This partial year 1863 diary was kept by Jared Fuller (1821-1900) who was 40 years old when he enlisted on 22 August 1861 as a corporal in Co. A, 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He was discharged for disability on 25 October 1863 presumably related to the failing eyesight he complained of in his diary.
The 11th Pennsylvania Regiment (108th Volunteers) was organized at Philadelphia by Colonel Joseph Harlan of Philadelphia as an independent regiment under authority of the Secretary of War, known as “Harlan’s Light Cavalry.”Most companies were from Pennsylvania, but Company A was from Iowa, parts of E and F from New York, part of I from New Jersey, and Company M was from Ohio.
In the 1850 US Census, Jared was enumerated in Colchester, Delaware county, New York. At that time, prior to his marriage, he was living in the home of his parents, John Fuller (1780-1856) and Perninah Langdon (1784-1873).
Just before and after his enlistment, Jared resided in Fort Dodge, Webster county, Iowa. He was married in 1854 to Sarah J. Beates (1828-1869) and was the father of four children. When he returned to Fort Dodge after the war, he held several local elected positions including county treasurer and county recorder.
[Note: This diary is from the private collection of Greg Herr and was transcribed & published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]
Thursday, January 1, 1863—It is New Years. How oft I have looked forward to this time of the year with bright & joyous hopes but today I look at it with indifference. It is a dark hour for my country.
Friday 2—Still on picket. The weather is beautiful—almost like Spring. Days are sunshine & the nights clear & frosty. I wonder what is stored up in future for me. Time will show.
Saturday 3—We were relieved from picket today. Some excitement in camp that the rebels are approaching in strong force. General Corcoran commanding here. I saw him today.
Sunday, January 4, 1863—Company inspection. This morning the day was uncommonly fine. The 58th Pennsylvania embarked for Newbern, North Carolina. Success attend them.
Monday 5—A body of infantry left Suffolk for North Carolina today. The 13th Indiana Regiment bid farewell to Brigadier Gen. [Otis S.] Ferry. He paid his farewell address & departed for the North.
Tuesday 6—Everything quiet here today. News arrived here by the papers that the gunboat Monitor foundered at sea off Cape Hatteras on her way south.
Wednesday, January 7, 1863—Everything passed off quietly today. Two companies of our regiment wet on a scout toward Blackwater. The companies returned from North Carolina all safe and sound.
Thursday 8—Camp Suffolk. Our regiment is out on a scout, Started this morning. Weather cool with a little rain. No stirring news.
Friday 9—Camp Suffolk, Va. Last night at 12 o’clock news came that our pickets were driven in. Snow fell in the night. Cannon heard toward Windsor. Regiment out yet. All quiet in Suffolk.
Saturday, January 10, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. A rainy day. Boys still out. Rumor says the rebels are this side Blackwater from 8 to 15 thousand strong. Two rebel prisoners were brought in at 11 o’clock p.m.
Sunday 11—Camp Suffolk, Va. All quiet all day. Rather cool and cloudy.
Monday 12—Camp Suffolk, Va. Rumors of rebels in force hanging around us. G & K companies go on scout. Weather cold.
Tuesday, January 13, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. This morning A & H companies go out on scout. Heavy cannonading heard on James river. Company came in at 9 p.m. Brought in 6 or prisoners—guerrillas.
Wednesday 14—Companies D & E go out today on scout. South rains. Weather warm. All quiet at Suffolk.
Thursday 15—Camp Suffolk. Company B went out on scout. Dull times. All quiet and so much so as to be oppressive.
Friday, January 16, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Rainy day in a Va. camp & its accompaniments of mud.
Saturday 17—Camp Suffolk. Cold & windy but clear. Nothing going on to break the monotony of life.
Sunday 18—Camp Suffolk. Last night was the coldest we have had. Dress parade at 9 o’clock a.m. Company started on a scout 5 p.m. Returned 9.
Monday, January 19, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. A fine morning bright but cool. Dress parade at 9 a.m. The day passed quietly away. The papers tonight brings of a victory in Arkansas. 7,000 prisoners.
