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Jackson County, Illinois

Excerpts from the 1863 Civil War Diary of Thomas N. McCluer

Events prior to the Battle of Vicksburg

Copy of the Original for the Year 1863 at the Jackson County Illinois Historical Society

Donated by James W. McCluer

April 30, 1863 - 10 A.M. Started and traveled to the River 6 miles below grand gulf. crossed the River and went-in to camp in the State of Miss. at 8 p.m.

May 1, 1863 - 7 A.M. Started and marched 2 miles. I was detailed to unload the Boat so I did not march with Reg't caught up with the Reg't after dark. they had been in the fight that day. one wounded and 2 taken prisoner.

May 2. 1863 - 5 A.M. The Rebs having retreated from the field we took up the march pursuit overtaking and skirmishing-with them. drove them about seven miles. camped at 01 A.M.

May 3, 1863 - Started. Marched. two or three hundred yards went into camp on little Ridge. had to use water out of the standing holes that was in the Branch.

May 4, 1863 - 9 A.M. Now drying our Blankets while a Squad of men are killing us some beef. Remained in camp all day and a very hard Rain at night.

May 5, 1863 - 10 P.M. in Camp Cleaning our guns. a gun is fired occasionally and a man arrested and tied up to a tree. we drew half rations for two days.

May 6, 1863 - 2 A.M. Laying in Camp. teams pass me taking pontoons Bridges to the River.

May 7, 1863 - 10 A.M. Took up the line of march to travel about 5 miles in the direction of Jackson and went in to camps. Sent teams to the gulf for Rations. Remained in camp at Rocky Springs.

May 8, 1863 - 6 P.M. Yet in camp at Rocky Springs. we are expecting to march tomorrow.

May 9, 1863 - 5 A.M. We have orders to draw rations to include the 11th and have them cooked in our haver sacks by 10 A.M. We marched 8 miles and camped within 6 miles of Utacha.

May 10, 1863 - 1 P.M. Marched 2 miles Beyond Utacha and Camped in a pine grove. Drawed two days Rations after night and was ready to march. here 100 men was detailed for Picket.

May 11, 1863 - 5 A.M. Marched about 5 mile formed a line of Battle and stopped there and Camped at night at this place about 7 miles Beyond Utacha and lay in Line of Battle all night.

May 12, 1863 - 4 A.M. Marched in the direction of Raym9nd at 1 o'clock we had marched 9 miles we was attacked. the attack was made on our first Brigade. we got up in a hurry and fought until night.

May 13, 1863 - 12 P.M. Started to Clinton. distance 8 miles at 3 pm it rained a hard shower which made us all quite wet. at half past six stopped. kindled fire made coffee at 1/2 7 o'clock was ordered to change the position so we all least lay down to rest.

May 14, 1863 - 6 A.M. We started for Jackson distance 10 miles within 3 miles at 10 am. the Battle commenced. Login in the neighborhood of the city. Gen Logan took position on the left and was not engaged. Gen (?) division commanded by Gen. Crooke put them to flight we camped near town.

May 15, 1863 - 6 A.M. Started in the direction of Vicksburg. traveled 18 miles camped near Bolton(?) in a level bottom. hard rain yesterday. the road very bad

May 16, 1863 - 6 A.M. Started in the direction of Vicksburg. traveled about 8 miles met the enemy in force and commenced fighting Battle last till sundown when the enemy was in full Retreat. By this time being dark we camped on the field.

May 17, 1863 - 7 A.M. The Rebs Being full Retreat toward Vicksburg followed closely by two Divisions. they crossed the Black River Bridge and burned the Bridge leaving 5500 on this side. we of course had to make a pontoon Bridge which took up some time.

May 18, 1863 - 11 A.M. Crossed Black River on a pontoon Bridge. traveled 15 mile camped 5 miles from Vicksburg. Lay on the ground without Blankets or coats or tents and all most without anything to eat.

May 19, 1863 - 11 A.M. Onward on the field and was called to Support the llth Ohio Battery. continued in action till night when we as sent out on Picket guard where we continued all night so easily at the evening works.

