Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Daniel E. Shea Journal, 1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, February 1997

Summary Information
Title: Daniel E. Shea journal
Creator: Shea, Daniel E.
Inclusive dates: 1865
Extent: 58 pages
In his journal, Daniel Shea, a literate, passionate writer, has left an outstanding record of his service during the last months of the Civil War.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1995. M-3155.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Daniel E. Shea Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Shea, Daniel E.

Rank : 2nd Lieut. (1862 September 29); 1st Lieut. (1863 June 3) and Adjutant (1865 February 11)

Regiment : 33rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Co. K (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 September 29-1865 July

By 1865, the Irish immigrant, Daniel E. Shea, was a long-toothed veteran of the western campaigns of the Civil War. On October 18, 1862, Shea had left home in Racine, Wisc., to accept a commission as 2nd Lieutenant of Co. K, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry. Leaving the state on November 12, the regiment was ordered to Memphis and attached to Lauman's Division, Army of the Tennessee, and was initiated into active campaigning during the advance on Jackson and Vicksburg, Miss., early in 1863. After having spent three relatively quiet months performing guard duty near Moscow, Tenn., the 33rd was ordered in May into the siege of Vicksburg, and were among the regiments present at the surrender. Shea's soldiering ability was recognized with a promotion to 1st Lieut. June 3, 1863, and later by a promotion 1st Lieut and Adjuant, on February 11, 1865.

Following Vicksburg and an interval performing occupation duty of Natchez (August-December), Shea took part in the Meridian and Red River Campaigns. With the XVI Corps under A.J. Smith, his regiment was engaged during the Battle of Tupelo (July, 1864) -- which Shea considered one of the defining moments for his regiment -- and thereafter followed Smith into southern Missouri and Arkansas. Apparently always an avid and able soldier, Shea was rewarded during this expedition with the command of Battery M, 1st Missouri Light Artillery.

In November, returning once again to Tennessee to reinforce George H. Thomas' forces at Nashville, the 33rd Wisconsin was involved in minor operations in northeastern Mississippi. Sensing that the war's end was immininent, Shea brimmed with confidence when in February, the regiment received orders to travel to Chalmette, La., and gather for the assault on one of the last remaining Confederate stongholds, Mobile. Steaming to Alabama Point, on the west side of Mobile Bay, the 33rd camped on the rich oyster beds until March 20th, when they spearheaded an assault on on the western reaches of the city, designed to cover the advance of the real assault force from the east.

With news of Union successes in the Carolinas and Virginia mounting steadily, the desperation of the Confederate defenders appeared to Shea to grow daily. He was appalled that they had resorted to the use of torpodoes, the "infernal machines" hidden around the remaining bridges and entrances to the city: "The enemy it seems have no longer confidence in their ability to meet us with the sword, Rifle and Bayonet; so the Chivalry will now resort to almost any means which may destroy the lives of our brave soldiers" (1865 March 20). After two grueling weeks Mobile buckled to the combined weight of the Union forces. Suffering from exposure and lack of sleep, Shea felt the campaign had proved the mettle of his regiment, and wrote "It is a pleasure, it is an honor, to suffer with such men in so good a Cause" (1865 April 2).

After entering Mobile, 16th Corps continued toward Montgomery in pursuit of the fleeing remnants of the Confederate army led by D.H. Maury, and entered the former Confederate capitol just as the war ended. Shea was mustered out with his regiment in July, 1865, but his post-war whereabouts are unknown.

Collection Scope and Content Note

In his journal, Daniel Shea, a literate, passionate writer, has left an outstanding record of his service during the last months of the Civil War. Although the journal entries are seldom of any great length, they are frequent enough and detailed enough to be useful, particularly during the Mobile and Montgomery campaigns. Although Shea identified with his "ethnic" background -- he was Irish born and raised -- he did not serve in an ethnic regiment, and mentions his background explicitly only once, on Saint Patrick's Day.

Subject Terms

    • United States. Army. Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, 33rd (1862-1865)
    • Irish American soldiers.
    • Alabama--Description and travel.
    • Louisiana--Description and travel.
    • Tennessee--Description and travel.
    • Mobile (Ala.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns.
    • Spanish Fort (Ala.)
    • Torpedoes.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865---Artillery operations.
    • Union sympathizers--Alabama.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Daniel E. Shea journal,  1865 January 17-May 9 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Schoff Civil War Collections also include the Andrew S. Parsons papers, of Co. F, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry, that also include fine descriptions of the Mobile Campaign and the conclusion of the war in Alabama.

    Partial Subject Index
    Alabama--Description and travel.
    • 1865 April 13-25
    Burnsville (Miss.), Skirmish at, 1865.
    • 1865 January 18
    Carr, Eugene Asa, 1820-1910.
    • 1865 March 24
    Chalmette (La.)--Description and travel.
    • 1865 February 22-27
    Corinth (Miss.)--Description and travel.
    • 1865 January 19-20
    • 1865 February 9
    Fortification, Field.
    • 1865 April 1, 3
    Irish-American soldiers.
    • passim
    Iuka (Miss.), Skirmish near, 1865.
    • 1865 February 1
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Assassination.
    • 1865 May 1
    Louisiana--Description and travel.
    • 1865 February 21-27
    • 185 March 10-13
    Lovell, Col.
    • 1865 January 17
    Mobile Campaign, 1865.
    • 1865 March 17-April 12
    Montgomery (Ala.)--Description and travel.
    • 1865 April 25
    • 1865 May 2
    • 1865 February 4
    • 1865 March 18-19, 21
    Pillow, Gideon Johnson, 1806-1878.
    • 1865 May 5
    Saint Patrick's Day.
    • 1865 March 17
    • 1865March 31
    Shiloh National Military Park (Tenn.)
    • 1865 January 14
    • 1865 January 25
    • 1865 February 27
    Smith, Andrew Jackson, 1815-1897.
    • 1865 March 24
    • 1865 April 30
    Smith, Kilby.
    • 1865 January 17
    Spanish Fort (Ala.)--Capture, 1865.
    • 1865 March 26-April 8
    Steamboat travel.
    • 1865 February 6-21
    Tennessee--Description and travel.
    • 1865 January 12-15
    • 1865 March 20
    Union sympathizers--Alabama.
    • 1865 April 19, 25
    • 1865 May 2
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865---Artillery operations.
    • 1865 March 30-April 2
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Peace.
    • 1865 April 26
    • 1865 May 4
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Transportation.
    • 1865 February 6-21