The Diary of Henry K. Hoff, Co. E, 3rd PA Reserves

Henry K. Hoff

Co. E

Third Reserves

Pocket Diary 1862

[Contributed by Judy Lowry, of the Page Library of Local History & Genealogy in Hanover County, Virginia.  She writes in an email to me, dated July 20, 2011:  “I am writing from the Page Library of Local History & Genealogy in Hanover County, Virginia with information on Harry K. Hoff who served in the PA Reserves.  A Confederate soldier, Joseph S. Pleasants of Page’s Battery, VA Artillery, came to possess the pocket diary of Private Hoff and collected autographs and scribbled in some notations.  The current owner has allowed me to photograph and transcribe the diary and has shared photos of her ancestor J.S. Pleasants.  A digital copy has been submitted to the Virginia Civil War 150 Legacy Project, and we would like to send a copy to your organization.  It appears that Hoff was mustered our in June 1864, and we are hoping that you will be able to tell us more about him.  I hope he survived the war and lived a long life! “]

Henry K. Hoff, Co. E, 3rd Reserves


  1. Weather clear, cold; whent out to ____ church last night; dined today on roast turkey and other dilacacies from home.
  2. Clear, pleasant; nothing worthy of note.
  3. Missing-page torn.
  4. Clear, warm and very muddy.
  5. Cloudy, blowing up pretty cool; commenced to snow this evening; nothing worthy of note.
  6. Missing-page torn.
  7. Clear and pleasant day.
  8. Clear.
  9. Clear.
  10. Clear, warm, very muddy; formed in line and marched up to the regiment and received two months pay amounting to twenty one dollars.
  11. Clear but very muddy; on guard; Chick and Clark and Johnson came to visit our camp.
  12. Cloudy; whent to several regiments to get my deaugratype taken but could not; our company were playing ball.
  13. Clear, very warm; succeeded in getting my deaugratype taken.
  14. Clear, very cool; detached to go in search of liquor provision down to the Chain Bridge and crossed over and proceeded down along the canal but did not suceed in capturing any great quantity, only a few bottles of ale and beer.
  15. Cloudy, drizzelling rain; rain froze as it fell making it very slippery and unpleasant; on guard; some of our company in the guard house for being drunk; D. Diggs and O. Cickley whent home on furlough; prisoner dug out of guard house.
  16. Clear; C. A. Johnson and Ric’d. Clark returned to Holmesburg sent letter by them; Will Solly and Will Clark whent to Washington today.
  17. Clear, but very muddy; arrested a couple of men with wagon peddling boots as spies; R. Paul and Corporal J. Blaker guarded the(m) to Washington and they delivered them up to the Provost Marshal; a citizen from Smithfield visited our camp.
  18. Cloudy and rainy, very muddy and disagreeable.
  19. Cloudy and rainy all day; very muddy and disagreeable; nothing unusual happened.
  20. Cloudy and rainy all day; very muddy and disagreeable; detailed to go after provisions.
  21. Very rainy and muddy; whent out to search a house for brandy; did not succeed in finding any; took a soldier over to the forty third New York regiment; very muddy and _____.
  22. Stormy; snow fell last night to the depth of one inch; very muddy today.
  23. On guard; very rainy and disagreeable; B. Cickley and D. Dugan returned to camp from being home on furlough.
  24. On fatigue duty; drizzelling rain; very muddy; artillery review in Washington.
  25. Rained and hailed last night and continued to do so today.
  26. Last night it blew up cold and froze the pond up; today is rather cool; there was no knapsack inspection today.
  27. Clear, cool; orders cam to shoot away our old cartridges; they were not considered safe in case we were called into action; two squads whent out today to shoot at the target; our squad did not go, we being on guard.
  28. Rainy, very disagreeable; our squad unloaded fifteen wagon loads of oats and corn; Rob and I whent out to practice target shooting; we only fired five shots, afraid it being so cold on our _____.
  29. Cloudy and very muddy; last night our box under the stove took fire; smoked very much.
  30. Very rainy and unpleasant.
  31. Very muddy; on guard at the Naylor’s marque.


