William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Daniel E. Shea Journal, 1865
James S. Schoff Civil War CollectionFinding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, February 1997
Daniel E. Shea journal
Shea, Daniel E.
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.
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
Access and Use
The collection is open to research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Daniel E. Shea journal, 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.
- 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.)
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865---Artillery operations.
- Union sympathizers--Alabama.
| Container / Location
|Volume 1 Schoff Civil War Bound Volumes
Daniel E. Shea journal, 1865 January 17-May 09 [series]:
Additional Descriptive Data
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.
Alabama--Description and travel.Burnsville (Miss.), Skirmish at, 1865.Carr, Eugene Asa, 1820-1910.Chalmette (La.)--Description and travel.Corinth (Miss.)--Description and travel.Foraging--Illinois.Fortification, Field.Irish-American soldiers.Iuka (Miss.), Skirmish near, 1865.Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Assassination.Louisiana--Description and travel.
Lovell, Col.Mobile Campaign, 1865.Montgomery (Ala.)--Description and travel.Murder.Oysters.Pillow, Gideon Johnson, 1806-1878.Saint Patrick's Day.Sharpshooters.Shiloh National Military Park (Tenn.)Slavery.Slavery--Louisiana.Smith, Andrew Jackson, 1815-1897.
- 1865 February 21-27
- 185 March 10-13
Smith, Kilby.Spanish Fort (Ala.)--Capture, 1865.Steamboat travel.Tennessee--Description and travel.Torpedoes.Union sympathizers--Alabama.
- 1865 March 24
- 1865 April 30
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865---Artillery operations.United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Peace.United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Transportation.
- 1865 April 19, 25
- 1865 May 2