William Culbertson Civil War Diary

William Culbertson joined the 38th regiment, Company H in Ohio Sept. 4, 1861. In an entry in his diary, it says that he was sworn into service Sept. 9, 1861.    In the Sept. 4, 1861 "Williams County Leader" it says, "The Pulaski Company passed through town this morning.  They halted thirty minutes.  Capt. Fisher made a farewell speech to the soldiers.  They occupied 22 wagons, 2 of them four-horse teams.  Some twenty of the men are from Pioneer.  A public dinner was given to this Company at Pulaski yesterday, which was a splendid affair.  We happened to be present and speak knowingly.  In the afternoon the Company elected their officers.  The following is the result:  Captain, Wm. Stough; 1st Lieut. A. Newman; 2d Lieut, Peter V. Fulton.  We congratulate the members upon their excellent selection of officers.  The Company numbers some 120 men, and good ones, too.  They go into camp at Defiance today.  Long live the Pulaski boys!"

According to the obituary of Mary McCafferty Copeland  "After, she reached womanhood she was united in marriage to William Culbertson, who was about to enlist in the Civil War, and three months after their marriage he was killed in action."  I am not sure yet how accurate this is.  I have not found their marriage records yet so I am not sure if they were actually married three years before he was killed in Jonesboro, Georgia (Sept. 1, 1864) or if he came home on leave three months before being killed at the battle of Jonesboro.  She had his diary that he bought in November of 1861.  Obviously, he kept notes or entries in another book and then transferred them when he bought his "new" book in November.  He then used this particular diary until January 1862.  He has a marker beside Mary's parents (Benjamin and Jane DeVinney McCafferty) in the Shiffler Cemetery, Williams County, OH, not far from where he had his "going away" dinner at Pulaski.  Also note that his enlistment would have been up shortly after he got killed.  It mentioned in the local paper that the boys that joined up in that time period were coming home.  It was the same paper that listed his death.

In the diary, my daughter and I scanned pictures of the actual diary.  We thought this was interesting because many people in that time period wrote phonetically.  Also, we both tried our best to decipher what he wrote but sometimes failed.  We thought maybe somebody else, more familiar with military terms maybe might be able to figure it out.  Also it would have more historical significance than having us just type it in.  But we did do that, too, as best we could.  We then tried to "modernize" his language.  We got used to how he talked (wrote) but thought that others might not catch on right away.

Many thanks for the loan of the diary to Theron and Joy Hanes (my husband's uncle and aunt).  William was married to Theron's grandmother and my husband, Jim Wells' great grandmother.  My daughter's Jaime and Amanda Wells show a great interest in their family history.  Amanda has been a great help to us in discovering new things and implementing getting this diary on the internet.  Also thank you to Richard Cooley, a "cousin" we have yet to meet from Bryan, Ohio who was there on the internet,  when we had some questions about the 38th infantry.  Richard also mentioned that he thinks William is buried elsewhere.  I would think close to Jonesboro, Georgia.  It says that he was killed in Jonesboro, TN on his memorial in the Shiffler Cemetery but this is not accurate.

The diary is in three copies.  The link (with the book) is the first.  It is a picture of the actual book.  The 2nd is a copy of his actual writing (as close as we can get it).  The 3rd is in italics and is our interpretation of what he said.

Cover and Introductory Pages

September 1861

October 1861

November 1861

December 1861
January 1862


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