The Diary of Pvt.
Gouldsmith D. Molineaux
8th Illinois Infantry
Excerpts from May
Diary and photograph
courtesy of Augustana College Library, Rock Island, Illinois
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.
Gouldsmith D. Molineaux, 8th
Illinois Volunteer InfantryMolineaux 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
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.