Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for Levi E. Kent Journal, 1861-1862
James S. Schoff Civil War Collection
Finding aid created by Manuscript Division Staff
Title: Levi E. Kent journal Creator: Kent, Levi E. Inclusive dates: 1861-1862 Extent: 1 volume Abstract:
The journal of Levi E. Kent, of the 4th Rhode Island Infantry, Company F., provides an account of his regiment's movements, battles, pastimes, entertainments, and lifestyle.
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: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Levi E. Kent Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Kent, Levi E.
Rank : Captain; Major
Regiment : 4th Rhode Island Infantry Regiment. Co. F (1861-1864)
Service : 1861 September-1862 September 26
Although his origins are unknown, it appears that Levi Kent was old enough and commanded enough respect to earn a Captain's commission in the 4th Rhode Island Infantry when it was organized in September, 1861. A disciplinarian, Kent served with the 4th Infantry during several months of comparatively quiet duty in Maryland, guarding the national capitol, before entering the fray in North Carolina.
In February, 1862, the 4th Rhode Island was placed under the command of Ambrose E. Burnside, to assist in his expedition against the Carolina coast. With a massive naval assault, the force took possession of Roanoke Island on February 7th, gaining a precious, precarious foothold in the rear of the Army of Northern Virginia. Kent and his regiment took part in securing this foothold with a successful offensive campaign against New Bern (where they were engaged at Slocum's Creek) and in April, with the siege and capture of Beaufort. The expedition, however, came to a halt when the bloodiest days of the Peninsular Campaign made their presence in Virginia a necessity. In July, the majority of Burnside's forces were ordered to reinforce Fortress Monroe.
Life in the 4th Rhode Island was turbulent by any measure, and the officers in particular appear to have been wracked with dissention, and bickering and in-fighting among them was common. After a leave of absence in June and early July, Kent rejoined his regiment for a brief period in Virginia, but was discharged in September, 1862. His post-war activities are unknown.
Collection Scope and Content Note
Although Kent served for only one year during the Civil War, he left an outstanding account of his regiment's movements, battles, pastimes, entertainments, and lifestyle. A good writer and capable of holding forth for several pages on a single engry, Kent's journal virtually amounts to a regimental history. Of special interest is his reporting on the palace intrigue among the officers of the 4th Rhode Island.