William J. Dean Diary

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Record 73/294
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Admin/Biog History DEAN, William J. - Pvt., Company C, 21st Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
William was born on Feb. 20, 1843 at Warren County, New York. He was a son of Jesse P. and Lurana Rebecca (Johnson) Dean, both natives of New York. William learned engineering and was occupied with that trade for most of his life. He enlisted at Oshkosh, Winnebago County on Aug. 13, 1862 and was assigned as above. He became ill at the battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and was hospitalized for several weeks. After regaining his health, William was detached as a hospital nurse until after the battle of Chick-amauga, Georgia when he was allowed to rejoin his regiment. From then until the close of the war, William was commissioned as postmaster for that regiment. He was mustered out on June 8, 1865 and received an honorable discharge on June 17, 1865 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. William was married in Winnebago County on Oct. 18, 1865 to Marion E. Howard. She was born on Jan. 31, 1848 at Oshkosh. William acc-epted employment with Wharton Bros. of Appleton, Outagamie County. In 1869 he removed to Oshkosh and was employed by McMillan Brothers. In 1873 he returned to Wharton Brothers at their interests near Wrightstown, Brown County. He later returned to Oshkosh and his employment at McMillen Brothers. William and Marion had four children, of which a son, Jesse A., was the only one surviving in 1888. William was listed in the veteran section of the 1885 and 1895 Wisconsin State census at P.O. Oshkosh. He was listed in 1888 as a member of GAR Post #10 at Oshkosh. He was listed in the 1890 federal census as residing in the city of Oshkosh. William died June 9, 1917 in Oshkosh.
Collection Civil War Small Collections
Dates of Accumulation December 27, 1862 - September 19, 1865
Abstract The William J. Dean diary covers the time prior to the Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro) Tennessee until past his discharge date in 1865. He was hospitalized and was not present for the battle. He worked as a nurse in the field hospitals. He did not participate in the Battle of Chicamauga and when he rejoined the regiment he was assigned as postmaster, delivering the regiments mail. He did not particpate in any battles. The diary contains information on members of the regiment who were sick and wounded in the 21st Wisconsin.

Excerpts from:

(Written at the age of twenty)
William J. Dean left Oshkosh, Wis. on September 11, 1862
Jesse P. Dean is the father of W.J. Dean

Saturday, December 27, 1862

Camp: Nolinsville, Tennessee
[At] 3 PM it commenced to rain, very cold, and formed line of battle and remained there for two hours.

Wednesday, December 31, 1862

We arrived at the main battle line the evening very cold last night. We have not got any tents or blankets. My company wagon was burned by Wheeler's Cavalry on Jefferson Pike. We have lost everything that we did not have on our backs.

Thursday, January 1, 1863

The rebels opened their artillery on us about daybreak. Our regiment had just come off from picket and was just getting breakfast. We formed a line of battle immediately. The most of us left our cooking utensils right where we were a getting our breakfast. We formed our line of battle on the right of the Murfreesboro Pike a going towards the City of Murphreesboro and a few paces in rear of the lst Illinois Light Artillery. The guns were 10 pounders.1 Every time that the rebels opened on us our artillery would silence them.

1 10 pound artillery shells were used in either the rifled Ordnance gun or the Parrot Rifle.

The adjutant General of our Brigade lost his horse by a grapeshot from the enemy. We drew a pint flour for this days rations. Some of the boys cooked a part of the Adjutant General's horse for their supper. Very muddy. One of the Artilleryman got both of his hands shot off. He
died soon after. Very disagreeable day.

Jan. 2, 1863

We drew two ears of corn to each man this evening. Had a hard time a parching it for our wood was very wet.

Jan. 3.

Drew a few hard crackers this P.M and laid in line of battle all night.

Jan. 4, Sunday.

We went in to the entrenchments this morning. The enemy left our front last night. We sent out a detail to bury the dead. We cleaned up our guns a little.

Feb. 5, Thursday.

My Father died today in Fredrick City, Md. He died with the congestion on the brain. He was a member of Co. B 3rd Reg't Wis. (Jesse P. Dean of Oshkosh, enlisted April 2, 1861, Died of wounds received at Cedar Mt., Virginnia, from roster of Wis. Volunteers.)

Feb. 6

Very stormy to day. Our Brigade went out a forageing to day I was sick. We got back to camp about eleven o'clock in the evening. I was completely tukered out.

Feb. 8

Very uncomfortabel to day. I reported on the sick list, the first time that I have reported on the sick list.

Feb. 19

Our Reg't was paid off today, the first payment that we have had since we left Oshkosh, Wis.

Feb. 20

Very pleasant day. I went down to the City today and to the flowering mill. Everything seemed to work very nice.

Feb. 21

It rained very hard last night. I read a letter from Alvin H.(?) Dean. It contained very bad news, the Death of my Father. Each man drew a loaf of bread from the commissary.

