Digital Library of Georgia > Cyrus F. Jenkins Civil War Diary, 1861 - 1862

Cyrus F. Jenkins Civil War Diary, 1861-1862
Chronology of Jenkins' Activities

This chronology is based on diary transcriptions by Linda Donaldson in 1991 and by Digital Library of Georgia staff in 2003. Others sources (e.g., Official Records of the War of the Rebellion) have been consulted to clarify and/or corroborate some entries. Most dates in the following chronology were specifically mentioned by Jenkins although some have been derived by consulting calendars for 1861 and 1862 and are based on Jenkins' mention of specific days of the week and/or specific hours of a day.

11 June 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
Cyrus Jenkins joins the Meriwether Volunteers, Company B of the 13th Georgia Infantry.

10 July 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins stays in Griffin, Georgia in an abandoned mansion until July 10. The company is called up on July 11.

11-28? July 1861
Jenkins and the men arrive in Columbia, South Carolina aboard a train. During their journey, the train is greeted by wellwishers. While in Columbia, Jenkins sees Mrs. Hampton's flower garden. Presumably, he describes the garden of what is now known as the Hampton-Preston Mansion, located at 1615 Blanding Street. He also decribes the cast iron palmetto at the State House.

28 July 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The men depart from Columbia for Raleigh, North Carolina and arrive July 29. Citizens show their support for the troops by cheering and by displaying the Confederate flag outside their homes.

29 July 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
Leaving Raleigh, the troops reach Charlotte, early July 30.

30 July 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
Arriving in Charlotte early in the day, the troops depart at 11 pm for Weldon, North Carolina where they arrive at 7 am, July 31.

31 July 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The troops leave Weldon on flat lumber cars and arrive in Petersburg, Virginia at 2 pm. After briefly exploring the city, they continue their journey by train from Petersburg and arrive at Richmond Station at 5 pm. During the trip, the train crosses a long, high bridge over the James River. After arriving in Richmond, the troops march through the city and camp two miles away in a large clover field.

1 August 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The troops are excused from duty for the day. Jenkins explores Richmond and visits the Virginia Penitentiary where he sees some Union soldiers as well as regular convicts.

7 August 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
A big storm uproots the regiment's tents.

24 August 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The 13th regiment is ordered to join General Floyd's troops, then stationed along the Gauley River in what is now West Virginia. The only guns available to the regiment are flintlock muskets. The companies vote on whether to wait for better guns, and the officers request the order be stayed. The request is denied.

25 August 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
The troops are ordered to cook five days' rations

26 August 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The troops break camp and leave Richmond from the Central Railroad depot aboard a very crowded train. Their first destination is Staunton where they are to receive arms and other supplies. During the three-day train ride, soldiers steal food.

28 August 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
After travelling 100 miles, the troops arrive in Staunton on June 28 at 10 am and pick up their arms.

30 August 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
They camp on the side of a high mountain near the Jackson River.

1 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins receives permission to leave camp with a commissioned officer to survey the area from the top of the mountain. Later in the day, Jenkins sees 100 Federal prisoners captured by Floyd's men. The prisoners are marching to Richmond.

3 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment begins its sixteen mile foot march. Approximately 200 men from the regiment remain in camp as they are sick with the measles. After marching to Covington, twelve miles from their last camp, Jenkins drinks some whiskey to revive himself.

4 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The men continue their march and camp near White Sulphur Springs, fifteen miles from their last encampment.

5 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
During their fourteen mile march, the regiment proceeds to Green Briar River, then through Lewisburg, and finally arrives at Brumboo's Mill. Jenkins describes Cox Cave, named for a Revolutionary War deserter, and its spring.

9 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
They march to Meadow Bluffs, twelve miles from Brumboo's Mill.

11 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Orders arrive from General Floyd to join him at the Gauley River to meet an expected attack.

12 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The troops begin their journey for Gauley River, a distance of forty miles. Along the way, a wagon wheel breaks on Company B's wagon. Jenkins joins the detail entrusted with guarding and repairing the wagon. They pass Big Sewell Mountain and continue to march in the rain until they reach the regiment camp at 11 pm.

13 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
Floyd orders them to remain at camp. According to reports, Floyd had been victorious, but he is retreating to join them.

14 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
They retreat one mile and camp.

19 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment prepares to march. Jenkins sees General Floyd and records his impressions of the man. They retreat for Sewell Mountain.

