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Augusta County: Diary of James E. Beard (1861-1862)

About James E. Beard:
James E. Beard, a 38-year-old farmer from Augusta County, joined the 5th Virginia Infantry in August 1861. His diary recounts his life as a soldier in this regiment, including details about engagements at Manassas and Winchester. He also describes his work as a paymaster for his company. His diary ends in 1862, when he was wounded at the Second Battle of Manassas. After the war he returned to farming and died in Augusta County in 1906.


August 1861

[August 3 to August 13]

James E. Beard's

Diary of camp life commencing Aug. 3, 1861, left home in the County of Augusta, State of Virginia, Aug. 11 (1861). Started from Staunton on the morning of the 13th (Aug. 1861) for Manassas by railroad. Traveled through the counties of Albemarle, by Charlottesville, through Orange, Culpeper, Fauquier, Pr. William and Fairfax, nothing of interest occurring by the way. Arrived at Manassas the same evening about 3 o'clock, left Manassas to join Company D, of the 5th Virginia Regt. of Vols, commanded by Capt. H. J. Williams, reached Bull's Run, the stream being too full to cross that evening, went up the stream a mile or more, lodged with the Washington Artillery that night.

[August 14, 1861]

Went on the next morning going over part of the ground the great battle of Manassas Plains was fought on the 21st of July 1861. Seeing many wrecks of different kinds, from the effects of a rounted army. Crossed the stone bridge, over the run, passed through the Village of Centerville, and joined the Regt. at Camp Harman near that place. We reached the camp about 9 o'clock a. m.

[August 23 to August 25]

Nothing of interest transpired in camp until the evening of the 23rd (Aug. 1861) of the same month, when were ordered down below Fairfax C. House and returned the same evening about 11 o'clock p. m. and on the 25th (Aug. 1861) we marched two miles on the same road and returned.

[August 28 to September 29]

Then on the 28th (Aug. 1861) we marched down to the C. H. and returned the same same day.

We remained in this camp until the 10th of Sept. 1861, when we moved to a camp near Fairfax C. H. where we remained until the 15th of October 1861. While in this camp we went on picket twice, the first time we went to Mason's Hill, the 23rd (Sept. 1861) where we had a view of the dome of the once Capitol of the U. S., from thence went down to the road leading to Alexandria at Padgets Tavern. On said road about 5 miles from the city, we stayed there til the night of the 27th (Sept. 1861), when were marched back by Acquitink on the old Braddock Road. After crossing the creek we camped at daylight on the morning of the 28th (Sept. 1861) after marching all night, where we remained during the day and night, and started the next morning for our camp at Fairfax C. H., where we arrived about 11 o'clock in good spirits.

October 1861

[October 11 to October 16]

Nothing of note transpired in camp til the 11th of October (1861), when we started on picket to Acquitink where we remained 5 days, when we came back to camp on the evening of the 15th (Oct. 1861) we got orders that night at 9 o'clock to strike our tents, and be ready to march next morning at 3 o'clock, which we did, and marched to Centerville, where we pitched our tents about 2 o'clock.

[October 30]

On the 30th October (1861) Gov. Letcher was present and all the Virginia Regts. in this encampment were paraded and a flag presented to each one, 17 in number and on the following evening there was a grand review of all the troops in the encampment by the Gov. of Virginia.

November 1861

[November 1 to November 8]

While here our regiment was on picket near Germantown, on the road that leads from Fairfax C. H. to Leesburg in Loudoun County, from the 1st to the 5th of November (1861). We remained in this camp until the 8th of November (1861) when we broke up our encampment and marched to Manassas and took the cars for Strasburg at 7 o'clock that evening.

[November 9 to November 18]

At which place (Strasburg) we arrived next morning at daylight. After getting breakfast we took up the line of march toward Winchester, and pitched our camp near Kernstown, we arrived at this camp the same evening through a drenching rain. I stayed in Newtown this same night.

There was nothing of interest happened while here. We remained here until the 18 (Nov. 1861) inst. when we again broke up our encampment and marched through Winchester and on below that place 4 miles towards Martinsburg, where we encamped the same evening about 10 o'clock, Camp Stephenson.

