Civil War Diary of Rev. Oliphant M. Todd 1862-186?

“Jan. 24, 1862. Came into Camp Gilbert, Zanesville, Ohio.  Did nothing but look around & have my tent pitched. Found everything strange & interesting.

“Jan. 25. Got fairly fixed up in my tent. Found that fixing up in camp was almost like beginning housekeeping. Spent the day pleasantly with many sad feelings mingled with many strange & joyous.

“Jan. 26. Being Sabbath at 10-1/2 O.C. A.W. went over to the city & preached in the 1st Presbyterian Church. Rev. Hoye pastor. Subject 1st Pet. 2,9. “but you are a chosen generation.” Dined with Brother Hoye, found him a most estimable Christian bro. Returned to camp, preached to the soldiers 3-1/2 O.C.P. from 2nd Cor. 13,11. “Be perfect” & had considerable freedom. Though the position & circumstances surrounding seem all strange. At night, 6-1/2 O.C. organized a prayer meeting and Bible Class in Capt. Scott’s Company. Had a most delightful meeting, found the following persons willing to assist in the serve.

T.P. McKinley                                                  United Presbyterian

D.S. Noble                                                         Presbyterian

W. T. Cameron                                                Presbyterian

Wm. Charters                                                  Presbyterian

Jno. McIntosh                                                Presbyterian

“After prayer meeting visited a tent in Capt. Sterinson’s Company and had prayer with them and gave them a few words of counsel.

“Jan. 27. Tried to meditate on Isa. 35. Had some freedom.  Did a little through the day. At night had prayer meeting and Bible class in Capt. Sterinson’s comp Had a very large attendance. Perhaps some 50 of his company were present. Had a good meeting. Found the following persons who were willing to assist in prayer meeting.

Jos. S. Laughlin                                                Presbyterian

Charles Brown                                                  Presbyterian

A. Adair                                                              Presbyterian

Lieut Roberts                                                    Baptist

W. H. Sopher                                                     Methodist

John D. Sopher                                                Methodist

Alexander Stechcomb                                  Methodist

Robt. F. Chandler                                           Campbelites

Wm. H. Shutt                                                    Methodist

John H. Whitacre                                           Methodist

“Was much encouraged by the friendly feeling manifested by all.

“Jan. 28. Went over to the city and dined at Mr. McMan’s – returned late in the evening to camp. At 6-1/4 O.C. had a religious exercise in Capt. Cornyen’s company. Quite a large number of this company Roman Catholics. Whilst a large number were present and gave most undivided attention, none seemed willing to take part.

“Prayed with them twice & made an address to them to which the most undivided attention was given.

“Jan. 29. Having some days since established morning and evening worship with Col. Liggett & Maj. Carnahan – commenced the day in prayer with Maj. Carnahan. Rained all day, stayed in my tent all day. At 6-1/2 O.C. held prayer meeting in Capt. Rainey’s company.  Had an attendance form 40 to 50.  Had the most undivided attention as I lectured on Math. 5:3.  Have great hope of having attendance good, of doing good.  Without him we can do nothing.  How little —— do we look to him for help.

“Found but two men in this company willing to lead in prayer. David McMillan – United Presbyterian, Samuel Nelson, United Presbyterian.

“Jan. 30. Read the 35, 36, 37 & 38 Chapters of Isa – was much struck expressions of Heskiah. Chap. 38, vs. 14-15 and also 18 & 19. Wrote 3 letters – visited the hospitals, found all the sick recovering .  In the afternoon visited Capt. Scott-Stevenson-Cornyns and Raineup’s companies and distributed 50 copies of the New Testament – some 30 Roman Catholics receiving them with seeming gratitude. May God make this work indeed the servant of the spirit to each one in whose hands it has been placed.  Received several calls from pious soldiers who manifested a good degree of earnestness.  And one man who was a seeming inquirer. Have reason to be thankful to God for any tokens of favor.

“By 6-1/2 O.E. met with Capt. Gebhard’s company for prayer and Bible instruction.  Had a most attentive meeting.  Earnest prayers were offered up in behalf of our officers & men & Country.

“Found eleven persons willing to lead in prayer, vis:

Capt. Gebhart                                                    Lutheran

Lieut. Gallispi                                                    Methodist Ep.