Tuesday 20—Camp Suffolk. Cloudy wind south east & rather cold. Went on a scout to Holland Corners. The rebels had barricaded the road. Returned at 3 p.m. Another scout got 2 prisoners.
Wednesday 21—Camp Suffolk, Va. Rained all last night. 2 companies went on a scout 2 hours before day light pay master in camp.
Thursday, January 22, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Wet & moist on account of irregulation of pay rolls. No pay yet. Two companies on a scout returned at dark. No rebels found.
Friday 23—Camp Suffolk—Wet & stormy. No scout today. The Army of the Potomac is on the move once more. May the God of Battles be with them.
Saturday 24—Camp Suffolk. Weather still moist but clearing off. A scout of two companies have gone out to North Carolina & the Dismal Swamp. Another of two companies gone on the same.
Sunday, January 25, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Clear & pleasant. All quiet in camp today. Seems quiet like Sunday. All are anxious to [hear] from the advance of Burnside.
Monday 26—Clear & pleasant. Companies A & H returned from North Carolina. Burnsides advance was impeded by the bad roads and storms of last week.
Tuesday 27—Camp Suffolk, Va, Cloudy. A storm is pending. Detailed on camp guard today. Afternoon a furious storm is now raging. No news of importance from the army.
Wednesday, January 28, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. Stormed all night. The paymaster in camp. The pay rolls have been signed for 7 months pay. Hooker supersedes Burnside in command.
Thursday 29—Camp Suffolk. Cold & stormy last night. Co. G went on a scout this side of Carrsville. They was fired on by rebels in ambush. Another scout went today. Found rebels at Deserted House.
Friday 30—A force of 7 regiments of infantry, 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 2 batteries artillery & howitzers left Suffolk at 10 last night. At 8 this a.m., drove in the rebel pickets after [we] opened on them with all our artillery.
Saturday, January 31, 1863—Deserted House 10 miles from Suffolk. The Battle [of Kelly’s Store] yesterday, was an important affair. The rebels 4,000 strong under Gen. [Roger A.] Pryor was driven across the Blackwater by our force under Gen. [Michael] Corcoran. Our loss was severe.
Sunday, February 1—Camp Suffolk. James [A.] Beach was buried today with military honors. He was a brave and gallant soldier & met his death in the discharge of his duty.
Monday 2—Camp Suffolk. Co. A went on scout, Our party went to Carrsville. No rebels here since the battle. Went over the battlefield. The picture was horrible.
Tuesday, February 3, 1863—Camp Suffolk. A terrible snow storm is raging today. It seems quite like an Iowa snow storm. The surgeons report of killed & wounded in late battle is over 100.
Wednesday 4—Camp Suffolk, Weather cold . Snow about 8 inches deep. Rather hard keeping warm. Tonight the moonlight shining on the snow & post would remind one of a colder clime.
Thursday 5—Cold & rainy. Nothing doing today but camp duties & as few of them as can be got along with. Bids fair to be stormy night. No movements now.
Friday, February 6, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Rained all last night. Snow has disappeared & its place supplied with mud. Went to the hospital. Our wounded doing well.
Saturday 7—Camp Suffolk. Cleared off last night. Very disagreeable weather. Nothing going on but Saturday’s police.
Sunday 8—Camp Suffolk. Weather clear and beautiful. Been to church today. Our chaplain preached in town. Subject of discourse—the cross scene.
Monday, February 9, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. Weather continues beautiful. Went to Norfolk on pass. Enjoyed the journey much. Williams of Co. A got his discharge. Went on train with me to Norfolk.
Tuesday 10—Norfolk, Va. Weather warm and springlike. Vigorous steps are being taken to organize African regiments in Norfolk & other places.
Wednesday 11—Camp Suffolk. Cold & Cloudy. 2 companies on scout. Drill of the recruits. Eyes still weak. Co. E went to South Quay. Drove in the rebel pickets.
Thursday, February 12, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Weather stormy with cold wind. Two weeks since the battle. The [battlefield] scenes have not faded or lost any of its impression.
Friday 13—Camp Suffolk, Va. Another sudden change this morning. Clear & cold. Wind northwest. Co. A on a scout. Went to Carrsville. Suffered much with my eyes. The rebels not been here for 5 days.
