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William E. Davis diaries

Union artillery soldiers in camp in Jacksonville. The Union army occupied Jacksonville on four separate occasions during the war. (Florida State Archives)

Union artillery soldiers in camp in Jacksonville, Florida. (Florida State Archives, http://www.museumoffloridahistory.com)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: William E. Davis diaries (MSS SC 59). This collection includes three handwritten diaries kept by Davis (1842-1924) during his service in the Civil War, 1862-1865. Entries include brief statements regarding drills, deaths, weather, and daily activities.

William Edward Davis was born on November 26, 1842 in Pulteney, New York to Edward Davis and Philinda A. Townsend. On August 25, 1862, at age 19, he enlisted in the Union forces, and joined Company A, New York 161st Infantry Regiment on September 18, 1862. He was soon promoted to Full Corporal on November 28, 1862, and fought with his unit in engagements largely in Louisiana and Alabama. With the end of the war he mustered out of the service on September 20, 1865 at Fort Jefferson, Florida.

After the war he returned to farming in Monroe County, New York. On September 30, 1875 he married Lois Sherwood Buell, and they eventually had five children. Prior to 1900 he relocated to Bowne, Michigan. Davis died on May 7, 1924 in Caledonia, Michigan.

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