On this page you will find links to diaries by the Speer brothers — Henry and William. These are very insightful diaries and tell us a lot about the daily lives of the soldiers of the Old 78th. Not only do you get a sense of the bravery of these men and their love of country and of God, but you also get glimpses into their thinking on fundamental issues. One such is the description by William of the speeches that he heard by several generals telling the men about the raising of the first colored regiments, and then the promotion of one of the men of the 78th to be an officer in a black regiment. William reports that the new officer felt “highly honored” by his new assignment. There are many other interesting “nuggets” of discovery for the reader of these diaries.
Private William S. Speer Diary — 1863
Corporal William S. Speer — 1864 (promoted to Corporal July 1, 1864)
Lt. Henry Speer Diary (Mortally wounded in the Battle of Atlanta)
Letter from William Speer to his family back home upon learning of Henry’s death
Poem written circa 1905 by Clara Aiken Speer (Wm’s daughter-in-law) based on William’s letter
These diaries, letters and photos are courtesy of Ailie and Wilson Edward Speer of Overland Park, KS.
Note: Photos of these men can be found in the Photography section of this web site.