkable diary kept by Private Thomas P. Wilkinson, of Newark, Delaware, a soldier in the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a Union Army regiment from the Civil War also known as the "Zouaves d'Afrique" which served under Colonel Charles H. T. Collins and were known for their colorful Americanized version of the Zouave uniform worn by certain French light infantry units during their colonization of North Africa. The diary is a small, black, folding leather book, approx. 4-7/8 x 3 inches, comprised of approximately 200 pages of text written in pencil, each page with approximately 21 lines per page (on several pages the pencil has rubbed, making the pages difficult to read). August 1862 - August 1864.
Private Wilkinson carried this diary with him during many important Civil War battles, including the Battle of Balls Bluff, the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Buckland Races, the Battle of Mine Run, the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, and the Battle of the Crater. In addition to accounts of his experiences in the battles and the front-line action, sometimes quite detailed or graphic, the diary entries also include details of Wilkinson's correspondence (especially letters sent to his wife), the deaths of some of the members of his regiment, information on rations, camp life, and his faith. At the end of the diary there are several pages of records and addresses including people who owe Wilkinson money, people to whom he owes money, records of monies received for his service, and clothing received.
The diary is accompanied by several additional documents and ephemeral items, including:
- A small version of the New Testament which Wilkinson carried with him, published by the American Bible Society, New York, in 1861
- A small tintype photograph in case of a young man in uniform, presumably Private Wilkinson
- A silk bookmark commemorating the "Forty-Fifth Annual Reunion Association, 114th Reg. Pa. V. Vols., Battle of Fredericksburg Fifty-Third Anniversary", from 1915
- Two pieces of Confederate Currency, a $20 bill and a $5 bill, each dated February 17th, 1864
- Private Wilkinson's discharge document from the Regiment, indicating that he enrolled on August 6, 1862 to serve "Three years or during the war", and indicating that he was discharged on June 15, 1865, "by reason of Instructions from War Dept dated May 3, 1865" at thirty years of age.
- A letter written by Private Wilkinson and addressed to a colleague of his from the Regiment, a Mr. J.G. Ellison, dated July 31st, 1863, during which he discusses Goose Creek Bridge and the Battle of Upperville, marches the regiment undertook between camps, severe weather they encountered and disheartening conditions, injured comrades, and his general feelings on the War. Full text of the letter is available upon request.
Book ID: 50716