[November 19 to December 15]

We remained in this camp until the evening of the 9th of Dec. (1861) at 11 o'clock when 4 companies wore ordered out of the regiment to go to dam No. 4, by way of Charles Town and Shepherdstown. Our Company being one of the number. We took the cars at Stephenson's Depot which is about a half a mile from where we were then camped for Charles Town, getting there by daylight (10 Dec. 1861) at which place we remained until midnight or some 18 hours and then set out for the dam going by Shepherdstown. We stopped in the sight of this place and ate some breakfast and then went on going through the town without stopping. Just after we passed the town one of the companies was detailed to fire on some boats belonging to the enemy that were coming up the canal, the fire was returned but without effect on either side, so far as we know.

Nothing worthy of note occurring til we came to Scrabble, from Shepherdstown to this place we traveled through a fine section of country. While here Col. Ashby and Com. captured 8 of the enemy, a Captain and seven privates belonging to the 12th Indiana Regt. After remaining here about 3 hours we set off for Martinsburg where we arrived about 8 o'clock the same evening.

December 1861

December 17-21

We remained in this place (Martinsburg) until the evening of the 17th (Dec. 1861) when the Brigade came on here, we then marched to near Dam No. 5 arriving there about 9 o'clock P. M., where we stayed overnight and fell back in the morning acting in this way until the morning of the 21st (Dec. 1861). Having destroyed the dam we set out for our camp beyond Martinsburg, 15 miles distance, we stayed 2 1/2 miles above Martinsburg that night, and set out early next morning for Camp Stephenson, and arrived there the same evening.


January 1862

[January 1 to January 2]

Well nothing of interest in camp until the morning of the 1st day of January 1862, when we left this camp and marched in the direction of Bath, Morgan Co. We marched 12 miles that day through a mountainous and poor country and stopped for the night. The next morning (Jan. 2, 1862) we left our camp again and marched to the cross roads near Ungers Store on Sleepy Creek, the country still poor and mountainous.

[January 3]

The next day (Jan. 3, 1862) we marched to within 6 miles of Bath and camped for the night. It commenced snowing about dark, it fell some 2 inches deep, we started next morning (Jan. 4, 1862) about daylight for Bath, which place we reached about 2 o'clock, where we put up for the night. The wagons did not get up that night and we had to go without supper.

[January 5]

The morning of the 5th (Jan. 1862) we had to go back about a mile to meet our wagons. We then went on through Bath toward Hancock on the river, where we stayed all day and in the evening fell back a short distance and camped for the night, the snow was falling fast, we remained here overnight. Our wagons came up about 10 o'clock at night.

[January 6]

The next morning (Jan. 6, 1862) we struck our tents and moved back about a mile and pitched our tents and stayed all night.

[January 7]

The next morning (Jan. 7, 1862) we again struck tents and sent our baggage off by daylight. The Army had to remain till the whole train of wagons, about 500, passed which took til 1 o'clock in the day. We then took up the line of march and moved on slowly until after we passed through Bath some two miles. We then commenced passing the train and moved on at a brisk rate until we came to the cross roads, which place we reached about 1 o'clock.

[January 8 to January 15]

We remained here with but little change in our camp until the morning of the 13th (Jan. 1862) when we again struck tents and took up the line of march for Romney at which place we arrived on the evening of the 15th (Jan. 1862) inst., after a heavy and toilsome march of 45 miles through a mountainous and ragged country.

[January 16 to February 7]

Nothing of interest transpired while we were in this place (Romney), being quarted in houses we had no use for our tents. We stayed here until the morning of the 23rd (Jan. 1862) when we started back to Winchester by way of the Northwestern Grade and arrived near here on the 25th (Jan. 1862) and encamped 3 miles on the Romney Road.

I left Romney on the same morning for the Hospital in Winchester sick with a cold a sore throat, I remained at this place until the 3rd day of February 1862, when I again rejoined the Company at Camp Zollicoffer to which place the regiment moved on the 29th of Jan. (1862), and made preparations for winter quarters, which we got into on the 7th (Feb. 1862) inst.

