Summary Information

Repository
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Creator
Emery, Edwin, 1836-1895
Title
Edwin Emery diaries and memoir
ID
M288
Date [inclusive]
1863-1942, undated
Extent
0.25 linear feet
Language
Abstract
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.

Preferred Citation

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


Biographical/Historical 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.


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288
scaref@bowdoin.edu

Collection Inventory

Box Folder
1 1

Summary of notable subjects covered in diaries and memoir. 

    Volume
    1

    1863 Sep 8 - 1864 Jan 8, diary. 

      Box Folder
      1 2

      1864 May 12 - 1864 Jun 20, diary entries transcribed, (4 pages). 

        Volume
        2

        1864 Dec 12 - 1865 Feb 4, diary. 

          3

          1865 Mar 25 - 1865 May 4, diary. 

            4

            1865 May 5 - 1865 Jun 17, diary. 

              5

              1865 Jul 29 - 1865 Oct 14, diary. 

                Box Folder
                1 3

                1938, 1942 - miscellaneous envelopes addressed to Clarence P. Emery from William M. Emery with notes on the covers about Edwin Emery. 

                  1 4

                  n.d., "A Color-Sergeant's Recollections of the Battle of the Wilderness," memoir signed by Edwin Emery (34 pages). 

                    1 5

                    n.d., "Captain Verrill's Claim/Father at Spottsylvania," and document by Emery's son (5 pages, expanding on Battle of the Wilderness memoir). 

                      Box
                      Mss.CD 1

                      JPEG images of the diaries and other material.