Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
H. H. Gillum Journal, 1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1997

Summary Information
Title: H. H. Gillum journal
Creator: Gillum, H. H.
Inclusive dates: 1865
Extent: 70 pages
Abstract:
Captain H. H. Gillum's narrative of Sheridan's final great raid, from Winchester to White House, Va. (February 27-March 19, 1865) is written from the perspective of a quartermaster and overseer of supply trains.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1977. M-1775.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

H.H. Gillum journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Gillum, H. H.

Rank : Captain, Assistant Quartermaster

Regiment : United States. Army--Cavalry Corps

Service : Unknown

In February, 1865, Capt. H. H. Gillum was assigned charge of the supply train during Sheridan's raid into Northern Virginia. As Assistant Quartermaster on the staff of the federal Cavalry Corps, he oversaw the massive train of mules, horses, baggage, and wagons as the 1st and 3rd Divisions of the Corps drove toward Lynchburg.

Facing a disheartened pro-Confederate populace and a dispirited army, Gillum watched as the Corps swept the field at Waynesboro, and for three weeks, he kept the train rolling over mountains, mud, rivers, and burned bridges, and despite cranky mules and the logistical nightmare of feeding a "horde" of federal soldiers severed from their base of supply. Discovering that Lynchburg was too heavily defended, Sheridan descended on Charlottesville to rest and destroy the railroad, and from there, Gillum accompanied Thomas Devin's 1st Division as they turned to the James River to destroy the canal -- which the slippery conditions and mule hooves did quite adequately -- and any mills along the banks.

Inured to the destruction and personal losses the army inflicted on the civilian population during the expedition, Gillum actually seemed proud of the efficiency with which the army carried out its wreckage and the rapacity with which they foraged, resourcefully rooting out stores hidden in cellars and slave cabins, and appropriating tobacco and flour as needed and leveling whatever remained. He commented that the civilians (in his eyes) even looked upon the soldiers as benevolent -- or at least less harsh than had been the case in the past. Yet despite his casual attitude and the feeling that the raid was as much as lark as a military expedition, Gillum was acutely aware that the war remained serious business. The muddy roads were fraught with peril for horses, wagons, and soldiers alike, and constantly looming was the threat that Confederate forces might appear at any time and make short work of the lumbering train. As a result, horses who were too weak to continue were unceremoniously shot, rather than have them suffer a lingering death or, worse, fall into Confederate hands.

On March 10th, the expedition pulled into Columbia, Va., and reconnoitered. Finding that nearly all the bridges across the James had been destroyed, Sheridan elected to join Grant in the White House, destroying everything in his path, but meeting little effective resistance before arriving there safely on March 18.


Collection Scope and Content Note

Capt. H.H. Gillum's narrative of Sheridan's final great raid, from Winchester to White House, Va., February 27-March 19, 1865, is written from the perspective of a quartermaster and overseer of supply trains. Composed after the fact, but apparently shortly after, the narrative is highly polished, literate, legible, and engaging, and may have been intended for public eyes, either as a report or for publication. Throughout, Gillum's narrative is concerned primarily with three factors: his duties in moving the creaky supply train along, the devastating effect of the war upon the civilians and their response, and the successes of the Union Army.

Although the details of Gillum's duties are sometimes difficult to extract, the narrative is valuable as an account of the emotions and camaraderie among the quartermasters and supply crews, and the difficult issues they encountered in keeping the army moving. While many Civil War collections focus on the dramatic moments of combat or the boredom of camp, Gillum presents the banalities of mud, mules, and meat and makes them interesting, making the challenge of moving supplies for 10,000 cavalrymen as interesting as any cavalry charge. Equally valuable, Gillum's position in the rear provides him a different perspective altogether in describing the few engagements involving Sheridan's force, most notably Waynesboro, and in dealing with the citizens. His descriptions of the arrival of the column in Charlottesville, enlivened by a visit to the University of Virginia and a vignette of a Confederate prisoner of war meeting his wife, is particularly interesting (March 4-5), as is his account of the punitive destruction of a mill (March 10).

The collection also includes a bill of fare (menu) from John Brewer's Restaurant, Petersburg, Va., apparently kept to show the fluctuating, inflationary prices near the end of the war. It is unclear whether the menu is a Confederate or Union imprint.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Columbia (Va.)--Description and travel.
    • Custer, George Armstrong, 1839-1876.
    • Early, Jubal, 1816-1894.
    • Forage--Virginia.
    • Horses.
    • Marches--Virginia.
    • Mules.
    • Prices--Virginia.
    • Prisoners of War--Confederate States of America.
    • Quartermasters--United States.
    • Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Cavalry operations.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction and pillage.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Transportation.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women.
    • United States. Army--Supplies and stores.
    • Women--Virginia.
    Genre Terms:
    • Memoirs.
    • Menus.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   F6.5 James S. Schoff Civil War, Diaries and Journals  
    H. H. Gillum journal,  1865 February 26-1865 March 25 [series]:
     
     1865 February 26 [subseries]:
     
    Preparations for March up Shenandoah
     
     1865 February 27 [subseries]:
     
    March begins
     
    Phil Sheridan
     
    George Custer
     
    Black mule-drives
     
     1865 February 28 [subseries]:
     
    Orders to take charge of supply/ammunition trains
     
    "Bummers"
     
    Fording stream
     
     1865 March 01 [subseries]:
     
    Illness
     
    Destroyed Virginia towns
     
    Burning bridge
     
    Skirmish
     
    Gen. Jubal Early
     
    Foraging mutton
     
     1865 March 02 [subseries]:
     
    Tobacco expropriated
     
    Reception of Union troops in Staunton, Va.
     
