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 Posted: Wed Dec 18th, 2013 03:45 am
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Hellcat
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Ok, how about we play The 12 Days of Christmas 1864 style. This is going to be from The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865 pages 54 to 56. Which will put it in the diary of 1st Sergeant Samuel Clear, Co. K 116th Penn. Infantry. At the time the 116th was a part of the siege of Petersburg:

Wednesday, Decr 14th

Still cold. Sergt Sembower and myself carried mud, warmed water and made mortar and stopped all the holes in our tent, we feel very comfortable.

Thursday, Decr 15th

Still the same old thing, no change worthy of note.

Friday, Decr 16th

To day the whole division was ordered out to see the execution of three deserters. We moved about half a mile to the rear of our camp and formed in hollow square. The men looked clean and nice, their guns glistened in the sun which shines nice, but the air is raw and cold. At half past eleven we heard the brass band strike up the dead march and move slowly from Division Head Quarters. The Gallows was already up and the graves dug and the men could look down in them as they was led up the steps of the Gallows, on they came and passed through a gap that was made through the Square. First came the band then the three poor devils and then a file of twelve men before and twelve behind -- They was led up under each rope. Then the priest (for they were Catholics) went to them and pow wayed a while and then the ropes was tied around the neck and a white cap was drawn down over the head to the shoulder, arms tied behind them and legs tied together. While this was going on you could hear the boys talking in this way, desert us will you, fight against us will you -- Old Phil Sheridan happened to know you did he -- a little bit sorry for what you have done ain't you. I will bet the little fellow dies game. I know by the way he stands, that big one says another is such a calf he can hardly handle stand. Some one cold and teeth chattering. I wish they would hurry and not keep us waiting here all day gaping at them Sons of B------. Now a fellow stands under with a big wooden mallet ready to Knock out the stanchion at 12 O'Clock, he gets the signal, out goes the prop and down goes the three poor fellows about three feet but they stop suddenly and commence to struggle. It is an awful sight, I will stop here. -- As the word is attention, right face -- forward -- file right -- march. And off we go, I think no more of it until we get our dinners, as that is the next thing on the programme.

Saturday, Decr 17th

All busy cleaning up for inspection at 2 O'Clock . Inspection is over, Co C all O.K. Twelve sick men sent back out of our regiment. Capt Weltner came up.

Sunday, Decr 18th

We had the usual Co inspection, we got our dress coats this evening.

Monday Decr 19th

We all got in line to receive Genl U. S. Grant and lady, but it was too cold for them and they did not make their appearance -- very cold.

Tuesday, Decr 20th

Things look like a short stay, officers and men fixing up for the winter. I went over to Division Head Quarters to see the guard mount, all guards has to go there and be inspected, of the Whole Division.

Wednesday, Decr 21st

Very wet and muddy to day, rained all last night and until noon to day, we have a bad looking camp.

Thursday, Decr 22nd -- near Yellow house

Cold this morning, the rain has stopped, the air is getting cold. All quiet in front, we have the regular old routine of camp life.

Friday Decr 23rd

We drew new clothing to day and the boys all have a full suit, and we need them for it is a good deal winter here.

Saturday, Decr 24th

Nothing worthy of note to day. The same old rigmarole of camp life.

Sunday, Decr 25th -- Christmas

To day our division was ordered out to see a man from the 5th New Hampshire Regt shot. He was shot at 12 O'Clock, the time they always


I'm not sure that Christmas entry is the actual Christmas entry in Clear's diary. It reads exactly the same as the entry of December 30th, up to the always anyway. The full December 30th entry reads

Friday, Decr 30th

To day our division was ordered out to see a man from the 5th New Hampshire Regt shot. He was shot at 12 O'Clock, the time they always shot or hang them. While we was returning to camp the snow commenced to fall and is still falling like mad.


It's possible Clear was repeating himself on these two days (it would be interesting that two men from the 5th NH were shot five days apart) or it may have been a mistake either on Daniel Chisholm's part when he transcribed Clear's diary into his notebook or editors William Springer Menge and J. August Shimrak when thy were transcribing the notebook for print.

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