Feb. 22

Capt. A.S. Godfrey started for Oshkosh, Wis. this morning. I sent a letter by him to Alvin A. Dean. The wind blows very cold from the west. Each man drew 1 loaf of bread from the Commissary.

Feb. 27

Very pleasant today. Our Reg't went out a foraging today.

Feb. 28

Our Reg't came in from foraging this afternoon. They had a pretty hard time. I read 2 letters from Miss Mary B. Wheeler.

March 5

Very cool today. I was so sick today that they had to take me in to the Regimental Hospital. My mess mates built a fireplace in our tent today.

March 10

I am very sick today. I am confined to my bed all day.

March 14

Mild and Pleasant today. We had potatoes for breakfast, the first that we have had for al long time.

March 16

we moved camp today. I was moved in an ambulance. I am worse this evening.

March 20

I hired my washing done today.

March 28

I read a detail as Hospital nurse in the Regimental Hospital.

April 11

This morning I went over to the Stone River Battle Field to get some little cedars to stick around our tents.

April 15

Brigadier General Starkweather visited our hospital today, he said that everything looked comfortable for the sick.

April 16

Capt. Wm. Wall started for Wis today also Mr. Mede with his sons. We stuck up little cedars around the hospital tent today

April 23

John Orum died this morning at 7 o'clock. He was fifer of Company H 21st Regiment, he was sick 8 weeks.

April 24

4 famalies of refugges come in from Ready Ville. They were destitute of everything. The 4 families had 17 small children amongst them were 8 babies. The soldiers collected $50.00 for the 4 families.

May 5

It rained very hard last night it cleared off this AM. I washed 1 pair of draws, 2 shirts,

May 10

Warm and pleasant today. Our Chaplin preached a very good sermon. Text: 119 Psalm, 59 verse

May 17

Our Chaplain preached a good sermon.

May 21

Mild and comfortable orders to ship all of the sick to the Field Hospital and get ready to march. We shipped all of the sick. The Hospital is empty for the first time since we come to this camp.

May 24

I walked over to the fortifications this afternoon to pick up apples as big as partirdge eggs

May 25

I washed 1 shirt and 1 pair of pants. I made a musselshell ring for Allie Dean and sent to her.

May 26

I went over to the fortifications this A.M. and saw a one horse cannon that would shoot 100 times per minute with ease. I took a bath in the Stone river. We cleaned out the hospital and moved two men into it.

July 4

I had string beans tax and peas for supper; the first of the season.

July 8

Cloudy and rainy this am. The boys are eating parched corn for their breakfast. Their rations ran out quite a number of us went out on a forage expedition to get feed for our mules but did not find any. We got all the apples and blackberries we wanted. We returned to camp at 2 pm. It rained quite hard this evening. Been soup for supper,

July 9

Pleasant day. I went out a forageing this morning. We got as much corn and wheat as we could fetch in on our mules. I got my haversack full of potatoes.

July 13

I made a muscle shell ring. All quiet on the Cumberland.

July 15

Had a blackberry shortcake for supper.

July 16

Warm and pleasant. We dug a sink for the Hospital. All quiet on the Cumberland.

July 19

Rev. Clinton, our Chaplain, gave a prayer in the Hospital tent this morning.

July 21

It rained quite hard this morning. I sent my watch to Alvin A. Dean to get it cleaned.

July 25

Peasant day. I got 2 shoes put on my mule. Mr. Wales went out a blackberrying. Capt. Cain of Co B started for home today.

July 26

Pleasant day. The Chaplain preached us a short sermon this evening. Blackberries and hard tack for supper.

July 27

Went out a foraging, fetched in some blackberries and honey.

Aug. 1

Very warm this morning. Mr. Wm. Chase gave my mule an awful beating.

Aug. 10

Warm this morning. We marched at 6:30 am. Went to the foot of the Cumberlain Mts. and halted, filled our canteens with water and started over the Mts. The road is very rough and rocky. Passed Tunnel Station at 3 pm. After we passed the station we had a better road, is it lay through a valley. It was very warm. We went into camp on the west side of the railroad, nine miles from Cowan station; most of the boys were tired out.

Aug. 15

Thompson, the baker, arrived with his oven, and set it up.

Aug. 17

James E. Riley and Charles Russell went over the mt. a foraging; returned with a bag full of potatoes, and reported that they had found a stand of honey. Mr. Weller and muself went after it. When we got back to the foot of the mountain it was quite dark. We met two of the nurses with a lantern and had no difficulty in getting into camp.

Aug. 20

Cloudy and cold. I gathered a lot of cedar boughs to put in the hospital bunks.

Aug. 21

James Riley, Charles Russell and N. Gilchrist went over the mt. a foraging. They returned with 1 bushels of potatoes and bushel of peaches.

Aug. 23

Our squad bought a pail full of peaches this forenoon from an old man with one leg; paid for them in coffee.

