The William Boston diary is a bound typescript, which documents Mr. Boston's service in the 20th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War. This volume, compiled by William's son, Orlan W. Boston, contains supplemental information and facsimiles of original documents related to William's service.
The diary consists of brief entries written almost daily during Boston's service. Early on in the war, Boston looked favorably upon the regiment's colonel, but was not as enamored of other officers, writing that "[t]he boys were glad to see him [Col. Williams] and cheered him lustily. Most of the officers looked sober" (1863 April 26). His comments on routine daily life tend to be very brief.
During his western service, Boston's diary is fairly thin, with perhaps longest and best description relating to a trip taken to some caverns in southern Kentucky (1863 May 27). The writing improves, however, following Boston's second tour in Virginia, and includes a good account of battles in the Petersburg Campaign from late August through November, 1864, as well as descriptions of life during the siege in the late fall 1864 through Spring, 1865. Boston's best description of an engagement is that for the desperate Confederate assault on Fort Stedman. His entries from the Appomattox Campaign are lengthier than average and provide a very good account of the regiment's activities.