William W. Perry Diary, 1864-1865

Manuscript Collection #338

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: William W. Perry Diary
    Creator: Perry, William W.
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Diary (1864-1865) kept by William W. Perry, a Pennsylvania soldier who joined the Union Army on January 4, 1864, at the age of thirteen. Also included are eight pages listing the men from Ringgold, Pennsylvania, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
    Extent: 0.11 Cubic feet, 1 volume , bound diary consisting of 102 pages in chronological order; 15 unnumbered pages not in chronological order; and 8 pages listing the men from Ringgold, Pennsylvania who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
  • Description

    The collection consists of the diary of a young Pennsylvania soldier who joined the Union Army on January 4, 1864 at the age of 13. It is an account of his 1 1/2 years of military service during the Civil War.

    Perry first saw action in the Battle of the Wilderness and was seriously wounded on May 6, 1864. Due to his wound, he was removed from active duty for 6 months. In February 1865, he saw action again around Petersburg, Virginia (Battle of Dabney's Mill) and was on regular picket duty from February 1865 until the war's end. He was present at Appomattox when Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 and was involved in the pursuit of General Johnston's forces into North Carolina following Lee's surrender.

    Of particular interest is Perry's description of the medical treatment he received for his wound. He was ignored by surgeons as being too close to death and six days elapsed before his wound was treated and a meal prepared. Perry was finally transported to Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he was visited regularly by the Sisters of Charity. While confined at Carver Hospital, Perry met President Lincoln and his wife who were visiting army hospitals in Washington.

    Also of interest are Perry's comments on the election of 1864 when soldiers, if close to home, were permitted to return to vote; desertions on both sides, particularly Confederate deserters near the war's end; rations and pay in the Union Army; life on the picket line, particularly conversations with Confederate pickets from North Carolina; and descriptions of such cities as Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Chancellorsville, Petersburg, and Richmond (Libby Prison). Another point of interest is that Perry states that on April 8, 1865 in a camp recently vacated by Lee, he found Lee's orders to General Ewell to burn the city of Richmond.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    May 12, 1977, 1 volume; Civil War Diary (1864-1865) of a Pennsylvania soldier. Literary rights reserved for five years from above date. Deposited by Mr. Ronald Fochler. Deposit changed to a gift on October 12, 2017.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mr. Ronald Fochler

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    William W. Perry Diary (#338), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. Duncan, June 1977

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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