  1. On fatigue duty; whent after meat to the Brigade commissary.
  2. Clear pleasant; the sun shone very brightly about all day.
  3. Cloudy and blustering; commenced to snow this morning about seven o’clock and snowed the entire day.
  4. Clear; the snow fell yesterday to the depth of about four inches; it melted very fast today; whent on guard this evening.
  5. Clear, pleasant; rec’d. three letters, one from home containing a receipt for box.
  6. Clear; on fatique sentry; received box from George.
  7. Clear; whent out gunning; shot three partridges; Rob ____ went to Washington as guard over a deserter.
  8. Clear, ____ very muddy; J. Blaker whent home on a furlough.
  9. Clear but muddy; knapsack inspection.
  10. Clear; on guard.
  11. Cloudy and snow.
  12. Clear; the first New York Independent battery came over from Washington and joined Smith’s division; McCall’s orderly thrown from his horse and hurt severly; Corporal Blaker returned to camp from a furlough home.
  13. Clear; carried wood for the tent; shoulder sore; heard cheering news last evening both from the Peninsula expedition and the gun boats in the Tennessee river under command of Confederate Gen. O. Phelps.
  14. Clear, muddy; carried some ceader wood for the tent; on guard.
  15. Cloudy, snowed very hard all day; received news of the fall of Bowling Green; the defeat of Trice’s army and the repulse of Jackson’s forces.
  16. Clear, warm, snow melting very fast; on fatigue duty; unloaded a train of oats wagons consisting of 17 wagons with about 680 bus. Oats.
  17. Chilly; rain and sleet fell all day, the rain freezing as it fell; received news of the capture of Fort Donalson.  <page torn>
  18. Cloudy; received positive news of the capture of Fort Donalson with the capture of reble generals Johnson and Buckner with 15,000 men, 3,000 horses, 51 pieces of artillery, 20,000 stands of small arms; Floyd and Pellow escaped.
  19. Cloudy and raining; posted on guard; Major Lyman returned to camp from home last evening.
  20. Clear; cleared of(f) very fine last night; very much like a spring morning; a woman of doubtful character was brought into camp this evening; whent out gunning, shot a pheasant; relieved from guard.
  21. Clear; on fatigue duty; was not in camp when the squad whent after provisions; W. Cross whent in my place; received forty rounds of new ammunition.
  22. Cloudy; 21 men of company F from the Third regiment P.R.V.C. were confined in our guard house for failing to go on guard; they were released this evening on account of apologising to the Colonel.  The Cameron Dragoons captured rebles at a place called ____entown.
  23. Cloudy; 10 bakers from the ____ bakery were confined in our guard house for not property washing the bakery; our Capt. whent home on a furlough for ten days; one of the Cameron Dragoons were killed while out firing at reb.
  24. Rained this morning but cleared off at noon; wind commenced blowing very strong; blew three tents away in our company and overturned several government wagons; several trees were blown over in the third Reg. I.P.R.V.C; a private in Co. H hurt badly.
  25. Clear; the wind has subsided greatly; relieved from guard; the man in Co. H was hurt by a tree blowing over the tent in which he was sitting; arm ____; recovering from his injuries.
  26. Clear; on fatigue duty; commenced to rain this evening; two regiments from over toward the Chain Bridge to drill; the Army of the Potomac under marching orders with 4 days rations; news carriers not allowed to cross over into Virginia.
  27. Cleared off very fine this morning; the wind blowing very hard; rained very hard last night; received news of the crossing of Gen. Banks to Virginia with a force of 40,000 men and Government seized all telegraphs and railroads.
  28. Clear, very windy and cold; the company were mustered for fray at the regiments parade ground by Brigadier Gen. Mead.


