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John C. Brown Civil War Diary
John C. Brown was a 22-year-old resident of Independence, Iowa, when he enlisted as a Private on August 23, 1861. A month later he was a part of "C" Company of the Iowa 9th Infantry, U.S. Army. He served until September 25, 1864 when he was discharged at East Point, Georgia. The Libraries has acquired a diary kept by Brown through the Homer L. Calkin Memorial Fund established by Mary K. Calkin. The diary covers the year January to December 1864 and contains entries for virtually every day, providing an exceptional personal view of the year’s events.
In 1864 the 9th Infantry was in Woodville, Alabama, then moved to Chattanooga and joined Sherman's army on the Atlanta movement. It was engaged at Resaca, Dallas, Hope Church, Big Shanty, Kennesaw Mountain, the Chattahoochee River, Decatur, Atlanta, Jonesboro and Lovejoy's Station. After the evacuation of Atlanta it went into camp, but was sent in pursuit of General John Bell Hood in October and then took up the march for Savannah.
Since Brown left the army at the end of September 1864, the diary records his participation in Sherman's March to the Sea and the first few months of his return to civilian life in Iowa. While on the march, he writes of the many towns the troops pass through and tells of a battle at Dallas, Georgia, “May 27, 1864, At 6 o’clock this morning the rebels flank any charge from our Regiment. They cut off our skirmishes from the right…we fell back to be reinforced, which we soon got. Then the charge was made…24 killed, wounded or missing…” The diary also details another series of battles in June and July, and captures both the terror of engagement and the seeming ordinariness of camp life, “July 11, 1864, Near Chattahochee River, GA, I am on guard duty last night and today at Brigade Head Quarters, pleasant duty. Our Division had general inspection today. It rained some last night as today. This afternoon everything is quiet…”
In addition to the diary, the collection includes five photographs; two of Brown, one of his father, one of his wife, and one of his son, two buttons from an army uniform, an 1873 document, and Brown's bounty receipt. One of the photographs of Brown, taken about the time of his Civil War service, is on the mount of Mrs. A.B. Craine's Ambrotype and Photograph Gallery in Waterloo, Iowa, providing important evidence of early women photographers in Iowa.