Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Charles M. Barnett Journal, 1863-1864

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Manuscript Division Staff

Summary Information
Title: Charles M. Barnett journal
Creator: Barnett, Charles M., b. ca. 1837
Inclusive dates: 1863-1864
Extent: 1 volume
Charles M. Barnett's Civil War journal documents important events in southeastern Tennessee between August and October, 1863, including the Tullahoma Campaign, the retreat from Chickamauga, and parts of the Chattanooga Campaign.
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:

1976. M-1730.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Charles M. Barnett Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Barnett, Charles M., b. ca. 1837

Rank : 1st Lieutenant; Captain (1862 May or June)

Regiment : 2nd Illinois Light Artillery Regiment. Battery I (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 December 31-1864 November 8

A New Yorker by birth, Charles M. Barnett was an unmarried twenty four year old man living in Joliet, Ill., when he plunged into the Civil War. His personal response to the fall of Fort Sumter was to enlist on April 19, for three months duty with McAllister's Battery (Co. K of the 10th Illinois Infantry), during which time he distinguished himself sufficiently to earn a promotion from sergeant to lieutenant.

Between the end of July, when his enlistment ran out, and December, Barnett presumably cooled his heels in Joliet, but when Battery I of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery was being formed in December, he reported to Camp Butler to accept a commission as senior 1st Lieutenant in the three years' service. Reporting to General Pope, Battery I was ordered to Corinth, Miss., and served through much of the summer of 1862 in nearby Rienzi, Miss. Although they saw minor brushes with the enemy in Mississippi, it was not until October, when they were ordered north to Kentucky, that they experienced the full fury of battle. As part of Sheridan's 11th Division of the Army of the Ohio, the Battery played an important role in the Battle of Perryville (Chaplin Hills) and in the subsequent pursuit of Bragg's retreating army into Tennessee.

From November, 1862 until August, 1863, the Battery performed garrison duty in Nashville, where Barnett became Chief Artillery and Inspector of Horses. In August and September, as part of the Reserve Corps under the command of Gordon Granger, Barnett took part in the advance to Chattanooga known as the Tullahoma Campaign, and acted as rear guard for General Thomas' army as they retreated from Chickamauga, and was repeatedly engaged during the following weeks during the Chattanooga Campaign, helping to open the "Cracker Line" in late October and seeing action during the Wauhatchie Night Attack.

In November, after Wauhatchie, Barnett managed to secure a furlough to visit his father who was living near Saratoga, N.Y., thus missing the remainder of the Chattanooga Campaign. On December 12, 1863, he married Mary Martha Green in Joliet, Ill. In December, too, the enlisted men were asked to reenlist, and those who did were allowed to return home for thirty day furloughs. While the enlisted men were away, Barnett and the other officers were sent out to recruit.

Battery I returned to active duty in February, 1864, and served under Sherman during the Atlanta campaign, the March to the Sea, and the March through the Carolinas. Barnett was appointed chief of Artillery of the 2nd Division, 14th A.C., during the Atlanta Campaign, and was briefly acting Chief of Artillery for the entire Corps, but on November 8, 1864 he resigned his commission and returned to civilian life in Illinois. His post-war activities are unknown.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Charles M. Barnett's journal is contained in a single volume, beginning May 1, 1863. The entries for 1864 are written in the front part of the same volume, with corrections as to day and date noted occasionally. The journal contains particularly useful information on the signal events in southeastern Tennessee between August and October, 1863, including the Tullahoma Campaign, the retreat from Chickamauga, and parts of the Chattanooga Campaign, including the opening of the Cracker Line and the Wauhatchie Night Attack.

Subject Terms

    • Absence without leave.
    • African American barbers.
    • Agriculture.
    • Alabama--Description and travel.
    • Ammunition.
    • Asylums.
    • Chattanooga, Battle of, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1863.
    • Chickamauga, Battle of, Ga., 1863.
    • Christmas.
    • Courage.
    • Courts-martial and courts of inquiry.
    • Fortification.
    • Guerrillas--Tennessee.
    • Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875.
    • Liquors.
    • Love.
    • Military deserters.
    • Military ethics.
    • Nashville (Tenn.)
    • Ordnance.
    • Pontoon bridges.
    • Prices.
    • Ringgold (Ga.)
    • Soldiers--Recreation.
    • Spies.
    • Strategy.
    • Tennessee--Description and travel.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African American.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
    • United States. Army--Officers.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   4.2, Schoff Civil War Diaries and Journals  
    Charles M. Barnett journal,  1863 May 1-1864 April 5 [series]
     1863 May
    Black barber
    Drunk orderly
    Execution of prisoner
    Possible spy
    Deserter caught
    Nashville prepares for attack
    Sermon on swearing
     1863 June
    Mint juleps/whiskey
    Recipe for "curing blood"
    AWOL court martial
    Second guessing Lee vs. Hooker
     1863 July
    Prisoners arrive at Murfreesboro
    Picking new campsite
    AWOL soldiers
     1863 August
    Muster of troops
    Blacks mustered in as teamsters/cooks
    Ordnance stores condemned
    Trip to Columbia
    Andrew Johnson
    Looking for guerillas
     1863 September
    Tennessee civilians pro-Union
    Tennessee and Alabama countryside
    Chattanooga Campaign
    Ringgold, Ga.
     1863 October
    Chattanooga Campaign
    Shelling of Chattanooga
    Colonel dismissed for cowardice
    Fixing a barn for horses
    Corn and straw shipments at Chattanooga
    Pontoon bridge over Tenn. River
    Wauhatchie Night Attack
     1863 November
    Pontoon bridges broken
    Trip: Chattanooga to Nashville, to Columbus O., to Cleveland, to Buffalo NY, to Schenectady, to Saratoga
     1863 December
     1864 February
    List of supplies
    Drunk on guard duty
    Insane asylum burned
     1864 March
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Brown, Thaddeus C. S., Samuel J. Murphy and William G. Putney. Behind the guns: the history of Battery I, Second Regiment Illinois Light Artillery. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1965.