Guide to the John Darby Papers, RG 300

Listed by: Dwayne Cox
Date: 9/27/99

Date Span: 1863-1865

Size of Collection: 12 items

Biographical Sketch: Darby served in the provost marshalís office of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War.

Scope / Content: Darbyís papers consist of letters regarding military life, including his shock and anger regarding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


1 MAY 186[3]. Brandy, Station, VA. Has been on picket duty. He has not received the revolvers from home.

11 SEPT.1863. Beverly Ford, Rappahannock River. Traveled six days by boat and train via Potomac River, as a build-up of federal forces ensued. The rebels are three miles across the river.

18 May 1864. Spottsylavania C.H., VA. The letter is being written while he is in a rifle pit. He says 64,000 federal reinforcements have arrived. There has been constant artillery shelling and Stuartís cavalry was repelled.

2 July 1864. Blackwater, VA. Shelling goes on daily with the rebels defending Petersburg. His division has not been in active fighting since 22 June.

20 AUG. 1864. Headwaters of Blackwater River. He is on a provost marshal guard detail. Federal forces are tearing up the Weldon Railroad. He has some urinary health problems. He saw 200 rebel prisoners the day before. Two barges exploded and some 80 soldiers were killed.

9 DEC. 1864. HQS. 2ct army corps.  This was fighting near Hatcherís Run. The troops hop to be in Petersburg soon. The ground is frozen.

16 DEC. 1864. Near yellow house- Jerusalem Plank Road. His corps is now in reserve and is building houses for shelter near the earthworks around Petersburg.

4 MAR. 1865. Near Hatcherís Run, VA. Soldiers throw away coats, blankets, and other clothing when going to battle. Some of it is recovered, but not often. He expects to be home in year.

5 MAR. 1865. Near Hatcherís Run, officer of provost marshal. He has been trying to get information on one horse mowers.

26 MAR. 1865. Cumming House, VA. No fighting today, but whipped the rebels yesterday. He thinks troops will move out tomorrow with Sheridan. The court-marshal president was shot in the leg yesterday.

18 APR. 1865. On Danville Railroad west of Burkville, VA. Marched hard for 3 days from Appomattox Court House, and then heard new of Lincolnís assassination. He is furious and hopes vengeance will be swift on those responsible. He has not changed clothes in 3 weeks.

6 MAY. 1865. Campbell Hospital, Washington D.C. He is laid up in the hospital, with maybe some form of painful rheumatism, and canít eat much. He wished he was at home, but doesnít know how long it will be until he can do so.

Go to the AU Special Collections & Archives Department Homepage