22 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Fifty men from the regiment are charged with making fortifications.

23 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
More men are tasked to build the fortifications. After hearing more intelligence about the advancing Federal troops, the officers decide that they should retreat again to avoid having their supplies cut off. They camp at Meadow Bluff after marching fifteen miles, some of the time in heavy rain. The next day, Jenkins is ordered to prepare three days of food for a reconnaissance mission, but the order is later countermanded.

26-29 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The troops march two-and-a-half miles to the Meadow River where they begin to build a five-mile fortification along its eastern bank. The ten foot high fortification is to be built of mud supported by rails and logs.

30 September 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins is ill. General Robert E. Lee is in camp. They are ordered to prepare to move the next day.

1 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Still ill, Jenkins remains with the baggage wagons. He is joined by Frank Hendon. The rest of the regiment leaves to go to Sewell Mountain where they would join with Wise's Legion (Wise Legion Artillery).

3 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Heavy rains begin, continue the next day, and cause flooding the following day.

7 October 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
A colonel from Richmond, Virginia is killed by enemy pickets. The advance soldiers are charged with sounding a warning when enemy troops approach.

8 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The pickets kill an officer and private of the 20th Mississippi Infantry.

9 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Under orders from Captain Clark, Jenkins reports to General Floyd, in camp because of an injured arm, about the illness of fellow soldier James Hancock. Jenkins and others attempt to send Hancock to Blue Sulphur Springs to recuperate. After several unsuccessful attempts, Hancock is taken to the hospital the next day where he recovers. Jenkins also hears about a brush with the enemy that occurred on October 7th.

11 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
Per a special order from Captain McCalley given on October 10, Jenkins moves the baggage to Ball Hill near Sewell.

13 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
The troops march eleven miles over rough terrain in pursuit of Union troops.

14 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
They march another seven to eight miles and camp at Green Sulphur Springs.

18 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
They turn toward the Tennessee Turnpike Road and reach the New River after seven miles. The troops cross the river followed by the baggage which is transported on flats.

19 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
The troops move the wagons up the steep grades along the Turnpike Road by dividing loads in half.

21 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins' company travels down the mountain by a narrow road and then up very steep ascent to the mountain's climax. They employ doubled teams, and sometimes the men must push the wagon wheels themselves. After reaching the summit, Lieutenant Colonel Douglass orders the company to return to help carry companies' supplies, but Captain McCalley refuses to require them to do so.

22 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment marches on the Tennessee & Virginia Turnpike and strikes camp on a hillside five miles down the road. The next morning, after the rain ceases, they begin their journey towards Raleigh Court House with limited food supplies.

25 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
After marching in ranks under orders of Lieutenant Douglass on muddy roads, the troops arrive at Raleigh Court House and are short on rations.

28 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The men march to Cotton Hill, then march further, then retreat.

30 October 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment advances three miles and sets up camp five miles from the Kanawha River, a few miles below the Hawks Nest, at the mouth of the Gauley River and the head of the Kanawha.

1 November 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment marches across Laurel Creek and files left into the turnpike road in the direction of the Kanawha River. They climb to the top of the mountain and see the Kanawha River below them. A little farther ahead, they see large clusters of Hessian tents up and down the Kanawha River for six or seven miles. Then the regiment crosses the ridge to a narrow valley. From the valley they climb to the top of another mountain ridge, where they are deployed ten to fifteen paces apart. Confederate cannons on an adjacent peak fire at the enemy down near the river bank. As the cannons continue firing, rain begins. At 11 pm, the men hear that the Yankees have crossed the river and cut them off from their camp. In response, the men hurry down the mountain to the road toward the supposed locations of Yankees, but they are not there. Then the men climb up to another ridge, and descend to the valley where enemy is believed to be, but again, the Yankees are not there. The men then walk back to the Turnpike and return to camp.

2-6 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins has picket duty on the mountain to protect the guns. Union and Confederate cannons exchange fire without damage. Meals are delivered from camp to the pickets. The pickets are finally relieved by another detachment, and return to camp.

7-10 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins helps his captain make out payroll, their first in four months of service. Jenkins suffers fever and aches, so the surgeon sends him to Fayette Court House for treatment.

11-12 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins is diagnosed with mumps and takes quinine.

