A. F. Williams Diary

1862, 1865-1867
Manuscript Collection #246
Williams, A. F. (Alfred Franklin)
Physical description
0.073 Cubic Feet, 1 volume , Diary (1862), photocopy and typescript.
Preferred Citation
A. F. Williams Diary (#246), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Photocopies of a diary (May 30-Aug. 7, 1862) kept by Alfred F. Williams of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry during the Civil War covering troop movements, his capture, and his exchange. Also includes a general store account record (1865-1867).

Biographical/historical information

Alfred Franklin Williams enlisted in the Confederate Army in Duplin County, N.C., on June 22, 1861, at the age of 19. He served as a private in Company I, 9th North Carolina State Troops, First North Carolina Cavalry Regiment, Robert Ransom's Regiment. Williams was captured by Union forces near Harrison's Landing, Virginia, on June 29, 1862. He was a prisoner of war until exchanged at Aiken's Landing, Virginia, on August 5, 1862. Williams was discharged from the army on March 29, 1863, when he furnished Edward Hansley Williams as his substitute.

Scope and arrangement

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).

Administrative information
Custodial History

November 11, 1973, 1 volume; Civil War diary (1862). Loaned for copying by Mr. William F. Elliot, Wilmington, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Loaned by Mr. William F. Elliot

Processing information

Processed by C. Joyner, April 1974

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

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

Key terms
Personal Names
Williams, A. F. (Alfred Franklin)
Peninsular Campaign, 1862
Soldiers--Confederate States of America--Diaries
Fort Columbus (N.Y.)--History, Military--19th century
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns