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George Washington Harris Civil War Diary

Identifier: MC-107
Civil War Diary of George Washington Harris. 184 lined pages, numbered, 22 lines per page in eight signatures, 4" by 6.5", book titled "Records"


  • 1864 - 1865

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.


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Biographical / Historical

This is the diary of George Washington Harris of Terre Haute, Indiana. He was born in 1844 to Lavinia Bennet and Richard John Harris. He served as a Private in the 41st Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, Company H, from November 1, 1861 to January 29, 1863, as a Sergeant 1st class in the 133rd Regiment Indiana Infantry, Company H, from May 17, 1864 to September 5, 1864, and as a 1st Sgt in Company F of the 149th Indiana Infantry Regiment from February 17, 1865 to September 27, 1865. He was later a Commander in Jacob Hoopes' Post 163 of the Department of Indiana Grand Army of the Republic.

This diary was written during his third enlistment. 1st Sgt Harris was stationed in Decatur, Alabama, on railroad protection duty at the end of the Civil War.

The diary passed to George Washington Harris's son, George Washington Harris, Jr., then to George Jr.'s daughter, Sarah Harris Clark, and finally, to her daughter, Mary Clark Walls. The diary contains notice that Lincoln was shot and describes the reaction of the men of the 149th. It also describes the mounted patrol toward Moulton from Decatur, and it details an oft-reported incident where a black man killed a Union officer. There are sections that may be written in code using an idiosyncratic alphabet or highly stylized type font. The bulk of the writings are descriptions of weather and land, as well as some philosophical writings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Richard J. Harris, JR. and Mary Clark Walls, 2017.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
Carly Davis
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America