  1. Clear and windy; N. Solly, A. Harris and Lieut. Geo. Lindsey took three contrabands to Washington; posted on guard of post no. 1; barrel in the guard house; took fire; I gave the alarm; no injury sustained.
  1. This morning clear and cool; commenced to snow at noon; snow fell to the depth of about two inches; had knapsack inspection; relieved from guard.
  2. Cloudy and drizzelling rain all day; on fatigue duty; unloaded six wagon loads of oats.
  3. Clear and pleasant; rained very hard last night; tent leaked more than common.
  4. Clear; whent out gunning, shot and 8 ribbons; Capt. Clark returned from being home on a furlough; he brought D. Gantt with him to join our company; received $1.25 in lieu of our ration from the time we were sworn in until we left home.
  5. Clear; took a walk down to river Potomac; on guard at post no. one; a great quantity of liquor seized; company drill today.
  6. Clear; company drill; drilled light infantry tactics; relieved from guard.
  7. Clear; company fired at a target for a medal; Co. D. Dugan best shot; on fatigue duty; unloaded 25 wagon loads of oats; whent after two days rations of bread.
  8. Clear; knapsack inspection; Charlie Eastman and his brother from the 104 regiment came over to visit me; we took a walk down by the Potomac river; shot a huge hog with my revolver.
  9. Cloudy and rain this morning; cleared off fine; received marching orders; sent a box home; marched 15 miles and encamped in the woods; halted at ten o’clock p.m. and bivoaced on the Alexandria turnpike at the junction with the Centreville road; very cool; slept on the ground and with Rob Paul.
  10. Called up this morning at 1 o’clock and proceeded about 2 miles and halted and lay by until day break; did not go to sleep again after 10 o’clock, felt very unwell; roads very bad for transporting wagons; very difficult to draw; marched again at sunrise and halted within three hundred yards of the Leesburg & Alex. R.R.
  11. Clear, pleasant; but nothing unusual.
  12. Cloudy; on fatigue; got three days rations; C. Hunt took eleven contrabands to Washington.
  13. Cloudy and cool; J. Blaker, A. B. Day, H. Weed and myself took 21 contrabands to Alexandria and delivered them to the Provost Marshal.  We whent down to the railroad to Vienna and whent the rest of the way in the cars; returned to camp; orders to move on the Hunters Mill as guard over some forage.
  14. Raining; on guard at Hunters Mill; nothing to eat; bought three corn cakes for 25 cts. each; saw many citizens stood guard from half past nine until ½ 11.
  15. Cloudy; raining by showers; left the forage at Hunters Mill and returned to Langley; very tired; life the mill without orders; returned to Langley road.
  16. Fell in with three btons. and marched to within two miles of Alexandria; arrived at the company’s camp about 4 o’clock P.M.; received letter from C.
  17. Clear; on fatigue duty; carried water and provisions.
  18. Cloudy; on picket duty; patroled in Alexandria; arrested two men.
  19. Rained very hard last night; water came under the tent and compelled us to get up and go about 1 mile to a deserted house; moved our quarters into this house until morning.
  20. Cloudy; Father came round to see me, very much surprised to see him come to Alexandria; with him got supper and tea at the City Hotel which is a poor supper; could not sleep very well; wrote letter to C.; Father gave me 2.50.
  21. Rained hard last night; got breakfast at the Hotel; price of supper just $1.50; visited the camps with Father; returned to Alexandria to see him leave for home; returned to camp; whent on guard.
  22. Clear; no knapsack inspection but the inspection of arms alone; on fatigue duty; carried water and whent after provisions; got the company a ____ of whiskey for the first time, 2½ gallons.
  23. Clear; on picket duty; patrolled through the 1st brigade; Solly bought me a whiskey flask in Alexandria for 6 cents.
  24. Clear; whent to Alexandria; guard would not allow me to enter the town; ____; fifty cents; Robt. Gerlick and Geo. Fox were down to see us.
  25. Clear; on guard over a fence.
  26. Clear, warm; got a pass and visited Alexandria; the 1st California Reg. came to Alexandria and embarked.
  27. Clear; on guard over a vault in a cemetery; took a walk down to the Potomac river below Alexandria; got my supper in Alexandria; paid 31 cents.
  28. Cloudy and snowed hard; the field batteries, those in Govt Ellesworth shooting bombshells at target; commenced to snow about noon but turned to rain.
  29. Raining; on patrol duty to a prisoner of the fifth reg. P.R.V. and delivered him to his Colonel; posted and on a fence; very sharp lightning, the first seen by us this year; still raining.
  30. Clear; on guard over the fence still ____came ____ with us.


