Diary, Charles O. Poland, 1864 (Ms2008-013)

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This is the diary of Charles O. Poland, a private in Company B, 142nd Ohio Infantry (National Guard) during the Civil War, was a resident of Knox County, Ohio. Born around 1836, he was the husband of Angeline Disney (daughter of William A. and Mary Jane Lampson Disney) and the father of several children. Census records indicate that Poland was a farmer; documents within this collection indicate that Poland was also certified to teach in Morrow and Knox counties prior to the war. The 142nd Ohio National Guard was organized at Camp Chase, Ohio and mustered into service for 100 days on May 12, 1864. On May 14, the regiment proceeded to Martinsburg, West Virginia, where it drilled until May 19, when ordered to Fort Lyon, Virginia, from which it served guard duty in the Washington D. C. area. On June 5, the regiment was ordered to the front and arrived on June 9 at White House Landing, Virginia, where it was dispatched to guard a supply train through the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. From there, the 142nd proceeded to Point of Rocks, about five miles from Petersburg, Virginia. The regiment participated in the early siege of Petersburg through August 19, when it was ordered back to Washington, D.C., thence to Camp Chase, where it was mustered out on September 2, 1864. The diary's entries commence on June 15, 1864, with Knox already in the rifle pits before Petersburg. He writes of being detailed to destroy Confederate breastworks, erect fortifications, and fell trees as battles raged nearby. Elsewhere he mentions having seen generals Grant and Burnside, the gunboats on the James River, the discovery of a cache of buried silver and gold by a New York regiment while hunting for fishing worms, and the trading of hardtack for tobacco between the lines. Throughout the diary, Poland notes many days on picket, and the state of the fighting around Petersburg. On July 20, Poland developed a fever, and the final four entries, concluding with July 31, are devoted to the condition of his health. Also within the diary are a few entries regarding pre- and post-war personal financial transactions.