February 1862

[February 22 to February 27]

I took the mumps the 22nd (Feb. 1862) inst. and stayed in camp until the 27th (Feb. 1862) when I went to Winchester to the Hospital where I remained until the 2nd March (1862), when I was sent to Strasburg where I remained over night, and on the evening of the 3rd (March 1862) started for the Hospital at Mt. Jackson which place we arrived at 10 o'clock the same evening.

The Regt. left their camp at Zollicoffer on the 27th (Feb. 1862) and moved to within three quarters of a mile of Winchester and went into their tents.

March 1862

[ March 5 to March 22]

The 5th of March (1862) the Regt. left this camp and moved about 5 miles and camped and then moved on next morning as far as Cedar Creek where we camped until the morning of the 15th (March 1862), when we again struck our tents and moved back as far as Narrow Passage where we remained one night.

Then we fell back to within 4 1/2 miles of Mt. Jackson. I left the Hospital at Mt. Jackson on the 6th (March 1862) and joined the Regt. at Narrow Passage about the time they were ready to move. I went down on the cars as far as Edinburg and then walked out to the Regt. and marched back with it to a camp some three miles from Mt. Jackson where we remained until the 20th (March 1862) when we march 4 miles above Mt. Jackson and remained about 24 hours, and then struck tents and marched 41 miles below Mt. Jackson and stayed one night, and again struck tents and marched to near Cedar Creek 24 miles and camped for the night.

[March 23]

In the morning we again took up the line of march toward Winchester, arrived at Newtown about 12 o'clock and passed on through 22 miles, where we stayed some two hours, while the Artillery and Cavalry were engaging the enemy, we got into the fight about half hour by [illeg.] where we remained until dark being twice repulsed by the enemy, this happened on the 23rd (March 1862), when we left the field in good order and fell back 4 miles and stayed all night.

[March 24 to 26]

The next morning (March 24, 1862) we fell back to Cedar Creek and cooked one days rations, before we had it cook the enemy were advancing, and commenced throwing bombs at us, we then fell back to the Passage and stayed all night and until the next morning (March 25, 1862) when we marched up to a camp 4 1/2 miles from Mt. Jackson and stayed all night and until the next morning (March 26, 1862) when we went back to the Passage and stayed two nights and one day without anything of occurance happening while there.

[March 28]

On the morning of the 28th (March 1862) we marched back to a camp 4 1/2 miles from Mt. Jackson, this morning the enemy was not advancing.

April 1862

[April 1]

We left camp 4 1/2 miles from Mt. Jackson on the 1st day of April (1862) and marched one mile down the pike where we remained about one hour and then faced about and marched up the road 4 miles and camped for the night.

[April 2]

The next morning (April 2, 1862) we continued to go up the pike until we got four miles above Mt. Jackson where camped for the night.

[April 4]

The next morning at 4 o'clock we took up the line and marched down the road 9 miles and spent the day and in the evening back to our camp 4 miles above Mt. Jackson, where we are today at 12 o'clock 4th day of April 1862.

[April 6 to April 10]

On the 6th (April 1862) still in camp on Rood's Hill, spent the day in the Militia Camp. On the 7th it rained and snowed all day, 8th 9th the same and on the morning of the 10th it cleared off.

[April 10]

We are still in the same camp on Rood's Hill, April 10th 1862. Nothing of interest transpiring.

[April 13]

April 13th (1862) the Regt. went on picket below Mt. Jackson. I with others of the camp were detailed as guard at Headquarters.

[April 17 to April 22]

We left our camp on Rood's Hill on the morning of the 17th (April 1862) and moved toward Harrisonburg. I being detailed to go with the baggage. I stayed in Harrisonburg that night and the next morning, we started for Staunton which place we reached the same day.

I stayed in Staunton that night and next morning was started toward Waynesborough, got as far as Fishersville and stayed that night and on Sunday went as far as Lebanon Church beyond Brookesville, where we remained until the morning of the 22nd (April 1862) when we went as far as Mecham's River, unloaded our baggage in the Depot and turned toward Staunton.

