Civil War Manuscripts Project
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Diary (November 1862-August 1863) kept by McNaughton and one letter sent to him from friend, Charlie House, Company B, 16th Connecticut Infantry, dated 10 September 1862 and four letters from friend John J. Gavin, Company B, 5th Connecticut Infantry, dated from 2 October 1861-2 March 1862. Both Gavin and House were also from Glastonbury. Two of Gavin's letters are on 17th Massachusetts Infantry, Camp Andrew, illustrated letterhead. McNaughton enlisted 8 September 1862 and was mustered-in on 11 November 1862. He was mustered-out of his nine-months unit on 26 August 1863.
Location: MS 69438
10 September 1862, Leesborough, MD, from Charles E. House of Glastonbury, then a wagoner, Company B, 16th Connecticut Infantry.
2 October 1861, Darnestown, MD, from John J. Gavin of Glastonbury, then of Company B, 5th Connecticut Infantry. Gavin was killed at the battle of Cedar Mountain, 9 August 1862. Gavin tells of the shooting of Major Lewis, 46th Pennsylvania, by a private of Company I, 46th Pennsylvania, and of the court martial of "John Kavana," Company F, 5th Connecticut, for calling Colonel Ferry a "son of a Bitch" while drunk [possibly John Cavener of Troy, NY, who deserted the 5th Connecticut on 20 April 1862]. The soldier was sentenced to four months hard labor and was to forfeit $10.00 per month to the government. Gavin also relates deaths in the 5th Connecticut: 2nd Lt. Putnam day, Company H, died 19 August 1861; Nathan S. Wheeler, Company E, died 28 August 1861; Charles C. Potter, Company H, died 19 September 1861; and Trowbridge Prindle, Company B, died 24 September 1861, leaving behind two brothers, Isaac and Henry F. Prindle. Letter on 17th Massachusetts, Camp Andrew, letterhead.
11 November 1861, Muddy Branch, from John J. Gavin, on 17th Massachusetts, Camp Andrew, letterhead.
15 December 1861, "Camp Huntington," near Frederick, MD, from John J. Gavin. Letter mentions the death of Alonzo S. Pierce, Company H, on 14 December 1861.
2 March 1862, near Williamsport, [MD?], from John J. Gavin, then in the 3rd Brigade, General Banks's Division. Letter mentions his brother, Patrick Gavin, Company F, 5th Connecticut, who was ill with typhoid.
16 December 1862: "Enter Missipi River for New Orleans."
20 December 1862: "...went burying place where 52 of 12th Regt is buried there is over 200 graves there some is marked with board like head stones while many others has nothing to tell who lays there."
14 January 1863, Baton Rouge, LA: "13 Contrabands came in armd with Colts revolvers & shot guns the[y] were armed by their masters & sent to fort Hudson to fight against us but instead of going Came into our lines"
7 April 1863, 16-stanza poem, "Loss of the Mississippi," by a Mississippian, regarding the sinking of this steamer.
McNaughton was ill in the hospital from 14 February to 5 August 1863. For someone who spent nearly his entire term of service in hospital, McNaughton manages to relay a fair amount of interesting news. McNaughton describes St. James Hospital, New Orleans, as having "A very large library... from which we can draw books to read." McNaughton was at this time reading The Prince of the House of David.
24 April 1863, McNaughton relays typical southern-atrocity rumors; for instance, Rebels using Yankee skulls as candle holders and regarding a doctor who displayed a Yankee heart in his window.
25 April 1863, McNaughton tells of the previous night's "anniversary" ball celebrating Farragut's arrival in New Orleans held at the St. Charles Hotel. There were, according to McNaughton, 200 coupled in attendance.
12 May 1863: "A smart negress in this ward says she was bought in Kientucky ... that she left one child in Kentucky, has one in this city both by her masters she also states that they have strap as wide as three fingers with holes in it if they refuse to go to bed with their masters they receive so many lashes..."
12 June 1863, McNaughton generally speaks well of the "Coulerd Regts" noting they "have fought like Tigers Cutting down everything in their way... they yell worse than Indians when let loose on the rebels"
McNaughton relays stories of the cruelty of slavery using specific incidents as examples.
Memorandum notes in the back of the diary mention "Leutenant Col. Joseph Seldon, 26th Regt. C. V. was lost overboard the steamer Raymond between Donaldsonville & [blank] on Sunday night, July 25th." The Colonel must have been recovered as he was mustered-out of his unit very much alive on 17 August 1863.