Lot 423: Personal leatherbound 1863 diary of Sgt. Francis A. Clary, 2.5 x 4, signed on the first page in ink, "F. A. Clary." The diary contains terse entries penned almost daily from January 1 through April 13, and May 24 through June 13, the day before Clary was killed in action at the Battle of Port Hudson. The diary begins in a calm state, the entry of January 1 reading, "Mild & balmy are these Southern skies…Read'g 'Nicholas Nickelby.'" By the middle of the month things had changed, with Clary writing on the 16th and 17th, "Is bitter cold, with a piercing merciless wind…All preparing to leave for action up the river." After a "narrow escape from a boiler explosion," Clary describes a Sunday in mid-February, "Had a miserable drill. Came in on the 'double quick.' Sacred time seems to be of little acct. now!" On March 13, he writes, "We commence our Grand Expedition toward Port Hudson." The next day, "Marched 7 miles last night, & 10 more to day. Are now about 5 m. fr. Port Hudson…Hear the firing at Port Hudson distinctly. Occupy ground just deserted by the rebels." On April 12, "Moved up a short distance from Pattersonville. Shelled a post of rebel cavalry & at 5 P.M. engaged a rebel battery. Fight lasted 35 min. Were driven back. A piece of shell struck only 2 ft. fr. me." The fiercest fighting begins on May 27, "The cannonading has commenced…This has been a day of terrible slaughter. 2 shot in our regt." On May 28, he gravely observes, "Dead and wounded are counted by hundreds." On the 30th, he writes, "Several narrow escapes from the heavy guns of the enemy tearing down trees." His last entry comes on June 13, "All prepared for the attack of Port Hudson at early dawn. I am in excellent health & spirits." A pocket in the pack of the diary contains several clippings of inspirational texts. Also includes two full-length carte-de-visite portraits of Clary, one in a small frame, as well as a newspaper clipping mentioning his death. In overall fine condition. An outstanding firsthand account of a soldier's journey during the Civil War.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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