Aug. 25

Mild and comfortable. Mr. Waller, Mr. Yost, and myself went into ring come a foraging. Got 2 bushels of peaches, bushel of peaches, 1 rooster and 2 hens. We arrived at camp at 7 pm.

Aug. 27

Lt. Russel of Co. B arrived here this evening from Oshkosh, Wis.

Aug. 30

Pleasant day. Preaching this morning by the Chaplain.

Sept 1.

Orders to march in the morning. Some one stole 7 of my shirts last night. Chicken for supper.

Sept. 3

Very warm. Took a bath in the Tenn. River. Did not move camp.

Sept. 6

This am. we were engaged in helping the waggon train over the mt.

Sept. 11

One year ago today I left Oshkosh for Cincinnatti.

Sept. 19

Soon after sunrise skirmishing commenced in our immediate front.

Sept. 19, cont.

Shortly after, Dr. J. G. Reeve ordered me to report at the brigade hospital. After reporting, I went to carrying straw to lay the wounded on. About 10 am. the wounded were brought in very fast. At 2 pm. I was ordered to the general hospital at Crawfish Springs, 13 miles from Chattanooga.

Sept. 20

Very cool this morning, warmer in the afternoon. After breakfast, I went down to the Brigade Hospital. When I arrived, I found that the wounded had been sent away. Dr. Reeve ordered four of us to bury three of the dead. Before we got half through the rebels drove us back and we were compelled to leave. Then I went to Crawfish Springs, when I arrived, I found our cavalry were formed in three lines of battle and that all the wounded who could get away were ordered to Chattanooga. I marched until late in the evening, and laid down by the side of the road, tired and Weary.

Sept. 21

When I awoke this morning, I found I was within 2 miles of Chattanooga, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, by the road that led up to Somerville. I reached Chattanooga about 8 am. After marching around a spell, I accidentally came across our ambulance. Soon after we found the Brigade. Hospital teams parked near the depot. Then the ambulance went back to the battle field. Teams were crossing the Tennessee River all day yesterday and today. I weighed myself and found that I weighed 122 pounds.

Sept. 22

I found a fife today and received a letter from my mother.

Sept. 23

The hospital squad and myself cut poles and put up the hospital tent and made up beds for the wounded.

Sept. 24

This morning I commenced to take care of Dr. Brett's and the chaplain's horses. James Riley and myself went out foraging. We first went to a grist mill, that is on Mountain Creek. From there we went about 7 miles west of Alex. Smith's and filled our sacks with corn and started for camp. Lost my jack-knife.

Sept. 25

Got up this morning at 2 am. and made a feed trough for the chaplain's horse, then went back to bed and had a good nap. James Riley, John Genard and myself went out foraging this afternoon. I got half a bushel of shelled corn, and took it to a grist mill six miles from Chattanooga and had it ground. I was relieved from the care of Dr. Britt's and the chaplain's horses this morning.

Sept. 26

Mended my clothes. I was appointed hospital nurse.

Sept. 27

Dr. Britt amputated a man's leg today; the first amputation I ever saw. I was relieved from duty. The new appointments were: James Riley, forage master; Nelson Brow, to drive our hospital team, and myself, hospital cook.

Sept. 28

Several went out foraging this morning. I commenced cooking for the hospital squad this morning. We had flour and cornmeal pancakes, beefsteak and coffee for breakfast. I moved my tent and fixed up a good bed in it. In the afternoon I had a bath, washed my pants, and darned a sock.

Sept. 29

I made a loaf of bread for dinner out of flour, cornmeal and bran; it was very good. The boys cane in from foraging this afternoon. They had to go 21 miles from Chattanooga to get corn. I wrote a letter to my mother.

Oct. 1

James Riley went foraging this morning.

Oct. 2.

James Riley went a foraging. We are afraid that he is captured. I am cooking for our squad and the doctor.

Oct. 4

Cool this morning, pleasant all day. Preaching in all the hospitals. A report came in that James Riley was not captured, but that he skedadled when the rebels attacked the train.

Oct. 6

Nelson Brow and myself started out early a foraging. We exchanged some coffee for a bushel of wheat, and went to the grist mill to get it ground; but the water was so low they could not grind it, and we returned to camp. Gathered our pockets full of chestnuts on the way. I bought a canteen full of milk.

Oct . 7

James Riley came into camp about 8 last evening.

Oct. 8

I got up this morning at 4 oc'lock and went to the the Mountain Creek grist-mill, six miles from Chattanooga, with one bushel of wheat. I arrived at the mill about 15 minutes after sunrise, and found five citizens ahead of me. The mill started in a few minutes. The miller ground out two small grists and then I had him grind mine. Instead of taking toll, I paid him with a pint of coffee. Then I started for camp, on the way I bought a canteen of milk, and gave a pint of coffee for it. When I got into camp I had a good cup of pilotbread and milk.