Saturday 14—Camp Suffolk. Clear and cold. Some ice to be seen this morning. Saw the regimental surgeon. Got excused from full duty. Visited 130 New York. Saw my friend John Barager. *
* BARAGER, JOHN K.—Age, 44 years. Enlisted, August 6,1862, at Ossian, N . Y . ; mustered in as private, Co. I, August 16, 1862, to serve three years; appointed corporal, September 3, 1862; wounded, date not stated, at Old Church, Va.; died of such wounds, May 31, 1864; also borne as John K. Barragher.
Sunday, February 15, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Weather begins to assume the appearance of Spring. Dress Parade 9 a.m. Went to meeting in town 11 a.m. No preaching. Went to the negro meeting at noon.
Monday 16—Camp Suffolk, Va. Weather pleasant. 3 companies of cavalry went beyond Carrsville. Drove in the rebel pickets. Two of our men dismounted by wires they stretched across the road.
Tuesday 17—Camp Suffolk, Va. Steady rain & cold withall. A detail from our company went to Windsor. Saw the rebel pickets there. All quiet along the lines.
Wednesday, February 18, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. Rained all night & still raining & cold withall. Almost enough to snow. No scout yesterday or today on account of the bad weather.
Thursday 19—Camp Suffolk, Va. Weather still unsettled. Mud knee deep. Our company & two more on a scout. Have not returned yet 9 a.m.
Friday 20—Camp Suffolk, Va. Cleared off this morning. The scout that went out last night returned at midnight. Found no rebs. The 9th Army Corps has arrived at Fort Monroe.
Saturday, February 21, 1863—Clear & pleasant. A battalion under Major [Frank A.] Stratton gone to Elizabeth City & 2 companies on scout. Looks like a storm.
Sunday 22—Camp Suffolk, Va. Snowed all night & this morning it has turned to rain. The anniversary of the day fills the heart of the patriot with hope. The spirit of Washington still lives.
Monday 23—Camp Suffolk. Cold & windy. No mail since Saturday. Two companies on scout. The command under Major [Frank A.] Stratton returned today with some prisoners.
Tuesday, February 24, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. Cold & clear. Got a letter from home. Glad to hear all well there. Some of the money sent had been received.
Wednesday 25—Camp Suffolk, Va. Clear & Springlike. Co. A wet on a scout as far as Beaver Dam Church. Saw no rebels. News of the investment of Vicksburg received tonight.
Thursday 26—Camp Suffolk, Va. Dark and cloudy. Threatening a storm. Company Drill on foot in a.m. No news of importance. Rather dull in camp.
Friday, February 27, 1863—Warm & showery like Spring. Scout went out early this morning. An alarm in camp. The cavalry ordered out 10 p.m. Went to the old battlefield.
Saturday 28—Camp Suffolk. The alarm last night was occasioned by a force of rebels showing themselves to our pickets but fled before our troops arrived on the ground. Mustered for pay by Col. [Charles C.] Dodge of the 1st New York [Mounted] Rifles.
Sunday, March 1—Camp Suffolk. Rainy during the forepart of the day. Suffering with my eyes. Fear I shall lose their use forever. Cleared off towards evening.
Monday, March 2, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Clear and Springlike. An order issued this morning for grinding sabers. Looks like bloody work. Mounted drill 10 a.m. The Conscription Bill gives hope to the loyal.
Tuesday 3—Camp Suffolk, Va. Weather pleasant. Rather dull in camp. Two companies on scout. Rumors of a raid to be made by our regiment & some mounted infantry on some rebel post.
Wednesday 4—Camp Suffolk. Snowed this morning & rather cold. Our regiment went on scout with two howitzers & mounted infantry. The force returned having made a successful raid.
Thursday, March 5, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Cold last night. Ice froze thicker than I have seen in Pa. The sad news came last night of the loss of another of our ironclads.
Friday 6—Camp Suffolk. Rather cold but pleasant. News from Vicksburg rather conflicting.
Saturday 7—Camp Suffolk,Va. Weather pleasant. The Saturday’s policing on the grounds & preparing for tomorrow’s inspection.
