POCKET DIARY OF SGT. AARON E. KILMER, 17TH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY

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This is a leather-bound pocket diary measuring about 3 ½” x 5 ½”. The covers and spine are very beat up with the spine being taped.  This journal was kept by Sergeant Aaron E. Kilmer of Company E, 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  Kilmer enlisted on October 3, 1862 and served for the remainder of the war. Sgt. Kilmer’s hand writing is very legible and the entries are all in ink. The ink is light or has faded on many of the pages but can still be read with proper light.  Page inside the front cover is inscribed, “Aaron J. Killmer / Pocket Diary / 1863 / When in the _____ / Service In the / 17th Pa Cav.

The daily entries begin on “January  Saturday  3d  1863” and run through to “May  Monday  4th 1863” and his description of the Battle of Chancellorsville.  The entries are one day per page. Most of the entries are of picket duty, weather, and camp life while camped “near Stafford Court House”.  The last entries regarding Chancellorsville run longer and are detailed:

“May Sunday 3rd 1863. The weather has been clear and warm. This morning Hooker was reinforced with 40 thousand men. The Bucktail Regiment was one of them ____ _____ conversed with Capt. Brassler on the foregoing night. Brother James was not along neither the _____ _____. He has not been in the fight. Their regiment neither. The fight of about 6 Oclock this morning – the fight raged in a manner indescribable. The musket ____ was never equaled….The whole line ____ _____ ……. The Battle ______, but only two days hard fighting was done so far. The Rebels during this day must have lost 15 thousand men, wounded killed and prisoners. Our loss must be between ten and twelve thousand men . . . .

May Monday 4th 1863. This morning the Battle was assumed [sp] at 5 Oclock and lasted two hours which resulted in the capture of Fredericksburg. General Hooker out Generaled General Jackson at this time. Hooker marked his men in behind the Rebel Rifle Pitts into their Cannons, and turned them round and fired right on the Rebels. 1500 in the pitts and 1500 out ____ are reported taken prisoner by Hooker. The same ____ in the morning [5 o clock] a Rebel Battery of 9 cannons fired upon our regt. and the Ammunition train, but was soon captured by our infantry which got in the rear of them they had only 20 shots with the Battery. At Fredericksburg thirty one of the cannons by our ____ of Infantry have been taken from the Rebels. When our Regt. was shelled they skedaddled in every direction. This affair occurred quite near the Pontoon Bridges. If the Rebels had succeeded they would have destroyed greatest portion of the Army of Potomac…..”

17th Regiment Cavalry (162nd Volunteers)

Organized at Harrisburg September to November, 1862. Left State for Washington, D.C., November 25, 1862. Attached to Cavalry Brigade, 11th Corps, Army Potomac, to February, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to August, 1864, and Army Shenandoah to March, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1865.

SERVICE.---Camp at East Capital Hill, Defenses of Washington, until December, 1862. Skirmish at Occoquan, Dumfries, Va., December 19. Occoquan December 19-20 and 27-28. Frying Pan, near Chantilly, December 29. Wiggenton's Mills February 6, 1863. Kelly's Ford April 28. Chancellorsville Campaign April 26-May 8. Rapidan River April 29. Chancellorsville April 30-May 6. Brandy Station and Beverly Ford June 9. Upperville June 21. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Williamsport, Md., July 6. Boonsboro July 8. Benevola or Beaver Creek July 9. Funkstown July 10-13. Falling Water July 14. Kelly's Ford July 30-August 1. Brandy Station August 1. Expedition from Leesburg August 30-September 2. Advance to the Rapidan September 13-17. Brandy Station and Culpeper C. H. September 13. Raccoon Ford September 14-16. Reconnaissance across the Rapidan September 21-23. Jack's Shop, Madison C. H., September 22. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Raccoon Ford and Morton's Ford October 10. Stevensburg October 11. Near Kelly's Ford October 11. Brandy Station or Fleetwood October 12. Oak Hill October 15. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Parker's Store November 29. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond February 28-March 4. Fortifications of Richmond March 1. Ashland March 1. Reconnaissance to Madison C. H. April 28. Rapidan Campaign May-June. Wilderness May 5-7. Brock Road and the Furnaces May 6. Todd's Tavern May 7-8. Sheridan's Raid to the James River May 9-24. North Anna River May 9-10. Ground Squirrel Church and Yellow Tavern May 11. Meadow Bridge May 12. Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Hanovertown May 26. Hanovertown Ferry and Hanovertown May 27. Crump's Creek May 28. Haw's Shop May 28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Old Church and Mattadequin Creek May 30. Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, May 31-June 1. Bottom's Bridge June 1. Sheridan's Trevillian Raid June 7-24. Trevillian Station June 11-12. Newark or Mallory's Cross Roads June 12. White House or St. Peter's Church June 21. Black Creek or Tunstall Station June 21. Baltimore Cross Road, June 22. Jones' Bridge June 23. Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom July 27-29. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Toll Gate, near White Post, August 11. Near Newtown August 11. Cedarville, Guard Hill or Front Royal, August 16. Summit Point August 21. Kearneysville and Shepherdstown August 25. Leetown and Smithfield August 28. Smithfield Crossing of the Opequan August 29. Berryville September 6. Sevier's Ford, Opequan Creek, September 15. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Middletown and Strasburg September 20. Near Winchester and Smithfield September 24. Fisher's Hill September 29 and October 1. Newtonia October 11. Winchester November 16. Expedition from Winchester into Fauquier and Loudoun Counties November 28-December 3. Expedition to Gordonsville December 19-28. Madison C. H. December 21. Liberty Mills December 22. Near Gordonsville December 23. Sheridan's Expedition from Winchester February 27-March 25, 1865. Occupation of Staunton March 2. Waynesboro March 2. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie C. H. March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Scott's Cross Roads April 2. Tabernacle Church or Beaver Pond Creek April 4. Sailor's Creek April 6. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox C. H. April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23-29. March to Washington, D.C., May. Grand Review May 23. Consolidated with 1st and 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry to form 2nd Provisional Cavalry June 17, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 98 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 128 Enlisted men by disease. Total 232.

This is a very readable daily diary from a trooper in a good Army of the Potomac cavalry regiment.  [jet, ld]

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