Oct. 10

I went out a canteen full of buttermilk for the doctor's negro and 15 for it. I also got a canteen of sweet-milk , for which I gave pint of coffee. Bought 15 worth of coffee and traded it for butter. On my way back to camp, I got seven quarts of crab apples. We stewed some of them for supper and found they made a good sauce. We drew two days rations this evening.

Oct. 11

(A wounded man had died) He was buried this afternoon in a coffin, being the second man that had been buried in a coffin in this place.

Oct. 12

The boys were very busy building forts and bomb-proof roofs. James Riley came in from foraging this afternoon with a wagon load of corn and 2 squashes and some potatoes.

Oct. 19

I bought a paper of chewing tobacco for the wounded rebel soldiers in our hospital.

Oct. 29

This afternoon, Charles Russell and myself went up on the top of a high hill, where General Wilder shelled Chattanooga. We had a good view of the city and the Tenn. River for over eight miles, and could see the rebel throwing shells from the top of Lookout Mountain down into the valley.

Nov. 1

I got wood and stones to make a fire place for our tent this afternoon. This afternoon I built the fire place & chimney. Did not get it quite done. Built a fire in it this evening. It works well. Severe headache all the forenoon.

Nov. 2

I finished the chimney.

Nov. 3

Charles Russell & myself went out on a forge expedition brought up to a flowering mill 10 miles from Chattanooga We brought 75 worth of shorts & corn meal. We had to ford the stream that the mill was on. It took the horses up to their necks so we got our legs somewhat wet on our way home we bought 3 chickens for 75. 8 miles from Chattanooga we halted & took dinner to a farm house occupied by 3 young ladies & their mother but no men folks around. Paid 25 for my dinner. The girls gave me long piece of cane break to make pipe stems of.

Nov. 4

Warm day. I made a clothes pounder.

Nov. 8

Commenced a chimney for Dr. Wright. Moved the hospital.

Nov. 9

Finished Dr. Wright's chimney.

Nov. 10

Made a little alteration in Dr. Wright's fireplace. Built a fireplace in our tent. This afternoon I took off a man's leg. 4 inches above the knee. The first experience I have had in amputation. It was the left leg. The man was dead.
Nov. 29

I gave H. B. Paine one dollar if he would never let me see him use tobacco again; if he does, he is to give me ten dollars. I am now in the possession of $10.50 and any debts are all paid.

Nov. 30.

I have a very bad headache; had my finger lanced today.

Dec. 2

We had a gay dinner today. Hard tack and tea comprised the bill of fare.

Dec. 5

Our Reg't moved all their things to the top of Look-Out Mt.

Dec. 9

This afternoon the surgeon, Dr. Brett informed me that I was needed no longer at the hospital, as he had more nurses than he needed. I reported to my company commander

Dec. 10

Powers and myself gathered up a lot of boards and and nearly built a shanty.

Dec. 11

Last night I slept in a black-walnut bedsted, the first time That I have slept in a bedsted since I entered the service.

Dec. 12

Very foggy. It commenced to rain at 10 o'clock and remained the remainder of the day. The forenoon I made three little bags to put my rations in, this afternoon I built a bunk in my shanty.

Dec. 13

This afternoon I cut some wood for my fireplace and also fixed my chimney.

Dec . 16

This forenoon we drew rations for five days. Three tablespoonfulls of sugar, one-half pint of coffee, one-half cubic inch of desiccated vegetables, one-half pound of bacon.

Dec. 16 (cont).

We drew two pounds of hard bread for two and one-half days.

Dec. 18

I drew one days rations of fresh beef this morning. I drew five crackers for two days rations . I paid 25 for for 5 pounds of hard bread and paid twenty-five cents to have it brought from town.

Dec. 21

This morning we drew 1 pounds of bread for 2 days. One pound of bacon, pint of coffee, 2 tablespoonfulls of sugar, two tablespoonsfull of salt, and one ounce of salt for five days.

Dec. 23

I went on gurad this morning, third relief, post No. 3. I guarded the large tavern in Summerville, near the resevior.

Dec. 25

Pretty cold last night. Our regiment and the 79 Reg. Vol. raised a flag on Lookout Point, at ten o'clock this morning. This afternoon I went through the picket line to the reble fortifications; from there down the mountain to Lookout Creek, and returned to camp by the way of Hookers battleground and Lookout point. The soldiers got up a dance in one of the halls in Summerville. All I had for supper was bacon rinds and coffee. Rather dry for Christmas.

Dec. 28

I was detailed this morning to carry the U.S. mail from Lookout Mountain to Brigade Headquarters. Dr. Reeves of the 21 Reg't came back to the Reg't today. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Chickamunga.

Dec. 29

I went down to Brigade Headquarters this morning with the mail. I bought seven novelettes and fifty copies of the Louisville Daily Journal, for which I paid four dollars. I sold them for five dollars and thirty cents.

Dec. 30

I bought a bottle of ink for 20 cents. I went down to Chattanooga this morning with the mail and back again. Did not have any breakfast and no dinner, and very little supper.

