This volume is a 3" by 6" leather-bound pocket diary recounting 48 days in the life of Henry Barry, a private in the 127th Pennsylvania Reserves, Company E, encamped near Falmouth, Virginia, across the Rappahannock River from rebel forces. Entries span from March 31 to May 16, 1863. The first page, numbered "113," indicates that it is part of a series. Pasted in the back are severely faded pictures of his father and mother, William A. Barry and Rachel Ann Barry.
Barry wrote in detail about camp life in Northern Virginia and about the Virginia front six weeks before Gettysburg. He described his experiences leading up to the second battle of Fredericksburg, and the Battle of, Chancellorsville, at Marye's Heights and his regiment's unsuccessful attempt to push Southern forces back to Richmond. On April 14, they were warned that they were about to advance, confirmed by seeing a cavalry unit and about 2,000 wagons go by. On the 29th they marched south seven miles with full packs and 8 days’ rations.
"This evening I went to the top of a hill and there saw for the first time an engagement between our forces and the Rebs. They were shelling each other at a fine rate" [April 30].
"I understand old Ive drove the Rebs 10 miles yesterday capturing 18 wagon loads and ammunition and 4 days rations. I understand old Joe calculates being in Fred-ericksburg by 4 o’clock this afternoon carrying all the heights" [May 2].
In Battle. This morning at daybreak we marched into Fredericksburg and went down Caroline Street and there rested a few moments when I heard Gen. Gibbon tell Gen. Hall to file left & left flank so we did and the shells did come in profusion" [May 3].