Diary Entry – May 1, 1863

Ft. Henry, Tennessee

George Painter wrote in his diary each day for the year 1863. One hundred and fifty-eight years later, we travel with him as he explores the Mississippi River region while part of the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Some days he spent exploring the area and others he had duties to be performed. Each day was a new experience.

This is his entry for May 1, 1863 from Ft. Henry, Tennessee. I have only changed the spelling and punctuation in a few places for easier reading.

Friday, May 1, 1863

Still remaining at Ft. Henry. To pass the time away with as much pleasure as possible, I took a walk across the ravines at Ft. Henry. I sat under the leafy oaks and while there, my attention was drawn off to some far and distant tree by the quacking of some squirrels, which I discovered were in their most playful manner. After watching their playful movements for some time, I retraced my steps back to the boats which lay at shore nigh the fort.

Below is the actual diary entry in George’s hand with some misspelled words and little punctuation, but very understandable.

Friday. May. 1st. 1863.

Still remaining at Ft. Henry and to pass the time away with as much pleasure as posable I took awalk out across the ravines at Ft. Henry and Sit under the leafy oaks and while there my attention was drawn off to some far and distent tree by the quacking of some squirels which I discovered there in their most playfull manner after watching there playfull movements for some time I retraiced my steps back to the boats which lay at shore nigh the fort.

If you find this interesting, you can order the entire diary from Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08T9ZK6TP

George Painter Background

George Painter was born on April 2, 1842 to Hamilton and Matilda Painter. He grew up on a farm in Richland County, Ohio. He was named for his father’s brother. George had five brothers and one sister and the family attended the local Methodist Episcopal Church.

When the call for volunteers came in 1862, George and two of his brothers enlisted and were soon sent to Cincinnati to begin their time of service. Nearly 320,000 Union soldiers came from Ohio.

During the winter of 1862, the Mississippi Marine Brigade was being formed in the St. Louis area by General Alfred Ellet. Finding enough recruits to man the ships became a problem, so he went to the hospitals in the area to find convalescing patients who would be strong enough to manage ships on the Mississippi River.

George had been in the hospital with typhoid fever and the promise of not having to march daily, carry knapsacks, or sleep in trenches must have encouraged him to join the brigade.

As he traveled down the Mississippi River and its tributaries, George wrote daily of what was happening on the boat and sometimes in the war.

Union Civil War Diary – Just Published

“Life in the Mississippi Marine Brigade” has finally been published after a couple years of research, writing, and rewriting. The book is based on a diary of George Painter for the year 1863.

The story begins when my son had the opportunity to purchase the diary through his antique business. Since he knows that mom enjoys writing stories about true events, he challenged me to turn the diary into a book.

My first challenge was to transcribe the words of George Painter exactly as he wrote them. Included were his original words, some misspelled, as well as punctuation and grammar as George wrote it while traveling down the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

When I shared a page of the early transcription with friends, they felt it was too cumbersome to read in its original writing so suggested that I rewrite it in a smoother English style that would be easy to read.

My final decision was to use them both. In the book, the original written by George has been placed in a box while the easier to read section is above it in italics throughout the book.

My comments and additional information are written in regular print wherever it seemed to be needed for clearer explanation of events.

My hope is that you will find the diary easy to read and enjoyable.

The book is available at this time through Amazon at
https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08T9ZK6TP

I will be getting a shipment of books shortly for those wishing an autographed copy.