Dec. 31

At 10 o'clock I started down with the mail. When I returned I had a knapsack full. I bought 35 copies for the Nashville Weekly Union at four dollars per hundred, and 40 copies of the Nashville Daily Press at four dollars per hundred, and two copies of Harper's Monthly Magazine at 40 apiece. I bought a laurel pipe for which I paid one dollar. I paid 15 for two little biscuits. I made 80 on my books and pictures

Jan. 1 [1864]

Snow and rain today. I went to Chattanooga with the mail. Bought 1 box of cigars, $8, 26 papers of fine cut chewingtobacco, $3.38, made $2.35 on the whole lot. I lost one of my gloves.

Jan. 2

This morning when I got to the foot of the Maintain I missed my Postmoney. I went back but could not find it. I borrowed $2 of A. Posers. I went to Div. H'd. Q'ts. and borrowed $5 of T. Deneen. I bought $8 worth of plug tobacco. When I got back to the Reg't a man in Co. K had found my Post money and restored it to me with the $15 that I had lost in it. I made $1.80 on the tobacco.

Jan. 3

Today I went down with the mail bought 85 copies of the Nashville Daily Union, 55 of the Press, 20 of the Louisville Journal. I made $1.40 on the lot.

Jan. 4

I brought up some mail today. I bought one hundred and five Daily papers. On them, I made fifty-five cents. I received a letter from Susan Dean. I paid the Doctor's darky 5 for a dish of soup.

Jan. 5

I went down with the mail as usual. I bought fifty Cincinnati dailys, forty Louisville dailies, and one hundred and five Nashville dailies, and eight dollars and thirty cents worth of plug tobacco. On the whole I made three dollars.

Jan. 6

I bought sixty daily papers, on them I made fifty cents.

Jan. 7

I went down with the mail this morning. I bought one hundred and twenty five daily papers, 24 boxes of blacking at 12 a box, 20 papers of matches at 10 a paper. On the whole I made $2.95. I paid $2.00 to get one of my teeth filled with tin foils. I was detailed to day as postmaster of our regiment.

Jan. 8

I bought 125 daily papers and 1 pint of black ink, which I sold so as to make $1.80.

Jan. 28

Bought 125 papers and $2.00 worth of smoking tobacco, and $2.00 worth of black pepper, and 2 doz. boxes of blacking, and 1 box. of cigars. Profits on the whole: $3.50
Feb. 1.

Bought 200 papers. Profit on then, 80 cents, and had 30 left
Bought 12 pounds of soda at 50 a pound, 2 doz boxes of blacking, 1 doz. bottles of ink at $1.00 per doz. Carried the whole on my back up Lookout Mountain.

Feb. 20

Bought 110 papers today, profits $1.70. I am 21 years old today.

Feb. 29

It has rained all day and is very foggy. Bought 40 copies of the Cincinnatti Cormmercial and 15 copies of the Louisville Journal. A new paper has been started called the Chattanooga Gazette. I bought 50 copies at the rate of $3.00 per hundred. On all the papers I made a profit of $1.25.

Mar. 11

There was a hard thundestorm last night. Bought 50 papers, profits, 50. The officers of our Regiment at a regular drunken pow-wow last night and yelled and hooted like Indians.

Mar. 18

Bought 60 papers, profits 50. Bought doz. novels called Police Record of Spies and Smugglers for $4.50.

Mar. 20

Bought 60 papers, profits 50. One doz. novellettes, $3.50 per dozen, four dozen dime novels, $5.00, seven pocket dictionaires for $5.00.

Mar. 25

It rained and snowed all night, and rained all day today. Bought 50 papers. Bought $21.50 worth of goods. Received in cash $16.50. Bought a watch for $4.00.


. . . . Sold my watch for $6.00.

April 13

. . . Bought 4 oranges for 50.


. . . Charles Russell came back to the regiment today. He had been to Appleton, Wis. on a furlough. N. Powers and I bought our dinner at a farmer's. We had bread and onions, the best the house afforded.


Pretty warm today. Gen. Hooks (?) reviewed the troops this afternoon. They had a sham fight in the valley and kept up a sharp firing of musketry and artillery for about an hour. Our regiment was nicely fooled. They were called up in line on the edge of the mountain, supposing the rebels had attacked the railroad, but found it to be nothing but a mock fight.

2 May

No change in the weather. Our regiment left the mountain at 6:30 am. for Graysville, Ga. I went to Chattanooga with the mail. The same as usual. I started for the regiment at 10:40 am. I passed through Graysville at 1:05 pm. I got on the Lafayette road and went 2 miles out of the way before I found out my mistake. I joined the regiment at 5 pm. tired and weary. Bought a box of sardines for 50.

14 May

Quite comfortable last night. Drew three days rations this morning, consisting of bread, sugar, coffee, and bacon. At 9 o'clock (sic) we marched to the front in line of battle. Our Reg't took the advance, 15th Ky. in the rear. Between 11 & 12 am. the musketry was very hard, and as we advanced, cheer after cheer went up from our boys. Our Reg't then made a charge upon the enemy, but were driven back with a loss of 9 killed, 37 wounded, and 5 missing. Our Reg't was relieved from the front line about 11 pm. Went to the rear 100 rods.

15 May, Sun.

Very pleasant . . . some of the wounds today were the worst I have ever seen. Wrote a letter to my mother.

16 May

At 9:30 this morning we marched for the village of Resaca. The village is pretty well demolished by cannon balls.

20 May, Fri.

Marched at 7 A.M. in an easterly direction. Passed by the Rebel Saltpeter works and burned them. (Railroad) cars ran into Kingston for the first tine since we captured it.

27 May, Thur.

This morning found ourselves on a rise of ground a few rods from a little brook. Marched at 11 A.M. Went a short distance, stacked arms and made coffee. Before we had time to drink it, had orders to march again. Went in a southerly direction until we came to a saw mill on a little creek. Formed a line of battle, near the mill is a log house which we used for a hospital. The rebels threw several shells near the hospital. Took the Adjutants horse to the rear for safety, a distance for 100 rods. Slept on the left of the creek below the mill. Shells were bursting all around and late into the evening. Battle raged furiously all day. Many are wounded. The weather is fine.

30 May, Mon.

The roar of cannon and musketry was emmense.

31 May, Tue.

Very pleased - The Regiment - remains in the same place. This forenoon the rebels charged on the 4 corps, about-half a mile from my quarters. They were handsomely repulsed. George Cleveland of Company C. was wounded in the back.

2 June, Thurs.

Pleasant in the forenoon, rained hard this afternoon. This evening our Division was relieved from the front, our brigade went to the rear, about three-quarters of a mile. Our rations this evening did not get through till half past ten.

3 June, Fri.

My quarters remain the same, but the Reg'1 moved 3/4 farther to the rear.

4 June, Sat.

Received orders to be ready to march at a minutes notice.

6 June, Mon.

Warm and cloudy. Marched at 8 a m. went a little ways, then stacked arms. Started again at l o'clock and went about a mile
Then halted until 7:30 p.m. when we resumed our march slowly until 9.n Bivouacked on the left of a road in a cornfield.

7 June , Tues.

Moved our positions about 20 rods to the West. The lst Artillery took our place and built breastworks to protect their guns.

10 June, Fri.

Marched at 8 o'clock a.m. went 1 miles and halted until 11. Moved a little farther and halted until 4. Bivouacked at 5:30 in a small open field . . . on the west, a brigade of Gen. Baird's troops.

11 June, Sat.

Changed positions several times today.

12 June, Sun.
Cannoding all day and musketry at intervals.

14, June, Tues.

At 9 a.m. we went to the front and took our position in a piece of woods.
15 June, Wed.

Pleasant day. Heavy cannonading all day. At noon the Rebels charged on the 15 Corps and were repulsed. Our forces followed them up and took their breastworks. Mailed 219 letters.

16, June Thurs.

Our Regiment moved 100 rods to the front.

18 June, Sat.

At 7 p.m. our Reg. moved farther to the front, This evening throw up breastworks using boards for shovels to throw up the dirt.

19 June, Sunday

Rained all night The Rebles left our front during the night and retreated one mile and a half. We moved at sundown and went to the front. The roads are the muddiest and worst that I ever saw.

20 June, Mon.

Heaviest cannoading this afternoon all along our line that I ever heard.

21 June, Tuesday

Location : Renesaw Mountain
Rained nearly all day. At 1:30 a. m. we moved a little to the right and bivouacked in the nastiest place I ever saw in my life. The rebels threw several shells over here today. A 12 round solid shot struck a man in Co. G., killing him instantly. Threw up breastwork this afternoon. Geo. Follett received a paper from the Secretary of War to have him honorably discharged from the U.S. Service.

26 June, Sunday

The Rebels threw a few shots over, otherwise everything is very quiet, wrote a letter to my mother, received a small mail, mailed 120 letters.

1 July, Friday

A thick fog early this morning. everything quiet, Bought a pound of "Big Lick" smoking tobacco, paid $1.75 for it. also bottle of black ink for 25.

3 July, Sunday

Location: Marietta, Georgia
Last night the Rebels left our front. Took up our march this morning at 7 o' clock. Marched into Marietta, Georgia at 9 a.m. From there marched along the side of the railroad till within 16 miles of Atlanta. Halted on left side of road for supper. Before we finished supper, our Regiment had orders to go on picket. I stopped over night where we took supper. The Rebels have a line of battle a little ways ahead of us. Recieved a mail this evening.

4 July, Monday

Pretty warm this morning. Skirmishing and cannonaiding going on lively in our front. The 21st Wis. Regiment on the skirmish line this afternoon. This evening our Regiment was relieved by the 16 Kentucky.

