The Charles D. Bacon Papers consist of two diaries written by Sergeant Charles D. Bacon, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, 3rd Battalion, Company K (1862-1864) and 4th Massachusetts Cavalry, 1st Battalion, Company B (1864-1865). The diaries record the daily activities of Charles Bacon; first as he was mustered into the service (December 4, 1861); then as he was stationed with the Federal Occupation Forces at Hilton Head, South Carolina; and finally as he served in General Grant's forces pursuing General Lee.
Daily activities included drilling with the horses, policing of the camp, guard duty, and care and feeding of the horses. The entry for May 12, 1862, records that Bacon was detailed to go "scouting" for Negroes to fill up a Negro regiment. Entries during the period in which Bacon was stationed in South Carolina describe his frequent arrest and imprisonment in the guardhouse for various offences. Other entries include descriptions of the sinking of the Federal gunboat
WASHINGTON (April 8, 9, 10, 1863) and of skirmishes which took place in February and March, 1863.
Entries after April 30, 1864, describe the transfer of Bacon's unit to the peninsula area of southern Virginia and record daily activities while serving behind the front lines. The diary also describes some of the fighting around Petersburg between the Federal forces of General Grant and General Lee's Confederate troops. The diary continues through December 3, 1864, when Bacon was discharged from the service, to January 18, 1865, when he returned to his Massachusetts home.