1863 SOLDIER DIARY - CORPORAL SAMUEL HUXHAM, CO. "B", 14TH CONNECTICUT INFANTRY, KILLED IN ACTION AT GETTYSBURG ON JULY 3, 1863

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Item Code: 846-138

Pocket Diary for 1863. Published Annually for the Trade, New York, 1863. Owner inscription, front eps, in pencil-"Samuel Huxham/ Co. B 14 Regt. C.V./Camped near Falmouth/ Virginia/Feb. 10th 1863." Small brown leatherette booklet, 3.875 x 2.75.", w/gilt flap lettering-"Diary/1863"- & gilt edges. Three dated entries per page, plus memoranda pages.

Aside from one tiny flap-corner tear, the diary is in fine shape w/with sharp gilt lettering. Written in pencil, its entries commence February 2 and run continuously through May 28th, w/numerous memoranda page jottings. Though the pencil is light, all entries are entirely legible. Overall condition, VG plus plus.

Samuel Huxham was a 23 year old English immigrant who settled in Middletown, CT, where he married Carrie Gibbons, with whom he had a son, Samuel Huxham Jr, just prior to mustering as Private in Co. "B", 14th Connecticut Infantry, a company commanded by his brother-in-law, Captain Elijah W. Gibbons. Huxham's August 1862 enlistment coincided with the mustering of the 14th Connecticut, which, beginning with the Battle of Antietam, would participate in all the major battles and campaigns of the Army of the Potomac through Lee's surrender at Appomattox. During service this regiment would lose 205 men killed and mortally wounded and 191 to disease, for a total of 396.

Within four months after the regimental mustering, Huxham's company commander brother-in-law was killed at the Battle of Fredericksbug. In his initial diary entry notes that he "Was taken to the hospital sick with cold on my lungs and fever." This hospital phase extends into early March, followed by two weeks during which he was "excused from duty." Other than mentioning a hospital inspection by General Darious Couch, these entries do little more than record his sickness.

In late March Huxham is granted furlough, arriving in Middletown at 2 am on the 20th and "quite surprising everyone." On the 21st he records being at home and "enjoying myself very much with my wife and dear dear little boy and all the rest." The next day he treats himself to a shave and haircut that "was quite luxurious" and spends more time with his "Dear wife and boy, bless his little heart. Oh how I do love him."

Back with his regiment, at Falmouth, Huxham records the Chancellorsville Campaign in a few terse paragraphs. On April 30th-"Marched at 8 O'clock to the United States Ford where we crossed this afternoon the Rappahanock." On the 2nd of April his regiment is marched to the Front and put into a line of battle. On the 3rd--"The Rebels attacked us after a half an hour fight we were compelled to retreat to our Reserves." On the 4th he reports his that unit is still "on the battle field several little skirmishes all day", and on the 6th that "we were ordered to retreat across the river which we did and occupied our old camp at Falmouth." Through the remainder of May he spends time on Picket on the Rappahannock river while writing and receives letters from his wife. His final May 28th entry mentions battalion drill in the morning and brigade drill in the afternoon, followed by an order "to pack up and be ready to move on a half hour's notice."

During the Gettysburg Campaign the 14th Connecticut was attached the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Hancock's 2nd Corps. On the morning of July 3rd, in front of Cemetery Ridge Huxham was on the skirmish line exchanging shots with Rebels near the Bliss barn. Tired of shooting from a prone position from a bottom fence rail, Huxham rose to his knee to fire from a middle rail, and was instantly killed by a shot to the head. Sgt. Benjamin Hurst later wrote that he found Huxham "shot through the head. He was kneeling down with his gun resting on a fence rail and he seemed to be taken aim. I did not know he was dead until I placed my hand on his shoulder and spoke to him."

Huxham's body was returned to Middletown and he was interred in a family plot alongside his brother-in-law killed earlier at Antietam. A monument to the two fallen soldiers was put in place, and the diary packet includes a receipt dated 9/12/1864, which reads as follows:

"Received of Mrs. Gibbons and Mrs. Huxham 230 dollars in full for Monument , Grave-marks Gate, etc./ James"

It also includes a clean, clear carte de visite of Huxham's name-sake son, at approximately four years of age, who would die soon after in 1867. Also a miscellaneous CDV of a young man in civilian dress identified as George Heller, bearing an 1864-66 2 cent postage stamp.

In all, an extraordinary packet, accompanied by considerable family documentation, including pictures of Huxham and the Middletown monument honoring himself and Captain Gibbons. Then too, it is not often that the tale of a Gettysburg KIA is supplemented by regimental testimony recounting the moment of death.

Accompanied by a brief amount of internet research material.   [JP]

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