5 July, Tuesday

Very pleasant this afternoon. The Repels left our front last night. Marched at 8 a.m., our reg't taking the advance of the Division. Moved on slowly until 9:30 A.M., then our REG't and the l0th Wisconsin were sent off to the right to reconvoitre. I remained with the Brigade. At 10:30 A.M. we arrived at the top of a high hill, where we could see the Rebel camps. We moved on until 11:15 A. m., then came into a clearing on the same hill, where we could see the Rebel camps. General King and staff, and General Cook and staff, collected in the center of the field to take a view of the country in front. Immediately the bullets began to wing around thier heads, so they retreated to the rear, and our Brigade commenced to form a line of battle. The 94th Ohio Volunteer Infantry formed first. As soon as the Brigade was in position, we placed in position 2 10 pound Parrot guns, and commenced firing at the Rebels. Kept it up all the afternoon. At 3:30 p.m. our Regiment and the 10th Wisconsin joined the Brigade. From our position here, we could see the church steeples in Atlanta, could plainly see the rebles wagon train moveing all the afternoon. Our Regiment bivouacked just north of the battery and west of the railroad. Drew 3 days rations.

7 July, Thursday

Very warm day, orders came this morning to police the grounds and fix up good quarters, as we are going to stay 4 or 5 days. This afternoon one of our locomotives ran up to within 60 rods of our picket lines.

10 July, Sunday

Pleasant day. Rebels left our front last night and crossed the river. The 33rd Ohio Chaplain preached to us this morning.

12 July, Tuesday

all quiet along our front

13 July, Wednesday

Received a lot of paper and envelopes from J. A. Howells and Company.

15 July, Friday

Our Quartermaster and Captain Turner joined the Regiment today

16 July, Sat.

Pleasant today, Received a letter from Brother Alvin with a ten dollar bill in it. Orders came this evening to march tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock.

17 July, Sunday

Warm day, did not march at 8 o'clock this morning as we expected. Marched at 7 O'clock. went down to the railroad and halted until 2:15., then we took the railroad and marched towards Marietta., Georgia until we came to the mile post which was eleven miles from Atlanta, then turned to the right and marched towards the river. Left the railroad at 3:20, arrived at the river at 3:50. Crossed the Chattahooche River on a ponton bridge. Halted on the south side of the river at 4:15. At 4 o'clock took up line of march again. It was nearly dark when we bivouacked for the night. Heavy cannodaing this forenoon. Colonel M.G. Fitch says our Reg. lost 3 wounded.

18 July, Mon.

Pleasant day. Marched at 7 A.M. Our Regiment on the front line at 8:30. Our skimshers soon met the Rebel Skimishers, then our Columns halted, and the 1st Ill. Battery put thier guns in position. At 9:15, they commenced to shell the rebels. This is the first connading in our Corps since we crossed the Chattahooche River, and the first time the guns were used in this Battery. At 10 A.M. Our Company was sent ahead a little ways to build a bridge across a creek. Kept moving about until nearly dark, then bivouacked in line of battle.

19 July, Tuesday

The evening the Regiment marched nearer to the front and camped near an old flouring mill. I stayed all night in the old camp.

20 July, Wed.

Started this morning and caught up with the Regiment about half a mile from the flour mill. At 4 p.m. the Rebels made a charge on the 20th Army Corps and also on the lst Brigade of the 1st Division of the 14 Army Corps. Rebels pressed us very hard until dark. A good many were wounded in the 104th Illinois Infantry. This battle is Called Peachtree Creek and our Regiment is engaged in it.

21 July, Thurs.

Pleasant, laid still all day. We advanced one half mile to the front, this evening. I stayed at the old place all night. Received a letter from A. A. Dean, with five dollars. Received a large mail, wrote to Sister Louise.

22 July, Friday: Three miles from Atlanta

Pleasant, I marched this morning 6:30, caught up with the Reg. at 7:30. Rebels left our front this morning, but we caught up with them at 8:30 and commenced to shell them. They replied with thier cannons. Several shells burst close to us. This evening we moved a little to the south of the railroad and bivouacked near the mile post: three miles from Atlanta.

23 July, Sat

Cloudy, this afternoon we opened on Atlanta., Georgia with 20 lb. guns. Brisk skirmishing all day at the front. The Rebels threw several shells over here from their forts in Atlanta.
24 July, Sunday

Colder this morning, but pleasant through the day. Our large guns commenced shelling Atlanta at daylight, kept it up all day and part of the evening. After dark the Rebels commenced to shell us and kept up a furious yelling for an hour or more. The Chaplain of the 10th Wisconsin preached to us today. He held a prayer meeting this evening. I laid down under a big tree and went to sleep.

25 July, Monday

Real chilly last night, Our forces kept up cannonading all night. At 9 A.M. the enlisted men of our regiment presented Let. Colonel H.C. Hobart of our Reg. with a beautiful sword, sash and belt. The 94th Ohio brass band played for us at the presentation. Colonel Hobart replied in an appropriate speech. Mailed 55 letters.