May 20, 1863 - 4 1/2 A.M. Advanced within 400 yards of the Enemies works. keeping a constant firing and if they attempted to fire their cannon we would Shoot in their pot holes and soon Silenced the Battery's. we was soon Relieved by Co. B of our RegIt. When we returned to the RegIt and had nothing to eat.

May 21, 1863 - 4 1/2 A.M. Hear firing all night. firing continued all day and heavy Bombardment at night from the gun boats which we could witness at the distance of 3 miles.

May 22, 1863 - 9 A.M. Our RegIt was ordered in line to Charge the works of the enemy at 12 n the charge was made but on nearing the fort we was obliged to fall Back. the horrible scenes. Our Reg't cut all to pieces. our Col. killed. a great Loss on our side. I was sunstruck.

May 23, 1863 - Today we lay in line of Battle all day. what was able into action had one man wounded in the arm. I was pretty sick all day.

May 24, 1863 - The Reg't Laying around Camp on the Battle field fixing them shebang's to sleep in. making Shades out of cane we dig in the hill side and put some can over it.

May 25, 1863 - A flag of truce was hoisted and firing ceased until our men could Bring the Dead which was awful Sight.

May 26, 1863 - Nothing particular going on. the Battery Boys are throwing up earth works for them to stay behind. May 27, 1863 - Our Reg't went on Picket and at night made rifle pits to Stay in and shoot from.

May 28, 1863 - Drawed plenty of Rations such as hard crackers and fat Sowbellies, coffee, sugar, potatoes, everything an abundance.

May 29, 1863 - Today the heaviest firing ever Been since the siege commenced injuring the Rebs fort very much, tearing it down and they could not fix it up for our Shooters.

May 30, 1863 - Lay in Camp day. Rifle pits at night. heavy cannonading from 3 until day.

May 31, 1863 - Again all day firing. have finished our Rifle pit. During the month of May we have been in 4 different engagements and gained 3 victories during this month. Our Co. lost 18 men killed wounded taken prisoners. Our Reg't is in tolerable good health and are in good Spirits and bound to give the Victory.

June 1, 1863 - On picket guard firing all day. worked in trenchments till 10 o clock at night. heavy skirmishing on our left opposite Quinby's Division at 12 o clock a large fire was seen in town the gun boats set the city on fire.

June 2, 1863 - Laying in Camp all day. Continued cannonading very lively and doing a great deal of injury to the Rebs works.

June 3, 1863 - Laying in Camp and was called up at 10 pm. lay in the ditches at night. one Capt. one Sergeant one private wounded out of the 8 Illinois. They was on Picket.

June 4, 1863 - Laying in camp all day continued cannonading at a Brisk Rate the Rebs. Batteries are silenced and are doing no harm.

June 5, 1863 - Lay in camp all day. Nothing. Strange. Trasers fired. continued fire of cannon. the Boys are in good Spirits and all are Ready. to meet the Enemy at anytime outside of the ?? Works.

June 6, 1863 - on Picket guard Co. D & E up on the Reserve and worked at night on the Crest works ?? had one man wounded in Co. F.

June 7, 1863 - in camp. health generally good.

June 8, 1863 - In Camp all day. Benjamin 0. Wilson returned to the Regt and was to the Cane Breakers Barrell ? commenced to dig a well.

Thomas N. McCluer (son of John A. and Clarinda Nase McCluer of Levan Township)

Born - January 26, 1844 Levan Township, Jackson County, Illinois

Died - March 21, 1911 Lyon Township, Cherokee County, Kansas

Assigned to 81st Illinois Volunteers Company D

Member 59th G.A.R., Cherokee County, Kansas

He married Mary J. Firth (probably daughter of John Firth of England who settled near Jones Creek, Jackson County, Illinois) on February 15, 1872 in Jackson County, Illinois

Mary Firth was born: February 13, 1855 Jackson County, Illinois

Died: February 15, 1940 Cherokee County, Kansas

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