  1. Cleared; on fatigue duty; whent with Lieut. Lindsey to get a couple of tents; did not get any; took a walk down to the river and got some fish.
  2. Cloudy; on guard at the cemetery.
  3. Clear, warm; took a walk in the creek; whent down to the river and seen the artillery practicing with shell and canister shots.
  4. Clear, pleasant; whent to Alexandria with the team to get bread; saw Charlie Clemmens, a corporal in the 8th Cavalry P.R.V.; he was embarking for Yorktown.
  5. Cloudy and raining; had turtle soup; on guard; cleared off this evening; received letter from  C.; wrote one to K.
  6. Clear; took a walk down to the river; on fatigue duty; carried water for the cooks.
  7. Cloudy; raining and snowing hard; on guard at the cemetery; mailed a letter to C.
  8. Raining very hard all day.
  9. Raining hard all day; commenced to snow and hail; received news of the fall of Island No. 10 where 6,000 men and 10 siege guns fell into our hands; also the victory of <blank>.
  10. Clear and sun shining brightly; received about two inches of snow (all melted before evening fell last night); received a letter from home; arrested ____ men for trying __________.
  11. Clear; received orders to march; whent to the RRoad depot at Alexandria with some prisoners; waited ____ train to go; Mr. Clinton the Capt. son came down to see us.
  12. Clear; left Alexandria ¼ past 11 A.M. and arrived at Manassas junction at 8 P.M. having been _____ 6 hours; _____ a deserter rebles hat.
  13. Cloudy and cool; left the post and proceeded 1½  miles farther up the road where our company is quartered; Rob Gelick and I pitched our tent; received 2 months pay amounting to $26.
  14. Clear; visited the battle field of Manassas; Jno. Clark whent home ____.
  15. Cleared of(f) this afternoon; arrived to Manassas station; the company quartered in _____.
  16. Clear; relieved from guard this evening; took a walk of about 1½ miles and washed in a fine stream.
  17. Clear; ____; on guard.
  18. Clear, very warm and unpleasant; the company received marching orders; I was left behind at the junction with several others to bring on the provisions, baggage, etc.; a car loaded with hay was burned just as it was brought to the junction.
  19. Cloudy and raining all day; no news from the company telling where they are; a prisoner in the guard house has at present a very bad fever and convulsions.
  20. Raining hard all day; left Alexandria junction for Catletts Station at eight o’clock this evening.
  21. Cloudy and raining; arrived here at Catletts Station last night at about ½ 9 o’clock; slept in the cars; last night; made tent today with our oil cloth blankets; rain beat made them very wet and disagreeable; received ration of whiskey this evening.
  22. Cloudy in the morning; rained a little this afternoon; cleared of(f) very fine this evening; wrote letter home; received ration of whiskey this morning.
  23. Clear, warm; whent a fishing, had no luck whatsoever; sent letter home; received a ration of whiskey this morning; some of the boys cutting trees to catch grey squirrels, young ones very small.
  24. Cloudy and rain; a man belonging to the commissary department was killed by being run over by the locomotive at Catletts Station.
  25. Cloudy; posted as guard; slept in a house owned by one Hughlett.
  26. Cloudy in morning, but cleared off this evening; J. Blaker and Fred Drexler took a seccessionist; rush to reach Alexandria; the 1st brigade left Catletts Station in route for Fredericksburg.
  27. Clear and ____; on patrol duty; 1st Brigade left Catletts Station for Fredericksburg.
  28. Cloudy in morning, but no rain; received orders to march; left Catletts Station at 1½ o’clock; marched as far as <blank> and encamped for the night.
  29. Clear and started rain this morning; commenced march this morning at 10 o’clock; I was detailed to guard the house of a Mr. Pettit; marched about 18 miles today; feel very tired.
  30. Cloudy; commenced to rain about 4 o’clock; ____ toward Manassas provisions ____ for the owner of the property here; ____ crossing _____.


