Harlan, Jacob Civil War Diary

Civil War Diary of Jacob Harlan
1863-1865, 1918
1 folder

Manuscript & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library

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Finding Aid by: Nikki Stoddard Schofield, January 2012

Biographical Note:

Mr. Harlan joined the 123rd Indiana Volunteers Regiment at Greensburg, Indiana, on November 9, 1863, and served until discharged on June 26, 1865. He was injured when he fell into a rut and hurt his back.  He also suffered from pneumonia, heart trouble, mumps, fractured collar bone, dysentery and sore eyes.

He mentions his parents but does not give their names.  His 3rd sister was Sarah.  He had two uncles named Peter Rader and George Overleese.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists of two manuscripts of the same diary.

After spending time in the hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, Jacob Harlan served as a nurse.  When he was finally well, following a back injury, pneumonia, heart trouble and mumps, Jacob joined his regiment on June 22, 1864, at Kennesaw Mountain, where they were part of the 23rd Army Corp. This was his first engagement.  His regiment lost 6 killed and 30 wounded. 

At Decatur, Georgia, while he and men from his regiment tore up railroad tracks, Rebels fired at them but missed because they cut their fuse too long.

On July 22, 1864, General McPherson was killed, but his body was retrieved when the Union soldiers retreated.  During this battle, Jacob was struck in the left collar bone, fracturing the bone, but he was allowed to stay with his Regiment as he requested. During battles following his injury, he was placed in charge of the knapsacks. On August 14, about 500 Rebels came to the 14th Corp and surrendered. They said “they are getting tired of their job and took this way to quit.”

When Jacob was paid $131.35 on August 17, he send $100 home to his father.  On August 19, he wrote letters to his uncles: Peter Rader and George Overleese.  On August 20, he wrote that they received reports about Atlanta having fallen, “but we think this doubtful.”

On September 1, he wrote that he saw a stack of amputated legs and arms about eight feet across and the height of a person’s head in back of a field hospital. On September 14, his Brigade went to Atlanta to see the city, which was terribly torn up by shells during the fight.   On September 24, 1864, the officers ordered that there would be no more gambling in camp. 

On October 21, they arrived at Rome, George, which he said was “a very nice city for Georgia.” He attended a church service at the Christian Commission tent, where women dressed in white did “splendid singing.” He went to Jeffersonville, Indiana, and then to the hospital in Madison, Indiana, because he was suffering from “valvular disease of the heart and dysentery.”  His parents came to see him on December 15, 1864. In March 1865, he was again in the hospital for treatment of sore eyes. 

Upon discharge, June 26, 1865, he took the steam boat to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and then the train to Greensburg. The final two pages tell about Jacob’s emotional homecoming.  The final page of the double-spaced manuscript has the following: “Presented by Jacob Harlan to Armilda A. Reagan.” After this, in red ink, is this notation: “Gift of Mary Ann Bumbarner, 120 Sheffield Drive, Danville, Indiana, August 14, 1980.”     

Photocopying Policy:

Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.

Item Listing

Folder 1.  Two manuscripts of the same diary.  One manuscript is singled space and is 12 pages.  One manuscript is double spaced and is 19 pages.

1863 Page 1 of double-spaced manuscript
1864 Pages 1-17 of double-spaced manuscript
1865 Pages 17-19 of double-spaced manuscript

Collection Information

Size of Collection: Two identical manuscripts: single-spaced typed on 12 pages and double-spaced typed on 19 pages.
Collection Dates: 1863-1865, July 5, 1918
Provenance: Single-spaced manuscript donated by LaVern Harlan Stuart, no date; and double-spaced manuscript donated by Mary Ann Bumgarner, Danville, Indiana, on August 14, 1980
Access : The collection is open for research use.
Restrictions: None.
Reproduction Rights: Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript and Rare Books Division, Indiana State Library.
Language: Materials are entirely in English.
Alternate Formats: None
Related Holdings: None
Notes: None