The Diary of Pvt. Gouldsmith D. Molineaux
8th Illinois Infantry

Excerpts from May 16-17, 1863

Diary and photograph courtesy of Augustana College Library, Rock Island, Illinois

Gouldsmith D. Molineaux, 8th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Molineaux was a bookkeeper and clerk by profession. He was twenty-two years old when he enlisted with the Union Army. Molineaux was a cheerful and optimistic diarist who enjoyed recording the weather, events of the war, and sites associated with the march.
Photograph courtesy of Augustana College Library
Saturday, May 16th, 1863. We lay resting this morning. Order to fall in at about 10 a.m. We made 3 miles & heard heavy cannonading to our left also musketry. Left Bolton on road running left and south of us. Very warm day. I expect we will do some "knitting" today and tomorrow being our fighting days. Later. We were double quicked to the field unslung knapsacks and formed line of battle ready for them. But, they did not advance so we took knapsacks again and marched several hundred yards forward and gained a skirt of timber and on a raise of ground here we espied them planting a battery for us and we laid low. They advanced their infantry and opened a murderous fire but did not do much harm to us who now let them have it and were ordered to charge and take the battery - which we did, killing them in great numbers and set them in flight. We took 7 guns - 5 [Brafs]  2 iron pieces and killed their major & captain (First Mississippi Battery), and our regt. we lost but 3 killed. Our Co, one wounded, Vivalda Wood, leg broke - the 8th Mich Battery now took position and the enemy opened another on us and got the range in a short time. One ball striking directly under the carriage but no one hurt, others cutting off the limbs from the trees above us and knocking off the roof of a house that we were around or that stood just before us. Our flag received a grape shot and 3 bullets. Our div. took 2000 prisoners alone and seven colonels. We also were told by our much beloved Genl. Logan that Richmond, Va. "for sure" was ours which was cheered. We never whipped them so bad in any engagement I have been in as today. They are now in full flight on the Vicksburgh Road and we have gone into camp without knapsacks but think we will sleep anywhere on how plenty Rails and big fires. The secesh have been burning great quantities of cotton. We are in the very best of spirits, both officers & men. Altho we are much fatigued. Weather Hot.

Sunday May 17th.  Still in camp of [ ] something to eat. Norcoft, [Poffter] & Davis are missing from our company. Schrader of Co I was killed. Corpl [Comninish] wounded. One of 4 killed. 7 miles yesterday from camp to camp. Later - 9 A.M. on the march, the ball as long been opened for the day by fresh troops sent ahead (some 20000). Lawler is here with Brigade of Iowa & Wisconsin boys and now gone ahead was glad to see us. 4 miles and we reached Edwards Depot there was numbers of secesh prisoners and cotton burned & strewed all over the land. We have news that we have taken a whole brigade at the crossing of Big Black. Went into camp on the river. The fighting still going on long way ahead. Vicksburgh from here 16 miles. Have travelled to day 8 miles all told.

Pages from Molineaux's diary, May 16, 1863, courtesy of Augustana College Library.


* editor's note: secesh is believed to be Molineaux's abbreviation for secessionists. [ ] indicates that the entry was not readable.


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