28 July, Thursday

Very warm, this afternoon I went blackberrying, 5 3/4 miles from Atlanta, picked 2 qts.of berries besides what I ate. The 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division of the 14 Army Corps marched by our camp to enforce our rightflank. Hard fighting on our right this afternoon. The Rebels made four charges on our right, but we repulsed them every time.

29 July, Friday

Very warm, moved my tent over to the Regiment this morning. This P.M. our skirmish line was advanced a few rods to see if the Rebeles were still there, found they were. The 3rd Brigade returned to their former positions this afternoon.

30 July, Sat.

Weather the same and everything quiet in our camp

August 1, Mon.

This morning we advanced the skimmish lines and moved the 1st Illinois Artillery into the old skimmish lines.

2 Augt, Tues.

Pleasant day, this morning our Regiment went out and formed into lines of battle, part on the right and part on the left of the 1st Ill. Battery. The left of our Reg. rested on the railroad. Rebels kept up quite a steady firing all day in our immediate front. Several of their shells bursted close to us.
7 Aug., Sunday

The charge commenced at 4:30 and was very severe for a few minutes. Following is a list of the wounded in our regiment during the charge:

E. Derusha Co. A
Captain H. Turner, Co. D
J. Dye Co. D
Hoskins Co. D
Sergt. R.C. Killips Co. F
Petra Co. F
Sergt. Ross Co. G
J.A. Chitling Co. H
Wyman Edwards Co. F.
Sergt. J.B. Funnd Co. K
Teoper Co. K
C.W. Knapp Co. K

8 Aug., Monday

Went to the 14th Army Corps Hospital to see our wounded boys. Had a chat with all the wounded from our Regiment. Took dinner with Hosea Paine, then returned to my tent.

9 Aug, Tuesday

Simmishing and cannoading in our front, Received a mail and mailed 73 letters. Received a "Boston Town Flags" and sold them for 30 cents. Drew 3 days rations.

11 Aug., Thurs.

I went over to the Regiment, when I got there, I found several of our boys and several of the Rebels trading coffe for tobacco about midway between the lines. They were together about an hour. Major M.H. Fitch, of our Regiment also went out and talked to some of the Rebel officers. Willard Wright of Co. C was sent to Division Headquarters under arrest for refusing to do duty.

13 August, Saturday

Everytjhing quiet until 3 p.m., then the rebel pickets in our front disolved their posts and came into our lines, our picket line advanced and took the position they had deserted.

15 August, Monday

Received 30 copies of the Waverly Magazine and 10 copies of the Milwaukee Weekly Sentinel.

18 August, Thursday

Our regiment relieved a regiment of regulars this evening and went on the front lines.
21 August, Sunday

Received 40 copies of Boston Time Flag., last evening and 36 copies more today. Sold 118 papers for the Brigade postmaster. Wrote a letter to A.A. Dean. Mailed 126 letters. Profit on sales today - $3.10.

22 August, Mon.

profit on sales 45 cents.

26 August, Fri.

sold 22 copies of an illustrated paper for the Brigadier Postmaster at a profit of 5 cents per copy.

28 August, Sun.

Went into camp on the south side of the railroad at Montgomery, Georgia.
Event Civil War
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Notes DEAN, William J. - Pvt., Company C, 21st Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
William was born on Feb. 20, 1843 at Warren County, New York. He was a son of Jesse P. and Lurana Rebecca (Johnson) Dean, both natives of New York. Jesse is the subject of a previous sketch. William learned engineering and was occupied with that trade for most of his life. He enlisted at Oshkosh, Winnebago County on Aug. 13, 1862 and was assigned as above. He became ill at the battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and was hospitalized for several weeks. After regaining his health, William was detached as a hospital nurse until after the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia when he was allowed to rejoin his regiment. From then until the close of the war, William was commissioned as postmaster for that regiment. He was mustered out on June 8, 1865 and received an honorable discharge on June 17, 1865 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. William was married in Winnebago County on Oct. 18, 1865 to Marion E. Howard. She was born on Jan. 31, 1848 at Oshkosh. William accepted employment with Wharton Bros. of Appleton, Outagamie County. In 1869 he removed to Oshkosh and was employed by McMillan Bros. In 1873 he returned to Wharton Bros. at their interests near Wrightstown, Brown County. He later returned to Oshkosh and his employment at McMillen Bros. William and Marion had four children, of which a son, Jesse A., was the only one surviving in 1888. William was listed in the veteran section of the 1885 and 1895 Wisconsin State census at P.O. Oshkosh. He was listed in 1888 as a member of GAR Post #10 at Oshkosh. He was listed in the 1890 federal census as residing in the city of Oshkosh. William was not found in the 1905 county directory.
Object ID SC411.5.1
Object Name Diary
People Dean, William J.
Subjects Civil War
21st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Military hospitals
Title William J. Dean Diary
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