J. Rheinhart                                                       Methodist Pro.

H. Spiker                                                                    “

Wm. McFaren                                                          “

e. Russel                                                                    “

H. Beasly                                                            Methodist Ep.

M. Stewart                                                         Methodist Pro.

Jno. Trimble                                                          “

Jno Hays                                                           Methodist Ep.

L. Morgan                                                        ?

“Closed up the day with prayer with Maj. Carnahan.

“Jan. 31. ‘But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run & not be weary -0 they shall walk and not faint.” Isa. 40, 31. How precious this assurance in this waste & tiresome wilderness.   Blessed be God there are the springs of prayer – of the word – meditation – of Christian intercourse – if we are here cut off from the sealing ordinances of God’s house.

“Owing to some unforeseen circumstances had no prayer meeting this night, had prayer in the Col’s tent.

“Feb. 1, 1862. Rose at 6 O. E. had prayer in Col. Liggett’s tent. Endeavored to meditate upon a portion of the word of God. After dinner visited the city to make arrangements for holding services in one of the churches in order that the sacrament of the Lord’s supper might be administered to any of the children of God in camp, who might wish to have their vows before God. Had a prayer meeting in Capt. Waller’s Company – a goodly number attended. Manifested great interest in the word of exhortation.

“Found a number willing to lead in prayer:

Capt. Waller                                                     Methodist Ep.

Jos. Willson

H. A. Mcdonald

T. W. Hopes

Jno. McCune

a. J. Runyan

Lenhart Lasier

Lewis Wall

“Feb. 2.  Sabbath morning – arose at the beating of the drums.  Had prayers in Col. Liggett’s tent.  The Col. Leading.

“this is an example worthy of all invitation.  When the Col. & Maj. Can maintain morning and evening worship Parents and friends may well confide their sons to their keeping.  At 10-1/2 O.C.  preached to the regiment from Math. 1-21.  The soldiers all paid attention.  At 2 P.M. the regiment marched to the city to the 7th St. Methodist Church, some 800 in all – where after a brief introduction the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered to those of God’s people belonging to the regiment wishing to commune.  The session was deeply impressive.  Many strong bowed in tears.  ‘Twas a strange sight to see the table of the Lord filled with uniformed communicants.  Taws good to be there for the Lord was with us.  Blessed be his name for his great goodness to us.  Some 2000 communicants.

“At 7 P.M. preached for brother Plate of the 1st Presbyterian Church on the conversion of the thief upon the cross.  Luke 23, 39-43. Had some freedom.

“Feb. 3.  Spent the day in camp.  Felt languid and did nothing but letter writing until night when had prayer meeting in Cap. Speman’s Company.  Had a tolerably good meeting.

“Feb. 4. Receiving a dispatch that my family would join me this night in the city of Zanesville.  Felt thankful to god that thus far my family had been ___________.

“Feb. 4 & 5 & 6.  Spent days in the city with my dear wife and little children.  Had a pleasant time with them.  Started them toCincinnati at 11 A.M. Feb. 6.  Prayer meeting in Capt. Munson’s Company.

“Feb. 7.  Having had marching orders spent most of the day in preparations for our departure at 6-1/4 P.M.  Had prayer meeting in Capt. Scott’s Company – had an attentive audience.  ‘Tis a most delightful work to meet with God’s children in our tents and hold sweet communion at a throne of grace.

“Feb. 8.  Sabbath morning being _______ spent most of the day in tents.  About 2-=1/2 P.M. preached to the soldiers from Math. 6.  “Our Father what art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.”  Had some liberty – then as on former occasions at night two prayers meetings in Capt. Stennncer’s camp.  Closed the day by myself to God.

“Feb. 9.  Spent most of he day in preparations to leave.  At 3 P.M. we received orders to march to Paducah.  At 5 P.M. tents were struck.  At six found transportation inadequate, tents pitched until morning.  Had no prayer meeting owing to unsettled state of things in camp.  Spent the night in Evansville.

“Feb. 10.  Tuesday.  Tents again & finally struck.  A most unpleasant day, snowed hard, Soldiers exposed all day to the weather.  Bore up with fortitude.  Took cars at 6 P.M. for Cincinnati.  Traveled all night arriving the next day ____ _____11:00 A.M. and 11 P.M.

“Feb. 11.  Took boat for Paducah.  Two boats, the Neptune & Tecumseh converging to our future place of action.  Spent the night in a most pleasant social manner.  Had a good night’s sleep.

