Category Archives: Journals and Ledgers

Civil War Diary of Elias Asa Robinson


A Private of Co. “B” 12th Regiment – Wisconsin Volunteers

Submitted by his granddaughter Laura Shoecraft

Elias Asa enlisted in the Union Army in Ironton/Reedsburg, Sauk Co., Wisconsin on September 16, 1861. This diary covers only one year of the time he served.

Please note: In transcribing this diary, I have taken care to duplicate as correctly as possible, the original spelling, punctation and use of capital letters. He did not write in his diary every day.


1 – Friday It is very cold here today the citizens say that it has not ben as cold before in 34 years.

2 – Saturday Black Licks
Franklin Co

14 – Thursday we march cros the river and left no corn barley and no corn to army rested at dark Pocotaligo, South Carolina

31 – Tuesday – we are laying in camp today about 25 miles from Beaufort [South Carolina]


1 – Wednesday we start this morning at eight oclock we marched 16 miles but have not ben stoped yet the rebs we are camped in the woods about 37 miles

2 – Thursday we march 12 miles and stood fricguit [frigid? or picket?] all night

3 – Friday we started this morning at 7 oclock and marched 7 miles and then the rebs checked our advance for a short time but they have fled

4 – Saturday we layed in camp

9 – Thursday we marched 8 miles and camped for the night it snowed today

10 – Friday we marched 7 miles we crost the river Adisto and camped [Adisto River in South Carolina]

11 – Saturday we marched 13 miles and had a skirmish with the rebs

12 – Sunday we waided a swamp today and flanked orangeburg [Orangeburg, South Carolina] and drove the rebs

13 – Monday we marched 13 miles and destroyed the Charleston and Columbia railroad

14 – Tuesday we burnt railroad till noon and then marched 18 miles and camped for the night

15 – Wednesday we marched 15 miles and crost the line of the fifteenth R. C. [or A. C.] march

16 – Thursday we marched 8 miles to the Santee river on the left of Columbia thare was heavy cannon scuding in front of town all day [South Carolina]

17 – Friday we took posession of Columbia the capital of the state [South Carolina]

*******February 16-17 in Columbia*******

18 – Saturday we marched 12 mi today and riped up the South Carolina RR

19 – Sunday we left our camp and pulled out in light marching order we destroyed rail rod all day

20 – Monday we marched 12 miles and camped in the woods

21 – Tuesday we pulled up our camp this morning and marched a 8 oclock and distroyed 3 miles of railroad and marched 16 miles

22 – Wednesday we marched 15 miles and past through swiss Krisough [Spelling ?]

23 – Thursday we marched 7 miles and laid on the bank of the Materee river in the mud and rain

24 – Friday we crost the river this morning and marched 15 miles we passed through small town called Libery Hill [South Carolina]

25 – Saturday we marched 25 miles through the mud knee deep

26 – Sunday we marched 12 miles

27 – Monday we marched 14 miles and camped about 9 oclock

28 – Tuesday we marched 16 miles and

29 – Wednesday This boxes Smith [?]

MARCH 1865

7 – Monday 15 corn basket 1234567890

19 – Saturday Jame Macky 25.00
R. Klett 10.00
Wm Field 25.00
Stow 10.00
Fritz 5.00

APRIL 1865

16 – Sunday stayed over in camp all day. News of the surrender of the “Johnnies” rained some. considerable excitement in camp

17 – Monday Inspector inspected in morning. In afternoon went to town. was diaappinted in looks of the town. Heard of the death of President Lincoln

18 – Tuesday In camp all day Received a mail A detail to clean up a camp ground

19 – Wednesday Moved camp about 1 mile nearer to townhave a splendid camp found bords and put up a good “she bang”

20 – Thursday In camp all day Wrote letters & received a small mail

21 – Friday In camp all day Getting very tired of camp life want to move on

22 – Saturday in camp all day dull and dreary in camp Just at night received a small mail

23 – Sunday Div. Reviewed by Legget as a preparatier to gen. review on the morrow Quite warm all quiet

24 – Monday Army of Tenn. Reviewed by Gen’s Grant, Sherman, Meade, a very agreeable review. In afternoon over to 1st Div saw G.D.S. bry [?] Orders to move in morning

25 – Tuesday Ready to move at 6 1/2 o’clock but did not move until 7 1/2 o’cl. marched along the line of R. R. marched about eight miles and camped in the woods.

26 – Wednesday Stayed over all day Johnnies having signified willingness to come to terms just at night heard they had surrendered Bully. Rec a small mail letters and c from Chet.