Sunday, March 8, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Warm & showery like Spring. Regimental Inspection 4 p.m. by Major Gen. Peck. Went meeting. Heard the chaplain of 112th New York Vols.
Monday 9—Camp Suffolk. Clear & pleasant. Dress Parade 9 a.m. 4 companies on 5 days scout to North Carolina.
Tuesday 10—Camp Suffolk. Dark and cloudy. Co. A on picket duty for 1 week.
Wednesday, March 11, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. Stormed hard all last night with high winds. Went this morning with forage to the South Quay picket station with forage. Cleared off this afternoon.
Thursday 12—Camp Suffolk. Clear and rather cold. All quiet in camp. Evening Co. K returned from a scout. Had one of their men shot by a bushwhacker who made his escape.
Friday 13—Camp Suffolk. Batteries practicing at target. Co. K went out in force to revenge the death of Corporal [Levi] Lewis * by laying waste [to] the country.
* Levi Lewis, born October 16, 1841, was reared on the family farm in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The oldest son of Robert S. and Mary Lewis, he had an older sister, Lydia Rugar, and two younger brothers, Robert T. and Car. Levi voluntarily joined Company K of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Sworn in on September 1, 1861, he was appointed corporal on September 9th and served primarily at Fort Monroe and at other camps in Virginia. He held the rank of corporal until he was killed by a sniper on March 12, 1863, at Suffolk, Virginia. His body and efforts were shipped home to Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, on March 17, 1863.
Saturday, March 14, 1863—Camp Suffolk. Clear & cold for the season and climate. 5 regiments of the army corps arrived here last night. The staff of the 28 N [ ] fetched up in our stable.
Sunday 15—Camp Suffolk. Still cold & dry. More soldiers are arriving.
Sunday 22—Camp Suffolk, Va. The snow is fast melting but oh! the mud. The band is now playing the dead march as the body of Lieut. Moody is being conveyed to the cars.
Saturday 11—Camp Suffolk. The enemy have advanced upon us in force, driven in our pickets, and taken some of them. Our regiment went out toward night & engaged them and took two prisoners.
Sunday 12—Enemy seem to be preparing for an attack. No engagement as yet.
Monday, April 13, 1863—Enemy are all around us. A skirmish at noon on the Somerton Road. Enemy fell back.
Tuesday 14—Firing through the night by the gunboats. One gunboat reported disabled.
Monday 20—Camp Suffolk, Va. A gallant dash was made last night by the 89th New York & 8th Connecticut Volunteers across the Nansemond river, capturing 200 prisoners and a battery of guns. Loss small on our side. *
* “You have probably read about our taking the rebel battery the other side of the river, so I shall not need to say much about that. I was there of course. I fired my rifle 3 times. None of the boys fired more times than that, with one of our rifles, but those who had Sharps Rifles fired 5 times. Some of the boys fired none. One man of this company was wounded in his arm and leg but not seriously.” — Henry C. Smith, Co. E, 8th Connecticut Volunteers, 10 May 1863. [See: Henry Cole Smith Letters]
Sunday 3—Camp Suffolk, Va. Morning bright and beautiful. A large force went out on several roads to reconnoiter. Slight skirmishing on South Quay. Enemy in heavy force on Petersburg Road. Hard fighting. This force commanded by Major General Getty. Enemy driven back. Union loss 200.
Monday, May 4, 1863—Camp Suffolk, Va. As was thought by us yesterday, the enemy evacuated their position here last night and we are now pursuing them and taking many prisoners. [Leander] Chase of A Company, 11th Pa. Cav. took and brought in five prisoners and a sutler’s wagon.
Monday 22—Regiment marched from Suffolk to Portsmouth.
Tuesday 23—Went on board transport. Arrived opposite Yorktown about sundown. Anchored in the middle of the river.
Wednesday, June 24, 1863—In York River opposite Yorktown on board transport. 2 o’clock afternoon received orders to move up the river within 10 miles of West Point.
Thursday 25—Arrived at the White House about 10 o’clock. Expecting to disembark. Saddles all stripped for a raid. Rebel pickets driven in. Two taken prisoners. Pickets and scout gone out.