“Feb. 12.  Passed Louisville about 4 A.M. passing over the fields.  Had a most delightful trip until about 4 P.M. when weather became cold, storming with snow.  Boat tied up for the night.  Soldiers suffered much.  Poor men, their lots are hard.

“Feb. 13-14.  Passed on the Ohio River.  Woke up Saturday morning and found we were some 20 miles up the Cumberland River on our way to Ft. Donaldson.  The men all seemed inspired with delight at the idea that we were so soon to be called into active service.

“Feb. 15.  This day is day of great excitement.  We are now in an enemy’s country and in a few hours we expect to enter the battlefield.  We have met three boats which tell us a fearful battle is raging at Ft. D.  Our boats seem to move too slowly. Arrived at Ft. Donaldson about 2 P.M. Feb. 15 and have thrust upon my eyes for the first time the horrors of way – in the form of new made graves, the dying and dead, mangled hunks of groans, the battle is at its height.  Our regiment is ordered to be in battle line by sunrise tomorrow morning.  Witnessed the firing of the gunboats.  Had a shell from the enemy’s battery burst in a short distance from me.

“Feb. 16.  Sabbath morning.  How unlike the peaceful day of rest, all is preparation for battle.  Our regiment took its place this morning – and as we came to our place we saw the flag of surrender hung out from the enemy’s breastworks. Oh what a shout went up from our brave men as they mounted the works of our enemy, Gens. Buckner and Jonston surrendered their entire force amounting to from 1200 to 15000 men, 65 canon, 20,000 stands of small arms, 3,000 horses and mules.  Gens. Pillow & Floyd made their escape by night up the river.  The prisoners are a dejected, poorly clad set of men.

“Passed around over the battle field, saw such sights as should make us tremble.

“Slept on the ground short two miles from the first this night, without covering.  This was my hardest and first night in open woods.

“Feb. 17. Visited the battle field again, saw and heard many affecting things, and again slept in the open air-during this night and the previous we were visited with fearful rain yet we arranged to keep ourselves totally dry. 

“18th.  This day our regiment was moved to the town of Dover & Col. Liggett was appointed Provost Marshall.  We had a weary, wet, and disheartening march, arriving after dark and were compelled to pitch our tents in the wind.  Though not exposed to the elements from above, yet no one could imagine a more disagreeable state of things, than we have this day, yet in all our privations God has watched over us, Blessed be his name.

“19th of Feb. to March 6.  Remained in Dover, Ft. Donaldson, in which time our regiment was visited with sickness from which but few escaped.  Col. Liggett, Lieut. Col. Hanks, all the captains were sick, one morning 320 reporting themselves on the sick list.  During this period our men were tested to the utmost, having arduous and difficult duties to perform, and under the most trying circumstances, yet all bore their trials with patience.

“March 7. Had orders to march for Ft. Donaldson, everything was in the greatest excitement in getting ready to leave.  At 8 A.M. started and after hard and fruitful march made about 5 miles.  After partaking of a cold supper composed ourselves for the night as best we could, passed a bad night.

“March 8.  Started again on our weary march about 8 A.M.  Had much better roads than yesterday.  Had a little trouble in our march, reach our camping ground on the Tenn. River about 4 P.M.  Our camp is on a bluff of perhaps 100 feet high, having a beautiful view of the river with pure air and pure water.  The spirits of the men seemed to rise at once.

“9th.  Sabbath.  Spent most the morning in my tent, endeavored to meditate upon a portion of God’s word.  But the camp is a poor place to compose our minds.  Preached at two P.M. Ps. 23 ‘the Lord is my shepherd’  In the evening attended officer’s prayer meeting.  Had a light chill followed by ______

“11th.  Remained in tent all day and so the hand of the Surgeon, Tell, made better and with God’s blessing hope to throw off my disease.

“12th to 15th.  Remained sick during all our stay at this place, on the evening of the 15th we had orders to leave and embark upon board of the Steamer Schantars.

“16th.  Started up the river and after  a very exciting passage arrived at Savannah on the evening of the 17th.

“18th.  Landed at Crumpts Landing and our regiment assigned to Gen. Lew Wallace.  Then camped on a most beautiful spot about 1/2 mile from the river.  Found a vast force collected at Pittsburgh landing and at Crumpts.   Our regiment very sickly since landing at Fort Donaldson, sickness still prevailing.  Many no doubt drawing near to death remained at this place until April 1st without anything of special interest except grand military services.

