William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
William L. Aughinbaugh Journal, 1862-1863
James S. Schoff Civil War CollectionFinding aid created by
A. T. D., September 1991
William L. Aughinbaugh journal
Aughinbaugh, William L.
The William L. Aughinbaugh journal describes the Civil War experience of a Union soldier and his gradual loss of support for the war.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
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William L. Aughinbaugh Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
In August, 1862, William L. Aughinbaugh, a resident of Delhi Twp., Ohio, enlisted in Company E of the 5th Ohio Infantry, which was initially assigned to guard duty at the Provost Marshal's office in Cincinnati, helping to enforce martial law. As an ideologically motivated, optimistic soldier, Aughinbaugh greeted with pleasure the news that the 5th Ohio had finally been assigned to duty in the eastern theatre in November, 1862.
That winter, Aughinbaugh's optimism began slowly to erode under the weight of the chronic inactivity of the Army of the Potomac and crushing military defeats at the hands of the Confederates. The dismissal of McClellan and the resignation to defeat that he saw among Union soldiers at Fredericksburg were particularly important factors in altering Aughinbaugh's opinion of the Army as a noble institution. He described how troops fighting at Fredericksburg seemed to accept and even welcome their defeat because they believed that it would lead to the reinstatement of McClellan. Following this battle, he began to entertain doubts about the competence of his commanders, and his frustration with camp life increasingly spilled over into a disgust with Virginians, whom he found to be stupid, dirty and backward. He even wondered about the supposed greatness of George Washington: could anyone raised in such a terrible place as Virginia really be great?
The 5th Ohio fought under Hooker in the Chancellorsville campaign in May, 1863, where Aughinbaugh was taken prisoner. He remained at Castle Thunder, Richmond, for only a few days before being returned to the North under parole. He remained in parole camp until August, when he rejoined the 5th Ohio.
Collection Scope and Content Note
Aughinbaugh is a literate and observant writer, who had apparently received a good education before his enlistment. His diary is an excellent reflection of the creeping loss of ideological motivation that afflicted many soldiers in the Union Army as the war continued longer than expected, and his personal insights are uniformly interesting and often insightful. Among the highlights of the journal is an excellent description of the Battle of Chancellorsville and of his own capture.
- Chancellorsville, Battle of, Chancellorsville, Va., 1863.
- Cincinnati (Ohio)
- Prisoners of War--Capture.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
- United States. Army--Ohio Infantry Regiment, 5th (1861-1865)
Additional Descriptive Data
Alexandria (Va.) Aquia Creek (Va.)Bolivar Heights (W.Va.), Skirmish at, 1862Bolivar Heights (W.Va.)Brown, John, 1800-1859Chancellorsville, Battle of, 1863Cincinnati (Ohio)Dehli Township, (Ohio)Dumphries (Va.), Skirmish at, 1862Dumphries (Va.)Fairfax (Va.)Fredericksburg (Va.), Skirmish near, 1863GamblingGeary, John, 1819-1873Greene, George Sears, 1801-1899Harpers Ferry (W.Va.)Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879Leesburg (Va.)McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885McKelvey, Lt. ColMeade, George Gordon, 1815-1872Military LawPetersburg (Va.)Pleasanton, Alfred, 1824-1879Potomac River (Va.)--DescriptionPrices--Virginia--DumphriesPrisoners of War--CaptureRappanhannock Bridge and Kelly's Ford, Va.--DescriptionSentinelsSlocum, Henry, 1827-1894Soldiers--Conduct of LifeStafford (Va.)Taylor, ThomasUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health Aspects United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--JewsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African-AmericanUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisonsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Religious aspectsUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Aerial operationsUnited States. Army--Military LifeWashington (D.C.)Winchester (Va.), Skirmish at, 1862