27 – Thursday Took up line of march at 7 o’cl. Taking back track reached old camp about noon, a short camp jargin quite warm 8 mile today

28 – Friday in camp all day, but making preparations to march on the morrow, Reports say we go to Richmond, Vir. Rec mail Wrote to C. & R.

29 – Saturday Took up line of march at 7 1/2o’cl, marched slow all the forenoon, but pulled out in the afternoon, crossed Wense [?] R. campinfg 2 miles from it. 13 mi

30 – Sunday Stayed over all day. Last night’s rain made it very pleasant, yet its quite warm

MAY 1865

1 – Monday On the way at 6 1/2 o’cl Passed through the town of Forestville. & by great Ganet [?] College. saw somw fine county. Crossed Tark [?] 20 miles to camp in the woods.

2 – Tuesday Took up line of march at 6 o’cl . Passed through some fine country. Citizenry mostly at home. made a rapid march going 22 mi camped at Ridgeway

3 – Wednesday on the road at 6 o’cl. passed through Melway [?]. Good roads and good country. On rear guard today marched 17 mi 7 camped in the woods.

4 – Thursday Seayed [stayed ] in camp all day witing fo the A.C. across the river The rest was very acceptable

5 – Friday On the way before day – light Crossed the Roanoke & Mineron [Meherrin] Rivers. Found the country showed the effects of the war. 25 mi too camp in a field.

*****they are now in Virginia*****

6 – Saturday Did not start until rather late, 4 Div. in event Very warm, many of the boys failed, Cross the Nottoway R. 23 mi to camp just at dark. Many of the Regt behind

7 – Sunday Took up line of march at 5 o’cl. Pased over some noted ground. Passed Dinwittie C. H. & Tery Oak [Terry Oaks]. Saw some of the works about Petersburg. Camped 5 mi from P 21 mi

8 – Monday Took up march at 4 1/2 o’cl Pasd through the defenses and City of Perersburg. Crosing the Appomattox R. Appears to be a good deal of busines done in the City. Camped 5 mi from P. Univi today

9 – Tuesday Took up line of march about daylight last nights rain makes good roads. Saw where had been heavy fighting in ’64. Passed 4 lines of works guarding Richmond. Camp 9 mi from R. 10 mi today. Went to city

10 – Thursday Stayed in camp all day, rainy. 15th and 17th A C’s came near having a free raw in town, large patrols out of Ind Div. in town.

12 – Friday Took up line of march at 5 o’cl A.M.. Passed through town with Grante [?] step and arms at will. Other troops in way so move very slow Camped 7 mi from town 10 mi. today

13 – Saturday Ready to move at 4 o’cl and soon after on the road. Crossed the Chickihoming [Chichahoming] R. and camped on the banks of the Pamunkey R. and two mi from Hanover, C. H. 13 mi.

14 – Sunday Called up at 2 o’cl to get ready to move but bridge broke and did not move until 8 o’cl Crossed Pamunkey R. found poor roads. Camped on Pole Cat Creek

15 miles today.

15 – Monday Did not get started until 7 o’cl A.M. Div. in centre Crossed Tj River. Quite hot marching but made about 17 mi and in camp at 4 o’cl P.M.

16 – Tuesday Left camp om Po River at 7 o’cl A.M. Div. in [cannot read this part] Very hot Passed through the [cannot read] and over the battleground of Fredricksburg. Crossed the Rapidan & Rappahahannock Rs. Camped 5 mi from latter.

17 – Wednesday Took up line of march at 4 0’cl A.M. but did not get along very fast until the middle of the day. Extreme heat, many gave out. In camp at 4 o’cl P.M. 12 mi

18 – Thursday Left camp at 5 o’cl A. M. Marched slow, passed over some very high country. Saw where the camps of Armies rested at Battle of Bulls Run. Camped at 3 o’cl P.M. on Occoquan R. 16 mi today.

19 – Friday On the road at 4 o’cl A.M. Pulled out very rapidly. Cool marching and made good time, reaching camp 3 mi from Alexandria at 2 o’cl P.M.

20 – Saturday In camp all day. Todays rest is very acceptable. Rec Mail

***Pages are missing for May 21 through May 26.***

Marched in the Grand Review in Washington D.C. om May 24, 1865

27 – Saturday Farchiles [?]

28 – Sunday Silusby [?] Gillespi [?]

29 – Monday Republican Majority Vote cast 1.45 39

*****June 1865 Moved to Louisville, Kentucky

*****July 16, 1865 Elias mustered-out near Louisville, Kentucky

*****He was given an honorable discharge at Madison, Wisconsin

Last entry —“Freedom, La Salle Co. Ill. April 24th / 65” Really doesn’t make any sense — except to him.