  1. Cloudy and raining; Major came after me and told me to return to camp as I was two miles outside of the pickets.
  2. Cloudy in the morning; clearing very fine, very warm; several captured bushwackers were taken from our camp; had a very heavy thunderstorm this evening.
  3. Clear and very warm; gave Mr. Mike Welsh receipt for $4.
  4. Clear, warm; had knapsack inspection; also a short drill; posted as guard.
  5. Cloudy and raining; received news of the ____ Yorktown; wrote a letter to C. and one home; the company had a drill; the cavalry whent _____________ Fredericksburg and got one prisoner.
  6. Clear and warm; reble informer on a spy was taken by our pickets brought to our camp; he was put in house.
  7. Clear and warm; on patrol duty; whent to Falmoth; hear the pontoon bridge and the bridge burned by the rebles; borrowed $7 of J. Blaker; bought ____ lbs. of ____.
  8. Clear and warm.
  9. Clear and very warm; company had two drills; was on both posted as guard; the 12 P.R.N.C. Reg. Co. arrived here this evening from Catletts Station having lost five men on the road, two being shot and three taken prisoner by the reble bushwackers.
  10. Clear and warm; company drill this morning; received a letter from home, gather that George had moved to Camden on the fifth; J. Enoch was to be buried on the 7.
  11. Clear and warm; knapsack inspection; received 10 from Mr. W.; the brigade ordered to cross the river to meet the rebles that were reported to be advancing on us; received news of the sink Merrimac ____ Norfolk; and McClellan adv. 20 miles Richmond.
  12. Clear and very warm; on patrol; bought two shirts.
  13. Clear and warm.
  14. Raining all day.
  15. Raining all day.
  16. Raining in the morning; cloudy remainder of day.
  17. Clear and warm on patrol.
  18. Clear and very pleasant.
  19. Clear, warm; on guard; whent down to the new rail-road bridge across the Rap. River; saw the last rail laid.
  20. Clear; first trip on the cars across the Rappahannock; President of the ____ cabinet crossed over under the American flag; rain in the morning.
  21. Clear and warm.
  22. Clear and pleasant.
  23. Cold and on guard.
  24. Cloudy and raining; cleared off this evening; resided by guns; posted on guard.
  25. Clear; received blouse and two pair of shoes; orders came for us to break up camp and move to Falmoth; I was posted as perminent guard at Mr. Ficklins; very unwell; a torpedo whent off this morning in Fredericksburg killing the guard.
  26. Clear and warm; still on guard.
  27. Rained very hard this morning; cleared off at noon leaving the remainder of the day.
  28. Cloudy and raining this morning; cleared off at noon; Gen. Byar’s cavalry whent to reinforce Banks; a part of the Bucktail regiment whent also.
  29. Clear and very warm; two of Mr. Ficklin’s slaves ran off last night; our company was ordered to join the regiment immediately; Co. C 5th Reg. R.V.C. took our place.
  30. Clear and very warm this morning; rained very hard this afternoon.
  31. Clear and drizzelling rain; received 26$ from our paymaster.  [5/31/1861:  Sworn into the state service at the Guard House (Christopher Street Philiadelphia by C. Beddle and inspected the same day.]


  1. Clear and very warm; our company on camp guard; I was orderly at the Colonel’s quarters.
  2. Clear and very warm; on dress parade.
  3. Very warm; drilled the bayonet exercise.
  4. Rained very hard; the water in the Rappahannock river ran very high; all three of the bridges across the river swept away; the rebles in Fredericksburg in great glee on account of the destruction of the bridges.
  5. Set out for Camp Washington; whent to camp by the way of the North Pennsylvania R.R.; arrived at Easton about two o’clock A.M. and got to camp (which was about 1 mile from Easton) about three o’clock; the Band accompanied us and remained with us all night; rain very hard; cloudy and drizzelling rain; on camp guard.
  6. Weather very rainy and disagreeable; band left us for home; sent several letters to Holmesburg.

<pages missing>

JUNE 30 blank


1 blank

2 blank

3 Clear and cold today.

4 illegible.

5 Clear, warm; left camp to return home on furlough accompanied by J. Blaker; Father met us at the depot.

<pages missing>

  1. blank
  2. blank
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  4. blank
  5. blank
  6. Left Camp Washington for Harrisburg on our way for the South; arrived in Fredericksburg in the evening of the same day without any accident; weather very warm; wrote letter to C.D.; stationed on guard.
  1. Received cartridge boxes, knapsacks and other equipment; started for Washington at five o’clock A.M.; passed through Little ____ at 10 o’clock P.M.; weather pleasant.
  2. Arrived at Baltimore early this morning; have our muskets loaded and equipped in apprehention of a mob; everything quiet; heard several insulting remarks one young lady gave a huzza(h) for Jeff Davis; I also heard a young man remark that there whent some food for _____ dogs _____ Baltimore.
  3. Left Baltimore yesterday at noon and arrived at Washington about six o’clock P.M.; slept in a factory; weather clear; today we marched into the town front of the Capitol to the camp of McCall in the afternoon; very warm; bought Bowie knife for $3; slept in tents for the first time.
  4. Weather pleasant but nothing important or worthy of note.
  5. Clear; nothing unusual.
  6. Cloudy; every indication of rain; ordered out into line last night by the discharge of a musket from a hill near to camp; report guard shot all guns; loaded our muskets and returned to our tents; Mr. Geo. Clark and Crispin came down to camp; left some letters in Washington; ____ returned.
  7. Mr. Clark and Crispin returned from Washington with letters; received one from C.D.; they both returned to the city; weather clear, warm.
  8. Mr. Clark returned to Holmesburg; we exchanged our old state muskets for new Harpers Ferry muskets; sent letter by C. Crispin; sun very warm; hard on the men; several gave out through fatigue and heat; posted on guard.


