Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir, 1863-1942, n.d.

Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir, 1863-1942, n.d.

.25 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M288


Agency History / Biographical Note:
Edwin Emery was born on September 4, 1836, in Sanford, Maine, and was graduated (Phi Beta Kappa) from Bowdoin College with the Class of 1861. He taught in several schools in Maine before entering the 17th Maine Infantry as a private in September 1863 and becoming a color sergeant the following April. Emery participated in a number of Civil War battles, including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and the capture of Petersburg, and was severely wounded at Spotsylvania Court House. He was promoted to second lieutenant in June 1864 and honorably discharged a year later following the cessation of hostilities. Upon leaving the army, Emery returned to teaching. From 1877 until 1890 he was instructor of cadets in the U.S. Revenue Marine at New Bedford, Massachusetts, the forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Edwin Emery married Louise Farnham on October 27, 1864. He died on September 28, 1895, survived by his wife and three sons, William M. (Bowdoin Class of 1889), Clarence P. and Edwin P.

Scope and Content:
Five pocket diaries (1863-1865) kept by Edwin Emery during his military service in the Civil War, as well as a transcription of four pages from an 1864 diary that is lacking from the collection. Also includes an undated memoir written by Edwin Emery and related accounts by Emery's son, William M. Emery.

The diaries provide brief details of life with the 17th Maine Regiment during Civil War campaigns, including troop movements, battles, injuries, driving an ambulance, promotions, religious life, gambling, a victory parade, meeting General Grant, and hearing of President Lincoln's assassination; the transcribed pages from the missing diary concern Emery's wounding during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Edwin Emery's memoir describes the Battle of the Wilderness, and the account by William M. Emery expands on, and clarifies, his father's memoir, particulary with regard to a letter by Captain George W. Verrill concerning the retreat of the 17th Maine at the Battle of the Wilderness.

Digital versions of the diaries, accounts, and memoir are available online and are linked in the container list.

Cite as: Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoirs, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
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