Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
James G. Derrickson Diary, 1864-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, September 2009

Summary Information
Title: James G. Derrickson diary
Creator: Derrickson, James Gaunt, 1841-1865
Inclusive dates: 1864-1865
Extent: 1 Volume
This volume consists of a serialized newspaper reprint of James G. Derrickson's Civil War diary concerning his time as a prisoner of war in the south. He wrote about food, shelter, sickness, morale, rumors, prayer meetings and sermons, and treatment by the Rebels.
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:


Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

James G. Derrickson Diary, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Derrickson, James Gaunt

Rank : Capt.

Regiment : 66th New York Infantry Regiment. Co. B.

Service : 1861 October 1861-1865 March

James Gaunt Derrickson, born on June 6, 1841, was the eldest son of James T. Derrickson, a pioneer paper merchant in New York City, and Eleanor Jane Buchanan. Twenty years old and just out of college (he attended the University of the City of New York), Derrickson mustered with Co. B of the 66th New York Volunteers as a 2nd Lieutenant, in October 1861. After campaigns in the Chickahominy swamps during the Fair Oaks and Seven Days campaigns in 1862, Derrickson, suffering from exposure, was hospitalized at Camp Confidence. He was promoted to adjutant of the New York 66th in August 1862 and fought in several key battles, including Antietam and Fredericksburg. The following December, he was appointed captain of Co. C. He fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and on July 3, 1863, was promoted to Acting Division Ordinance Officer for the First Division, Second Corps in the Army of the Potomac. He held this position until he was captured on June 22, 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia. He was first detained at Libby Prison in Richmond, but spent time at prisons in Macon, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina. He was paroled 8 months later in March 1865, from North East Ferry, North Carolina. He was discharged from the army two months later.

After the war, Derrickson worked at his father's paper business, but drowned while inspecting a paper mill on Friday, October, 13, 1865.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume consists of a serialized newspaper reprint of James G. Derrickson's Civil War diary. The series is presented by Chauncey K. Buchanan, Derrickson's nephew, in the newspaper The Argus. The article is entitled "Diary During My Imprisonment in Dixie." The diary is divided into nine installments, and covers the period from June 22, 1864, to June 22, 1865. The entries describe Derrickson's daily experiences as a prisoner of war in the south; he reports on food, shelter, sickness, morale, rumors, prayer meetings and sermons, and treatment by the Rebels. As he is moved from prison to prison, he describes the differences among the facilities. Derrickson, an officer, can send and receive mail and has access to newspapers, allowing him to follow and comment on the war from prison.

Subject Terms

    • C.S. Military Prison, Macon, Ga.
    • Libby Prison.
    • United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 66th.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
    • Prisoners of war--United States.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   2, Schoff Civil War Diaries and Journals  
    James G. Derrickson diary,  June 22, 1864-June 22, 1865 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    James G. Derrickson's original diary is held at the New York State Historical Association Library.