  1. Rained very hard this morning; get very wet; dismissed from guard at six o’clock; cleared of(f) at ten o’clock; clear and warm the remainder of the day.
  2. Struck our tents and left camp; McCall to establish a camp at Tennallytown which we called Camp Gerard; sun very warm; a great many men gave out on account of the heat; arrived at camp about 4 o’clock P.M.; mailed a letter home from the Tennallytown P.O.
  3. Sun rose very warm, clear; all the men in good spirits; every sign of staying here some time; mailed letters to C.D.; detailed one mile from camp on picket duty.
  4. Last night very damp; slept in a potatoe patch; sun rose very clear and warm; still on guard; nothing unusual happened; relieved from picket guard this evening.
  5. Clear, warm; first target practice; wrote a letter to C.D., sent it home by T.; Mr. Miller who was down to camp on a short visit; received news that we were to make a move for an engagement; order to march at any moment.
  6. Sun beat early this morning; we got into line and marched about thirteen miles on the aquaduct but saw no enemy; returned to camp the same day, very tired; received letter from C.D.; agreeable to furnish with one to same; sun very warm.
  7. Called out this morning very quietly; officers coming to each tent separately telling us to get up shortly; we thought the rebles were upon us; marched out about six miles without any breakfast; returned to camp without anything of importance; weather clear; on picket.
  8. Still on picket guard on the main road leading from Harpers Ferry to  Washington; Father came down and brought some letters; Doctor brought the letters from camp to us; received letter from ____; Father whent to Alexandria; weather clear; first appearance of <blank> among us.
  9. Cloudy in morning, cleared off warm; target practice; Father returned from Alexandria to our camp; gave me 8$; Father whent home, took one hundred letters sent me to C.D., E.D., R.D.; received a letter from C.D.
  10. Cloudy in the morning but cleared of(f) during the day; target practice; nothing worthy of note.
  11. Clear, warm; had knapsack inspection for the first time in service; wrote letter home to C.D. and to sister Annie and sister Ellie; had surprise regimental drill; rained very hard.
  12. Rainy; no drill except regimental drill; rained while the regiment were drilling; on guard twelveth regiment passed during the night.
  13. Cloudy in afternoon, rained very hard; news received of the battle of Springfield _____ of Cavalry on retreat of the federal troops; returned from guard at six o’clock this evening.
  14. Weather clear; detailed as scavenger to clean up camp for the first time it was cleaned since we occupied, it very hard work; exempt from all drills.
  15. Weather clear, rather cool; grand review of infantry, cavalry and artillery, between eight and ten thousand troops present.
  16. Cloudy, slight rain; received letter from C.D. and E.D.; wrote one to C.D.; soldier out of sixth regiment buried with honors of war; received our pay of 70.
  17. Cloudy, misty rain; on guard; I was no. 17 near the Hospital; middle of night a sick man ran out crying murder, they have cut my throat; all things quiet.
  18. Very cloudy, a thick mist flying; our regiment whent on picket duty; I remained on camp guard.
  19. Raining yet; still on guard; rained very hard last night; feel unwell, excused from guard overnight regiment returned from picket; received letter from C.D.; wrote one to C.D.; raining very hard.
  20. Cleared off; a deserter from the reble army in our camp give the officers a description of some of the reble officers; a subscription was taken up to send him home, he being destitute of finances since being a union man from Ohio who had been taken prisoner while boating on the Mississippi river by raft.
  21. Clear; grand review of our reserve corps by president Lincoln, Gen. McClellan, Simon Cameron, William H. Seward and other eminent officers; the review came well of(f); infantry, artillery and cavalry; very unwell.
  22. Much improving health; doctor gave me medicine oil; whent on drill; very sick, left ranks and returned to camp; received a letter from home and 2 from C.D.; M. Jones whent home, took letter home; weather drizzly.
  23. Off drill; ______.

<pages missing>

  1. Clear; improving health; under marching orders; nothing of importance.
  2. On guard at the battery which I helped to build (with the rest of the reserve) near Tennallytown and which is named first Pennsylvania; commenced to bring heavy cannon and other munitions of war to the fort.