“In these alone are found all the glories of war.  In the battle there is the awfully sublime and terrible.  After battle there is all that is terribly horrible — no glory – soon nothing but that from which the heart turns away sickened.

“April 1.  Received orders to March to Adamsville.  A most beautiful valley about 7 miles back from the river on the Purdy Road.  Our move was a threat upon the enemy on the right.  Pitched our tents about 4 P.M.  Had an attack upon our pickets about 8 P.M. creating great excitement throughout the brigade.

“April 2.  The men fully impressed with the belief that the enemy meditated an attack upon us.  At 6 P.M. Col. Liggett asked permission to take out a scouting party.  Started about 7 P.M.  After careful marching until within 3 1/2 miles of Purdy was overtaken by a terrible thunderstorm and called a halt.  About daybreak on the 3rd met a company of the enemy’s cavalry and exchanged shots.  3 of the enemy fell, 2 died and 1 wounded.

“From April 3 to 7 spent all the time in constant anticipation of an attack – but nothing else of special interest.

“April 7 (Sabbath) About 7 A.M. a tremendous cannonade was heard back of Pittsburgh Landing.  Like an electric shock, all men excited.  The battle of battles had commenced.  Each one began his work of preparation knowing that soon we should be called to act our parts.  About 10 A.M.  received our orders to march.  Started with our whole train about 2 P.M. Marched to the battle field  by 5 P.M. distance of 10 miles.  Every step of the road was under the excitement of ____  Some of the battle still progressing.   When we arrived upon the field found our forces had been driven back at every point for some 3 miles. Things looked gloomy enough.  Was cheered by the news that Gen. Burt’s forces had reached the ____ opposite Pittsburgh Landing.  We fell into battle line in an open cotton field.  Slept upon the ground and in the pelting rain.

“April 8.  Having had no ____ supper the previous evening owing to the fact we had slept but little the night previous, our regiment arose with a good deal of ____ was a little before daylight.  But this was soon dissipated by the opening of the awful scene of conflict.  About 5 A.M. the battle began to rage in all its fury.  Our regiment was assigned the extreme right wing, and passing the whole day in battle line had advanced several miles.  Although much exposed yet by the masterly skill of Col. Liggett, and above all to the ____ law of a kind Providence but one of our men was killed and sixteen were wounded, none seriously.  Slept upon our arms on the filed of battle amid a merciless rain, with orders to be in battle line at 4 A.M.with rations cooked and ready to march.  But the rain was so incessant the order was revoked and for a 2nd night, slept amid an incessant storm of rain and in the mud.  On the morning of the 9th moved down into the woods.  Passed over the battle field.  Let a dark veil be drawn over the scene.

“April 10.  Arose from the earth refreshed with a sweet night’s sleep.

“Tuesday, October 28, 1862.  Left home for the purpose of joining the regiment at Boliver Tenn.  Took the cars at Millsville 3 P.M. for Zanesville, at which place arrived 9 P.M.  Passed the night pleasantly with Mrs. Col. M. D. Liggett and Miss McInully.  Had great anxiety in mind in regard to my family at home. 

Wednesday, 29th.  Rose in the morning with a severe headache, felt quite unwell all day, with soreness of the throat.  Took the cars for Cincinnati at 9 A.M.  Passing through Columbus arrived at Cincinnati 5-1/2 P.M.  Put up at Walnut St. House. Had quite a refreshing sleep but still anxious in mind in regard to my dear ones left at home.  May God in infinite mercy take care of them all.  Retired for the night quite unwell.

Thursday, 30.  Rose with a prostrating headache and general prostration of all my energy.  Expressed all the goods committed to my care to Jackson, Tenn.  Throat sore with shivering sensation.  Called and took dinner with Mr. And Mrs. James More, 275 West Mound St. Found them in most excellent circumstances.  At 5 P.M. took cars for Cairo.  Traveled all night.

Friday, 31st.  All day on the road.  Much better in health than in the two previous days.  Arrived at Cairo 4 P.M. weary and worn.    Stopped at St. Charles.

“Saturday, Nov. 1st.  Rose much refreshed with sleep.  Took the steamer City of Alten for Columbus, Kr. At 7 A.M.  arriving at the latter place 8 – 1/2 A.M.  Immediately mounted the cars for Jackson Tenn.  Arrived at later place 3 P.M.  Took lodging at “Manassa” House.  Met with Luther Sampson, Will Hessin and young Lounsbury.  Spent a pleasant night with them.