     1865 March 03 [subseries]:
     
    Crossing creeks
     
     1865 March 04 [subseries]:
     
    Camp at Charlottesville
     
    Recuperating from battle
     
     1865 March 05 [subseries]:
     
    Wrecking of railroad
     
    Sheridan's generalship
     
    Foraging forbidden
     
    University of Virginia
     
    Prisoner taken in own home
     
     1865 March 06 [subseries]:
     
    Contrabands
     
    Exhausted horses
     
    Civilian morale
     
    Hidden goods in slave cabins
     
     1865 March 07 [subseries]:
     
    Quarters in private home
     
    Virginia civilians
     
     1865 March 08 [subseries]:
     
    Confederate sharpshooters
     
    Flour expropriated
     
     1865 March 09 [subseries]:
     
    200 horses shot
     
    Crossing of James River
     
    Mud
     
     1865 March 10 [subseries]:
     
    Scottsville, Va.
     
    Crossing canal
     
    Blacks appropriated for risky jobs
     
    Provisions expropriated
     
     1865 March 11 [subseries]:
     
    Columbia, Va.
     
     1865 March 12 [subseries]:
     
    Rest and Recuperation
     
    Virginia civilians cower
     
    Gen. Early
     
     1865 March 13 [subseries]:
     
    Frederick Hall Station, Va.
     
    Destroying railroad
     
    1865 March 14 [subseries]:
     
    Destroying railroad
     
     1865 March 15 [subseries]:
     
    Captured at Ashland, Va.
     
    Gen. Devin
     
    "Contrabands"
     
     1865 March 16 [subseries]:
     
    Orphaned baby
     
     1865 March 17 [subseries]:
     
    Cedar groves
     
    King William Courthouse
     
     1865 March 18-25 [subseries]:
     
    Blacks as butt of humor
     
    Duties as Depot QM at landing on Pamunkey River
     
    Contraband labor
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Ashland (Va.), Skirmish at, 1865
    • 1865 March 15
    Camp followers
    • 1865 February 28
    Charlottesville (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 4, 5
    Civilians--Virginia--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1865 February 27
    • 1865 March 1, 5-7, 9, 12, 17
    Columbia (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 10, 11
    Custer, George Armstrong, 1839-1876
    • 1865 March 15, 16
    Devin, Thomas, 1822-1878
    • 1865 March 15
    Early, Jubal, 1816-1894
    • 1865 March 1
    • 1865 March 2, 12
    Foraging--Virginia
    • 1865 March 1
    • 1865 March 2, 5-8, 11, 12
    Frederick Hall Station (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 13
    Harrisonburg (Va.), Skirmish at, 1865
    • 1865 March 1
    Harrisonburg (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 1
    Horses
    • 1865 February 26
    • 1865 March 6, 9
    Infants
    • 1865 March 16
    King William Court House (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 17
    Marches--Virginia
    • passim
    Mules
    • 1865 February 26, 27
    • 1865 March 6, 9, 10
    New Market (Va.), Skirmish at, 1865
    • 1865 March 8
    Prices--Virginia
    • 1865 March 2
    • Restaurant menu
    Prisoners of War--Confederate States of America
    • 1865 March 2, 3, 5
    Railroads--Destruction
    • 1865 March 5, 13
    Restaurants--Virginia
    • Restaurant menu
    Scorched-earth policy
    • 1865 March 1 and ff.
    Scottsville (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 10
    Sheridan's Raid in Northern Virginia, 1865
    • passim
    Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888
    • 1865 February 27
    • 1865 March 2, 12, 18
    Slaves--Dwellings
    • 1865 March 6
    Slaves--Virginia
    • 1865 March 6
    Staunton (Va.)--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 2
    Tobacco
    • 1865 March 2, 13
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans
    • 1865 March 6, 9,10, 15, 16, 18
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Cavalry operations
    • passim
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Confiscations and contributions
    • 1865 March 2
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction
    • 1865 March 1, 5, 8,13
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Scouts and scouting
    • 1865 March 5
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Transportation
    • 1865 February 26, 27
    • 1865 March 2, 3, 9, 10
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women
    • 1865 March 1, 5-7
    United States. Army--Quartermasters
    • passim
    United States. Army--Supplies and stores
    • passim
    University of Virginia
    • 1865 March 5
    Virginia--Description and travel
    • 1865 March 13
    Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction
    • 1865 March 1, 5, 8, 13
    Waynesboro, Battle of, 1865
    • 1865 March 2
    Women--Virginia
    • 1865 March 1, 5-7