[April 23 to May 3]

I took the cars and came on to Staunton and out home that night, I reenlisted on the 12th (April 1862) and was mustered into service. I again left home on the 28th (April 1862) and joined the Army on the 3rd day of May (1862).

May 1862

[May 4 to 6]

We crossed the mountains into Albemarle the next day at Brown's Gap. Went by Mecham's Depot and crossed the Blue Ridge through the tunnel and went on to near Staunton on the 6th of May (1862) where we stayed over night.

[May 7 to May 12]

The next morning we took the Parkersburg Road went on through Buffalo Gap and out to Highland County to near the Bull Pasture Mountain the 8th day of May (1862). A fight between our men and the enemy came off on the morning of the 8th near McDowell in which our men drove them back, each party sustained a considerable loss, and the enemy continued to retreat.

We followed them as far as Franklin in Pendleton County where we skirmished around a little and then on the 12th (May 1862) we commenced falling back. We fell back some 9 miles and stayed over night and in the morning continued our march on the way back to the Valley. We layed over on the 10th at the foot of Shenandoah Mountain.

[May 13 to 16]

It commenced raining on evening of the 13th (May 1862). Its still raining on the morning of the 16th (May 1862). Remained in camp today.

[May 17 to May 19]

The morning of the 17th (May 1862) we again took up the line of march and marched as far as Augusta Springs and camped. We remained in camp from Saturday evening until Monday morning the 19th (May 1862), when we again left our camp and went on through Mt. Solon and Bridgewater to a camp beyond the later place and remained over night.

[May 20]

The next morning (May 20, 1862) we again set out and passed on through Harrisonburg having our knapsacks, etc., to near the Big Spring and camped.

[May 21]

The next day (May 21, 1862) we marched on down the Valley to New Market and there we left the Pike and turned to the right and crossed the mountain at Massanutten Gap, into Page Co. and on through Luray and camped.

[May 22 to 23]

We stayed in this camp (Luray) until after 12 o'clock on the 23rd (May 1862), when we again drove on, the Regt. started soon in the morning. Nothing of interest occurring today.

[May 24]

Saturday 24th (May 1862) we went as far as Front Royal, stayed all night, started early next morning. The Regt. was marching and under arms all night.

[May 25 to May 29]

Sunday morning (May 25, 1862) early the enemy commenced throwing shells which had little effect on our men, we succeded in driving the enemy from all the Towns as far as Winchester and had but little trouble in clearing that place.

Sunday night we camped near Stephenson Depot, where we remained until wednesday morning. When we again took up the line of march for Charles Town, which place we reached about noon and found some 3,000 Yankees there which we routed and took some 200 prisoners. We pursued them about 8 miles toward the Ferry, we then came back near to Charles Town and camped. The whole Brigade was ordered out the next day in the direction of the Ferry.

[May 30]

On the morning of the 30th (May 1862) we started again in the same direction and returned to camp the evening, while out today our company was thrown out as skirmishers and advanced to within a short distance of the enemy's lines. They never fired a shot at us.

[May 31]

31st (May 1862) we marched this morning in the direction of Winchester and passed on and camped 2 miles above Kernstown.

June 1862

[June 1]

Then on the 1st day of June (1862) we continued marching up the Valley getting to Strasburg about noon, where we made a stand but the enemy did not advance. Gen. Ewell encountered them in the morning and completely repulsed them at this place. We fell back some distance and camped for the night.

[June 2]

Early on the 2nd (June 1862) we took up the line of march, the enemy still pursuing until we came to Woodstock where we were drawn up in line of battle, but they did not advance. We came over to near Mt. Jackson and camped.

[June 3 to June 4]

The next morning (June 3, 1862) we again started up the road and stopped near New Market. We remained there over night and the greatest part of the next day (June 4, 1862) we then marched to near Big Spring where we stayed all night.