12-14 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The Yankees cross river, forcing the Confederates to retreat. The sick, including Jenkins, retreat in the wagon with the medical stores, but some have to walk in mud. The men arrived at McCoy's Mill, twelve miles from Fayette. They see General Floyd pass by on mule. As the medical wagon is unable to carry all sick, Jenkins boards in the house of a civilian, sleeping on the floor. The next morning Jenkins walks to the "sick room" for his company. Members of Company B tell Jenkins about a fight at Cotton Hill on Laurel Creek on Tuesday evening, the 12th (the evening of Jenkins' retreat from Fayette at night). Reports from the battle estimate about seventy Yankees killed, one Confederate killed and one wounded.

15-17 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment retreats again to Princeton in Mercer County. It is snowing and the men have little food. They steal a sack of flour and make bread. In Princeton, conditions are crowded and the men must stay in a steam tan house.

18 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
A soldier cashes a check, and buys dry beef, but bread is not available.

19 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date]
Dr. Beasley gives Jenkins more quinine for his high fever. The regiment draws fresh beef and one day's ration which must last for three days.

20-28 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins continues to suffer from mumps. The men receive better rations. Jenkins hears stories defaming Georgians.

29-30 November 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins has largely recovered from the mumps. He leaves Princeton on the 29th to rejoin his regiment at Peterstown, about twenty-five miles distant. On the way, he buys whiskey and gets drunk. He crosses the river on a ferry and spends the night in a farm pen. He describes losing his hat while crossing the river. In search of a place to dry his feet, he encounters a civilian who brags about overcharging soldiers for bread. Another woman, with sons in the Confederate Army, offers Jenkins a free meal. Jenkins describes another incident involving whiskey. Finally Jenkins finds his regiment's camp and hears of the events that took place during his absence. The regiment no longer has any tents, since they were burned at Cotton Hill, during the hasty retreat, due to lack of conveyance.

1-4 December 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins says that the weather has turned bitterly cold with ice and snow.

11 December 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment is ordered to Doublin Depot on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad.

12 December 1861
The troops arrive at Dublin, after travelling twenty-five miles from camp near Peterstown.

13 December 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The 13th Regiment receives orders to report to Charleston, South Carolina.

14 December 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The men draw five days' rations and cook it in preparation for travel.

15 December 1861
The troops travel in "freight boxes" (boxcars), arriving at Lynchburg at 8 pm, where they change cars for Petersburg and travel about ten miles during night

16-17 December 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment arrives at Petersburg at 4 pm, and arrives at Weldon about 4 am on December 17th. They rest at Wilmington, North Carolina on the night of December 17th.

18 December 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment leaves from the river wharf on a steamboat at 8 am. At 9 am, they take "train passenger boxes" for Florence, arriving at 7 pm. In Florence, they change cars and arrive in Charleston at dawn on December 19th.

19 December 1861 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment marches to the Charleston & Savannah railroad depot one-and-a-half miles from Charleston, South Carolina.

20 December 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
At 10 am, the troops leave the depot near Charleston and head for Savannah. They arrive in Savannah at 7 pm and march one-and-a-half miles to a common on the edge of town.

24 December 1861 [View Civil War Timeline]
The regiment moves to Caustin's Bluff, five miles east of town.

2 January 1862 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins becomes ill, and is granted furlough. He leaves camp on January 3rd for Macon, then proceeds to Hopsons Cut on the Atlanta & Westpoint Railroad.

11 February 1862 [View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins returns to the regiment's camp. The regiment is at work on a "sand battery" that consists of five guns, four magazines, and a skuttle for safety.

20 March 1862 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Jenkins relates that orders have been given to be ready to march on moment's notice because of reports that Federal soldiers have landed at Bluffton, South Carolina, ten miles away.

30? March 1862 [View Jenkins' Diary for this date | View Civil War Timeline]
Seventeen scouts have been sent to Whitemarsh Island. They capture two Union soldiers and a Dutch man. Companies B, C, and G, under command of Captain Joel T. Crawford of Company G, march to Whitemarsh Island. They encounter friendly pickets, an alligator, and local civilians, and pass by the Gibson, Turner, and Scriven properties.

31? March 1862
Jenkins hears shots fired and learns that Company G has engaged with the enemy. Sixteen Union soldiers surrender, one is killed, and three are wounded. They capture an eight oared barge boat with a six pound field piece on its bow.


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