Guide to the Henry C. Ash Diary, RG 298
Date Span: January 1, 1862 through November 9, 1862
Biographical Sketch: Ash served with the 8th New Hampshire Regiment, Company H, during the Civil War
Scope / Content: One diary (100 pages) containing daily entries from January to November 1862
Synopsis and Highlights:
January. Most of activities involved drill at Fort Currier near Manchester. Moved to Boston on January 25 with his unit, which pitched tents at Fort Independence, while awaiting orders. He received his sergeant's warrant on January 17.
February. Drill, parade, inspections, and guard duties continued. A friend died at camp. On January 18 the unit left Boston on two steamships. The weather was stormy and windy and many got sick. By 26 February they were at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The soldiers had not been told their destination.
March. On 10 March they arrived at Nassau. The ship captain who had been drunk since the voyage began, died on 14 March. The ship sailed for Ship Island, arriving at Mobile on 25 March. By the end of March they were on Ship Island.
April. Was engaged in daily drills and frequent guard duty. Observed offshore firing between Union and Confederate gunships. On 10 April a review involving fifteen regiments was conducted. Fierce storms blow sand and some men were killed by lightning. Nine regiments left on 15 April. A friend died and was buried on the island.
May. He helped unlocked a captured schooner of cotton. Heard that Pensacola was captured with losses to both sides. Helped load ships with supplies. Left Ship Island on 20 May, and camped along the Mississippi River. A breach in the dikes caused much excitement and repair work was required.
June. Was in New Orleans on 7 June, thought the town was neat and the people there good-natured. Drilling and guard duty daily at Camp Parapet five miles from New Orleans. Much local fresh food available.
July. Though often hot, rainy and muddy, guard duty, drilling and inspections continued. Hopes he doesn't get yellow fever. One soldier died, and some have jaundice.
August. Three friends died and were buried. Camp routine duties continued. Had dinner at Planter's Hotel in New Orleans on 15 August.
September. Had fever the first ten days of the month and it was treated with quinine and whiskey. Had more fever later in the month, as did many other soldiers. One died.
October. Received a box from home of good things. Had more fever for eight days in early October. Marched from Camp Parapet on 11 October. Was at Camp Kearny until 24 October, when they boarded the steamer Seville. March through Donaldsville, Ponchaville, and had battle with the enemy beyond Napoleonville on 27 October. On the following day they marched 15 miles further to Gipadoux. No further entries until 3 November.
November. Was encamped on 3 November. Left Tiersville for New Orleans on 4 November. Was at Fort Kearney on 6 November and had had redressed. On 9 November his hand was still doing well, but the hospital was not a nice place to be. This was the last regular entry in the diary.
On the last page of the diary, there is a note that he went for his service bounty on June 10, 1864.
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