[June 5 to June 7]

5th (June 1862) we started early in the morning from camp and came on through Harrisonburg, after leaving this place we took the road leading to Port Republic and camped about a mile from the later place, where we are still camped on the morning of the 7th (June 1862), having been here all day yesterday. Their wagons are gone and Gen. Ashby was killed yesterday evening in an engagement with the enemy near Harrisonburg.

8th June 1862, Sunday morning,

the enemy attacked us about 8 o'clock both in front and rear, those in front did not stand but fell back immediatly but those in the rear fought at the least 4 hours, Gen. Ewell and Johnson's Divisions were engaged. Fremont on the opposite side, there were many killed and wounded on both sides, each party held their own ground. The fight continued until dark.

9th June 1862, Monday morning

we left camp at dawn and marched down the river, crossed South River at Port Republic and went down the same about 2 miles where we encountered the enemy and commenced an attack which was very severe. It lasted about 2 hours, our regiment fought on the river bank against great odds, we had to give back at one time but reinforcements coming up we recovered. [illeg.] then we lost John Brubeck, and James Berry were killed dead on the ground, some 12 wounded, more or less severely. We succeded in getting our dead and wounded off of the field, we took some 300 prisoners, our Regiment lost some 72 in killed and wounded and missing.

[June 10 to June 12]

We fell back to the top of mountain at Brown's Gap, and are still there on the morning of 11th (June 1862). It rained all day yesterday, we stayed all day on the mountain and left soon on the morning of the 12th (June 1862) and came to about 4 miles above Port Republic and camped for the night.

13th (June 1862)

remained in camp today, I was engaged in making up the payroll for the company.

15th (June 1862)

attended devine services today

16th (June 1862)

still in same camp, writing for the company.

17th (June 1862)

still engaged in writing.

18th (June 1862)

we left our camp 4 miles above Port Republic this morning at 5 o'clock for Rockfish Gap, which place we reached about 6 o'clock and camped for the night.

19 (June 1862)

the drum beat at 3 this morning calling us from our slumber. We prepared our breakfast and ate, then we got ready to move, the enemy went over the mountain and I went home to finish the payrolls for the company getting there that evening, now at home writing.

21st (June 1862)

at home.

22nd, 23rd

still at home.

24th (June 1862)

went to Staunton to go to the Army but no transportation. Went back home and stayed until the morning of the 26 when I again went to Staunton, had to stay in that place all day.

[June 27 to June 29]

Started on the morning of the 27th (June 1862), went as far as Ashland Station, stayed there that night. Went to the Brigade wagons, remained in that camp until the 29th (June 1862) when we moved 4 or 5 miles farther and are camped.

[June 30 to July 2]

We again started on the 30th (June 1862) to join the Regiment which I succeded in doing on the 2nd of July (1862). The Regiment was in the fight on the 27th (June 1862), Captain Randolph, John J. Bowers, James Lucas was killed on the same day, our comp was in the fight on the 1st of July, some killed or wounded.

July 1862

3rd (July 1862)

we fell back toward the river.

4th (July 1862)

we were drawn up in line of battle from noon until after dark when we fell back in the woods a short distance.

5th (July 1862)

still in same place.

6th (July 1862) Sunday,

still in same place.

7th (July 1862)

on picket today, fell back in the evening about one mile and camped for the night.

[July 12]

Still here today on the 12th (July 1862) at 3 we fell back some 12 miles and camped for the night.

9th (July 1862)

we remained here until 3 o'clock this evening when we again marched about 9 miles and stayed all night.

[July 10 to July 15]

Then on the morning of the 10th (July 1862) we started again at day break and marched to a camp 3 miles from Richmond. We remained in the camp until the morning of the 15th (July 1862) with nothing of interest transpiring during this time.

[July 15]

On the morning of the 15th (July 1862) we took up the line of march going to Richmond and taking the care and riding as far on the bridge that was burnt on the Pamunky where we remained over night.