  1. On guard in camp on account of not being well on Friday afternoon all of our company working on the battery today; relieved for guard this evening; saw signal picket; weather clear.
  2. Scavenger duty around camp; on battalion duty both in the morning and afternoon; weather clear.
  3. Received letter from home, answered it in return of mail this evening; our regiment ordered to hold ____ in readiness to march out at a moments notice.
  4. On guard still; the 7th regiment had an engagement with the rebles at Great Falls; thirty only fired across the river; one Lieutenant in tenth had an arm shot off and two privates were wounded; cloudy.
  5. Off guard; raining; whent out for target shooting; commenced to rain while we were out; a great quantity of ammunition massed here for the Point of Rocks; whent on picket this morning and stayed 48 hours.
  6. Cloudy; whent on picket duty; ____; very damp.
  7. Illegible; Mr. Wilson returned from picket this evening; ordered to fill our canteens.
  8. Knapsack inspection; nothing important; weather clear.
  9. Weather clear; no drill until afternoon, then infantry and battalion drill fired ten blank cartridges; weather clear.
  10. Morning foggy; called up at noon; grand review of the P.R. Reserves by Gen. McClellan, President Lincoln and Gen. Custer; presentation of regimental colors; I was out on review being at work on fort Pennsylvania; helped mount a gun weighing 5520.

<pages missing>

  1. Cloudy in morning; in afternoon rained very hard.
  2. Clear, warm; battalion drill; very warm.
  3. Nothing important.
  4. Clear, warm; nothing worthy of note.
  5. Cloudy, rained very hard.
  6. Cloudy; on scavenger duty.
  7. Clear; on picket guard; nothing important.
  8. Clear, pleasant; returned to camp from picket guard.
  9. Cold; ordered to have our knapsacks packed ready for marching; did not go.
  10. Clear; nothing important.
  11. Morning clear; in afternoon rain came; nothing unusual.
  12. Cleared off; slept on the ground.


<pages missing>

  1. Weather clear; <page torn> guard picket duty ____.
  2. Still on picket <page torn>; clear in the evening ____; very tired.
  3. Illegible.
  4. Illegible/torn page.
  5. Illegible/torn page.
  6. Illegible/torn page.
  7. Clear; relieved from guard duty; cooked chicken we got yesterday; Captain returned to camp, had furlough for being ____ injured.
  8. Windy; last night our pickets were driven in by the rebles; the rebles driven back; all of the reserves drawn up in line of battle; all quiet.
  9. Cloudy out at first days light; Leesburg ____ Mrs. Jackson (the mother of the reble that was killed) ____ her arrested and taken to Washington ____ to be a very old woman; she was carried in an army contraption as well as her brother ____; cool and windy.
  10. Suffered very much last night by the cold; relieved this morning from picket duty; on dress parade this evening; an artillery man shot in the heart and another hit in the arm by the accidental discharge of a musket in the hands of one of our company.
  11. Clear, sun warm; escorted the body of the dead artillery man that was shot; fired twenty four shots over his body; men ordered not to keep our guns loaded.
  12. Cloudy; ordered to form line of battle dismissed in one hour; nothing important.
  13. Cloudy; helped dig a drain; report Smith division engaged the rebles.
  14. Rainy this morning; cleared off this afternoon; nothing important.
  15. Marching orders; marched sixteen three quarters of a mile of Great Falls on the Leesburg pike within seventeen miles of that place.
  16. Last night felt very unwell; feel better today; still hearing guns here non-stop ____ today; weather clear and pleasant.
  17. Battle of Falls Bluff _______; our company and company K advanced three miles near Leesburg for the purpose of extending picket guard; I whent to seccessionist’s house and saw where a rifle cannon ball ____ passed through; orders came for me to return to camp.
  18. Received marching orders last night to march towards Leesburg; drawn up in the line of battle this morning and ____ in arms; weather clear; received news of the death of Col. Baker fallen at the battle of Hills Bluff.
  19. Fine weather, it being cool but very agreeable; the artillery trying the range of their cannons by firing shells at a target a mile and one half distant.
  20. Clear, pleasant today; five men got hurt by the explosion of a shell which was shot yesterday but did not explode until ____ a fire; the members of the first regiment ____ J. Knox ____.
  21. Clear, very warm; removed our camp to the woods; today one of the men that was hurt yesterday by the explosion of the shell died.
  22. Clear, pleasant; the regiment were out on review.
  23. Clear, pleasant.
  24. Weather very fine.
  25. Clear, pleasant; nothing important or worthy of note happened.
  26. Weather clear; a man killed in the twelveth regiment by being run over by a wagon.
  27. Very pleasant day; nothing occurred.


