Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Lewis T. Hickok Journal, 1863

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1997

Summary Information
Title: Lewis T. Hickok journal
Creator: Hickok, Lewis T.
Inclusive dates: 1863
Extent: 124 pages
Lewis Hickok's journal contains brief daily entries for 1863, describing his service during the seige and occupation of Vicksburg in 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:

1956. M-1015.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Lewis T. Hickok Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Hickok, Lewis T.

Rank : Corporal

Regiment : 124th Illinois Infantry Regiment. Co. E (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 August 7-1865 August 15

The 124th Illinois Infantry was stationed in southwestern Tennessee in January, 1863, preparing for service in the Vicksburg Campaign. When they boarded the steamer Platte Valley on February 20 for Lake Providence, Berry's Landing, and Milliken's Bend, Corporal Lewis Hickok of Co. E entered into some of the hardest service he would see during the war -- as well as some of the dullest.

From Milliken's Bend, the 124th was assigned to the force that crossed the Mississippi near Grand Gulf with the intention of encircling Vicksburg. At Port Gibson on May 1st, Hickok "had the privilege of firing one volley" as the federal army drove the rebels from their works, and took part in the breathless sweep up the Big Black River to the battles of Jackson and Champion's Hill. As the regiment peeled back toward Vicksburg, they abruptly shifted gears, settling in for a two month tour of the "rat holes" on Shelley's Hill, so close that the pickets could hear the Confederate pickets whisper.

Hickok presents something of an enigma. Though obviously patriotic and morally upstanding, he thought little of taking "French leave" to visit the city, commenting wryly after being ordered to perform picket duty as punishment: "It is as all right seeing we cant help it. Wait till I get to be a general" (1863 August 14). Similarly, during an expedition toward Canton, Miss., he casually and apparently sympathetically noted (October 15) seeing a little girl crying over her pet lamb, but the next day he remarked that he "feasted on the spinal column if a dead lamb."

As the regiment bided their time in occupation duty in Vicksburg during the final four months of the year, Hickok fought off bouts of illness until his health restored with the cooler weather. He remained in the service until the regiment mustered out in August, 1865.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The diary of Lewis T. Hickok is a product of the flux inherent in military service during the Civil War, the alternation between long days of boredom and moments of intense excitement. Through very brief entries for each day in 1863, Hickok sketches a picture of service centered almost exclusively on the siege and subsequent occupation of Vicksburg. Since Hickok (and the limited space available in the diary) unintentionally imposed a two- or three-sentence limit on each entry, the diary sheds little light on any particular topic, however, since he wrote every day, it provides good documentation of the movements of the regiment, and, along with his occasional side comments, an intriguing picture of a quixotic individual who apparently could never quite conform to military life.

The inside cover of the diary also includes the name of John Kidston, a recruit who died in Battle on May 18, 1863. The reason for the inclusion of Kidston's name is obscure.

Subject Terms

    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States. Army. Illinois Infantry Regiment, 124th (1862-1865)
    • Absence without leave.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • Vicksburg (Miss.)--Description and travel.
    • Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.
    • Vicksburg Campaign, 1863.
    • Canton (Miss.), Expedition to, 1863.
    • Champion's Hill, Battle of, 1863.
    • Jackson (Miss.), Battle of, 1863.
    • Port Gibson, Battle of, 1863.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Lewis T. Hickok journal,  1863 January 1-December 31 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Howard, Richard L. History of the 124th Regiment, Illinois Infantry Volunteers (Springfield: H.W. Rokker, 1880).

    Partial Subject Index
    Absence without leave.
    • 1863 July 23
    • 1863 August 13-14
    • passim 1863 August-October 13
    • 1863 October 23-24
    Canton (Miss.), Expedition to, 1863.
    • 1863 October 14-21
    Champion's Hill (Miss.) Battlefield.
    • 1863 October 19
    Champion's Hill, Battle of, 1863.
    • 1863 May 16
    • 1863 October 15
    • 1863 June 4, 7
    • 1863 October 15-16
    Jackson (Miss.), Battle of, 1863.
    • 1863 May 14
    Logan, John Alexander, 1826-1886.
    • 1863 July 12
    • 1863 November 13
    • 1863 May 1-19
    • 1863 October 14-22
    Port Gibson, Battle of, 1863.
    • 1863 May 1-2
    Raymond, Battle of, 1863.
    • 1863 May 12
    • 1863 May 23
    • 1863 June 20, 24
    Soldiers--Religious life.
    • 1863 October 23-26, 30-31
    United States. Army--Military life.
    • 1863 October 23-24
    • 1863 November 9, 12
    United States. Army--Officers--Alcohol use.
    • 1863 July 12
    • 1863 December 26
    Vicksburg (Miss.)--Description and travel.
    • 1863 July 6
    Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.
    • 1863 May 20-July 4
    Vicksburg Campaign, 1863.
    • Passim February-July 4