Williams' diary covers the period from departure from Kinston (May 30, 1862) of the regiment commanded by Colonel Laurence Simmons Baker until Williams returned to Richmond, Va. (August 7, 1862) after being released from a Union prison. The diary (June 8 to June 27) covers the movement of the regiment toward Richmond to take part in the Confederate defense of the city during General George McClellan's Peninsula Campaign.
From June 27 to June 29 the entries reflect the role played by the 9th Regiment of Robert Ransom's Brigade as they were placed in reserve on Phillips Farm on the Richmon side of the Chickahominy River. On June 29 Baker and five companies of the 9th Regiment moved down the New Market and Charles City roads attempting to pinpoint Union troop locations. They encountered Union troops at Willis' Church and during the fighting, Williams was captured. In his diary Williams gives a graphic description of the movement and involvement of his company in the fighting.
The diary (June 30 to July 11) tells of Williams and the other Confederate prisoners being transported to a Union prison on Governor's Island, New York. Williams describes this movement in detail giving emphasis on transportation and Union food. Williams remained at Governor's Island from July 12 to August 2, 1862. He comments on the crowded conditions, food and clothing, rumors of prisoner exchange, prison escapes, treatment of prisoners, smallpox in the camp, signing the oath of allegiance andvisitations. The final portion of the diary (August 2 to August 7) covers Williams' exchange and movement to Camp Lee (Richmond).
At the end of the diary is a general store account record (1865-1867).