Charles L. C. Minor Cash Book and Edward P. Harmon Civil War Diary, 1860-1864 (Ms2008-081)

Dublin Core


cash book maintained by Confederate Captain Charles L. C. Minor from 1860 to 1864. Also contained within the cash book's pages are diary entries of Union Army Private Edward P. Harmon (5th Maine Infantry) during May and June, 1864. Research materials on the two soldiers (including photocopies of maps, muster rolls, census records, and an image of Harmon) and a complete photocopy of the piece are also included.

The small volume of 68 pages, bearing on its spine the embossment "cash book," was retained for its intended use by Captain Minor, its original owner, to carefully record personal expenditures and savings. Minor's records commence with November 6, 1860 and end on May 4, 1864. In recording these financial transactions, Minor provides details regarding his daily whereabouts and activities. He records meal and travel purchases, as well as amounts paid to individual servants, expenses for personal and household items, services, and military gear. Also recorded within the book are Minor's bank transactions for 1861-1862, a list of silver wedding gifts received by Fanny Cazenove Minor, and a list of stocks and bonds held by Minor.

The cash book was among materials seized by Federal troops in the act of destroying the rail line and depot at Hewletts Station, Virginia on May 25, 1864, and came into the possession of Private Harmon, who used it as a diary. (As the first diary entry predates the volume's capture by three weeks, we may surmise that the early entries were made retrospectively or that they were copied from another book.) Harmon's first entry, for May 2, finds his regiment having just crossed the Hazel River and preparing to cross the Rapidan. Soon, Harmon describes fearful, endless shelling by "cast iron hummingbirds" during the Battle of the Wilderness. Harmon briefly mentions African American troops, Confederate prisoners of war, and camp rumors. As the regiment marches toward Spotsylvania Court House, Harmon mentions a fire in which many wounded soldiers were killed. He describes heavy fighting and losses at Spotsylvania and at one point questions the actions of the Brigade commander. As his regiment endures battles at North Anna and Cold Harbor, Harmon describes the morale of his comrades ("very much broken up they are tired heartsick & discouraged") and himself ("sick, tired & worn out too night this is our 9th day of slaughter"). Many of the entries center on his brigade's movements and preparations for battles that often fail to materialize. Harmon's diary entries end with June 3, 1864. Following the June 3 entry is a gap, indicating the removal of several pages, and a page of wartime accounts held by Harmon and I. F. Goodwin.

The volume also contains two botanical samples, one of which appears to be a collection of four-leaved clovers, tipped into the first two pages.



Minor, Charles L. C. The Real Lincoln: from the testimony of his contemporaries. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. (Richmond, Va.: E. Waddey Co., 1904). E457 M66 1904 Civil War Spec

Minor, Charles L. C. "The old system of slavery, its compensations and contrasts to the present labor conditions." Southern Historical Society Papers 30(1902): 125-129. E483.7 S76 v. 30 Civil War Spec

Minor Family Papers, 1787-1906, Robert Alonzo Brock Collection, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California. (microfilm copy held by Library of Virginia)