“Sabbath morning 2nd.  Took the cars at Bolivar at which place I reached 10 A.M.  Found Col. Liggett in most excellent health.  Found the regiment numbering over 800 able bodied, health y men.  With very few exceptions none sick.  Our men have seen hard service yet a good brand of soldiers.  All are cheerful.  At 4 P.M. preached from the words “And you are not your own but you are bought with a price.  Therefore glorify God with your body and your spirits which are God’s.  Had much liberty and hope good was done.  Endeavored to impress upon each one the great fact that no one had a right simply to live to and for himself, but was bond by high and holy considerations to glorify God in their body and in their spirit.

“Monday, 3rd.  Broke camp at 7 A.M. and started at 10 A.M. for LaGrange.  Marched about 10 miles then halted for the night. Slept in the woods with0out shelter, passed a pleasant night though a heavy frost fell on us.

“Tuesday the 4th.  Resumed our march 8 A.M. and arrived at LaGrange about dark.  Our march this day was attended wit the most and wildest desolation.  Fences were gone so that the heavier part of our forces often had to forsake the road and take to the fields.  Some 3 hours were also consumed.  These acts of vandalism were perpetrated by some undisciplined band in the front supposed to be the Tennessee cavalry, under col. Hunt.  All our old soldiers expressed deep disapprobation of all. Slept again  without shelter.

“Wednesday, March 5.  Started on a reconnaissance toward Memphis.  Marched about 8 miles.  Captured 1 Lieutenant and 2 privates of the rebel army.  Late at night returned to camp satisfied with our day’s work.  And again slept in the woods without shelter though a cold northwest wind blew upon us all night.  Slept well.

Thursday the 6th.  Passed through the camp and found our men had stood our three days hard marching through the dust and sand admirably.  Nothing of special interest occurred.

“Friday the 7th.  Rose from the cold earth as a bed having passed but a poor night in the woods without shelter.  Our brigade moved our camp about one mile from LaGrange.  Our tents having arrived from Bolivar we were enabled to  once more fix ourselves up with some comfort.  Were busy all afternoon in getting our camp once more fixed up.

“Saturday the 8th.  Rose after a refreshing night’s sleep.  Passed around to camp and found but one really sick man, one taken down with inflammation of the lungs.  How hard it is for one used to the kindness of dear friends and the luxuries of a good home to toss in sickness upon the cold bosom of mother earth.

“Had an interesting interview with Sergeant Steward on the subject of a divine and special providence called forth by the news of the death of a dear little child.  Oh how the poor soldier’s heart was wrung with pain as he wept, alone and far from home over his dear ones he shall no more see in the flesh.  Tried to compose my mind for the services of the coming day.

“Sabbath the 9th.  Arose from my bed with a cold.  After having endeavored to meditate upon the temptations of our Savior passed among the regiment to gather up those who love our Savior to organize a regimental prayer meeting when we received orders to prepare two days rations and to hold ourselves in readiness to march at a moments warning.  All was activity.  Our prayer meeting had to be deferred.  Had small pleasure in reading the words of God.   At 4 P.M. preached from Rev. 1-45 ‘Who hath loved us and washed us from our sins.” Showing the reasons we have for loving and serving god, and of praising him.  Had much liberty.  Had a large audience though most of our regiment were out on detached service.  Deep and serious attention was given. May God bless these feeble efforts to do good for all our men.

“Monday the 10th.  Nothing special today.  Our forces who went out some days ago to feel the forces of the enemy returned this morning reporting the enemy 33,000 strong, some 2 miles distant.  Our men are all anxious to go forward and meet them.  Oh that this fearful work of death were at an end.  That peace with all her blessings might once more embrace our whole land.  May God soon —- his might arm.”

Rev Oliphant Todd, born Nov. 7, 1821, died March 24, 1897, was chaplain under U. S. Grant for the first year of the war, then became captain of Company K, 143rd Ohio Infantry.  From April 10, one entry, to October 28, there seems to be a gap, when he evidently spent time at home with his family.  After becoming Captain, he found no time for continuing his diary.

Presented by Jane Harris, Rev. Todd’s granddaughter.
Hualmar Perma-seal Service
2407 W. Jackson
Muncie, Indiana

The transcript from which this web page is based is from a transcript on file with the Ohio Historical Society.