[July 16 to July 27]

16th (July 1862) traveled on the cars as far as Louisa C. H., where we remain until the morning of the 19th (July 1862) when we again took up the line of march and went as far as Gordonsville and just beyond, where we remained until the morning of the 21st (July 1862), when we again marched between 4 and 5 miles and camped until the morning of the 27th (July 1862), when we were ordered to move. We marched as far as Gordonsville and lay in the woods until the evening when we again returned to the same camp we left in the morning.

27th (July 1862)

in Camp.

[July 29]

We left camp McGruder on the morning of the 29th (July 1862) and marched 12 miles through Gordonsville to a camp near the Three Notch Road and 19 miles from Charlottesville, in camp here drilling.

30th (July 1862)

the same.

31st (July 1862)

the same.

August 1862

August (1862) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,

the same.

[August 5 to August 7]

The 5th (August 1862) we left Camp Garnett and moved to camp near Liberty Mills. remained in camp drilling until evening of the 7th (Aug. 1862) when we set out on the march toward Orange C. H. We layed in the W. field 1 1/2 from that place.

[August 8]

The next morning (August 8, 1862) we marched on through that place taking the road leading to Madison Mills. We then took down the river and went one mile and camped and stayed all night.

[August 9]

The next morning (August 9, 1862) we went on down the road toward Culpeper C. H., marched some 2 miles this evening.

The 9th (Aug. 1862) we got into the fight between 5 and 6 in the evening which lasted til after dark, we drove them from the field. We lay in the field all night and fell back the next morning, other troops taking our place.

[August 10 to 12]

10th (Aug. 1862) fell back about 4 miles and camped and stayed in this camp until the morning of the 12th (Aug. 1862) when we again fell back to our camp near Liberty Mills, reached that place about sunset, in camp.

13th (Aug. 1862)

payed March and April pay.

14th (Aug. 1862)

still in camp.

15th (Aug. 1862)

cooking two days rations.

16th (Aug. 1862)

left camp at sunrise and marched in the direction of 0range C. H., marched 15 miles and camped.

17th (Aug. 1862)

in camp.

18th (Aug. 1862)

in camp.

19th (Aug. 1862)

witnessed the execution of one of the soldiers for deserting our Regiment.

[August 20]

The Regiment left this camp on the morning of the 20th (Aug. 1862) with 3 days rations in our haversacks and marched in the direction of Rapid Ann River, which place we reached about noon, we crossed the river by wading, marched on through Stephensburg camped for the night, 15 miles.

21st (Aug. 1862)

we marched on toward Rappahannock River but did not attempt to cross. We camped close to the river.

22nd (Aug. 1862)

marched about 7 miles, on picket tonight, nothing worth relating occurred.

23rd (Aug. 1862)

changed our direction to the left marched 6 miles and camped.

24th (Aug. 1862)

marched 4 miles, drew rations for 3 days and cooked same.

25th (Aug. 1862)

we again took up the line of march passing through little Jefferson, here we left our knapsacks, here we again changed our directions getting on the Alexandria turnpike, passing through Amissville. We then turned to the right and crossed the Rappahannock River, passed through Orlean and marched until 12 o'clock at night, 25 miles.

26th (Aug. 1862)

again on the march going through Salem, White Plaines and Haymarket, some 24 miles, when we layed down to rest for an hour or two.

[August 27]

We were called up in the morning of the 27th (Aug. 1862) before daylight and on the march for Manassas, which place we reached about 8 o'clock. We had some Yankees to contend with here, but they hurt none of us. We got plenty of provisions here which came in very good indeed for we were all very hungry. We remained here all day and until 11 o'clock at night, when we started for the old battleground of Bull Run or near, marching about 7 miles, we haulted about daylight and layed down to try sleep some, we marched round here all day til night.

[August 28]

This being the 28th (Aug. 1862), when we got into a regular engagement with the enemy about dark which lasted some 2 hours. I was wounded in the left leg, the ball taking out some pieces of bone and the Surg. taking still more.

[August 28 to September 24]

I was taken to the Crawford Cushing where I remained from the 28th of August till the 3rd of September (1862) when I was removed to Aldie in Loudoun County, where I remained until the 20th (Sept. 1862), when I started for home, which place I reached on the 24th (Sept. 1862).

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