  1. Clear, pleasant.
  2. Today was a very rainy, stormy day.
  3. Today it has cleared off very fine; had no knapsack inspection.

<pages missing>

  1. Rained very hard last night, but has since cleared off.
  2. A very cold blustering day.
  3. Blowing hard the same as  yesterday.
  4. Blustering cold day, but not as cold as the 17 and 18.
  5. The regiment whent on a review at Baileys Crossroads; I did not go on account of being on guard; the place where the review occurred about 10 miles from camp; the boys returned to camp tonight very tired and foot sore.
  6. Weather very pleasant; a soldier drummed out of the 4th regiment.
  7. Clear, pleasant day, but cleared up this evening and looks very much like rain.
  8. This morning is very wet; it rained all last night and today had a rain and hail storm.
  9. A very pleasant day.
  10. Today was very cold.
  11. _____ of the men died in the hospital today.
  12. Weather cool; our captain was detailed as captain of the Provost Guards; Major Lyman from the 7th P.R.V.C. was detached up as provost marshal; the 1st P.R. Cavalry was attacked by the rebles near ____ville; our men captured 14 prisoners.
  13. Our company was detached as Provost Guards and left camp; Pirkins took up our tents and established a camp at Langly on an orchard; there was only our company encamped here; weather cloudy and drizzelling rain.
  14. Clear; rained very hard last night; tent did not leak; cut logs to log up our tent, carried them to camp, 8 notched them.
  15. Took down our tent and put it up on the logs; commenced a furnace but did not get it completed; weather clear.


  1. ____ in tent and wood fire in the furnace; weather clear, cold.
  2. Clear, cold; ____ on guard; ____ two rebles in to our picket and gave the others up; _______.
  3. Clear, cold; ____.


Division of the Army of the Potomac

1st Corps Commander, Major Genl. McDowell / Franklin, McCall, King

2nd Corps Gen. Heitzelman / Porter, Hooker, Hamilton

3rd Corps Gen. Limmer, Richardson, Blenker, Sedgwick

4th Corps Gen. Keys, Cinch, Smith, Casey

5th Corps Gen. Banks, Williams Shields

Notation on back cover

1 pr of drawers

1 shirt

1 pr socks

1 shirt

1 bowl

1 knife and fork

1 lead pencil

2 oz C____

1 dr liquid H____

2 dr tincture C____

12 drops oil rosemary

12 drops oil nutmeg

12 drops oil lavender

Notations by B. F. Pleasants in the Henry K. Hoff pocket diary:

When this you see,
Think of me,
Tho many miles apart,
We may be.
My love to you dear girl.

Annie S. Brygg, tell Sallie:  W.J. wants ____ very much to see her.  I have a heap of news to tell her.  Tell her she must come to ____ soon.

Dear Cousin, I received your letter this morning and was glad to hear that you are well.

On demand for value received, I promise to pay to S.L.P. the just and full sum of fifty cents amount money of Virginia.

James G. Pleasants entered in the Confederate service the 7 of January 1863.

Be more desirous to save a good name than wealth.

Commandments ten God gave to men.

Nannie I hear you say that I know knap to-day.

Nannie M. Timberlake, James L. Timberlake are two darn fools.

Dat bouy, dat bouy is mighty little bouy.

I love you my life, my Lucy.  Believe I love.  Kiss me in a few minutes.  If you don’t you can let it a loose.

Take this ____ and not ____ farewell.

Virginia Central  R.R. Company

Remember for
me it
and is
bear you
me and
in only
your you
mind that

Miss Annie E. Ragland, I love you and adore you and I will implore you.  James V. Beal

Dear James, You are the boy for me.  Annie

You are my love forever dear girl.  Tellie send my love to you and Eliza sends Tellie’s love to you.

I love you dearly and cincerely and truly my love.  R. F. ______

Miss Tellie Turner, I mean to kiss you.

I think of thee at evening time and wish that you were by my side.

I love Lizzie Thompson dearly.  I am going to have her if she will have me.  James M. Green

Jas. W. Pleasants was wounded the 1 of July 1864.

City Letter Carrier at USPS | | Website | + posts

Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.