Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John E. Essick Journal, 1861

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, May 1996

Summary Information
Title: John E. Essick journal
Creator: Essick, John E.
Inclusive dates: 1861
Extent: 1 volume
Essick's diary details his activities with the 4th Pennsylvania Infantry in and around Washington, DC, particularly drills, parades, and the doldrums of camp life and army food.
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:

1980. M-1898.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

John E. Essick Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Essick, John E.

Rank : Pvt.

Regiment : 4th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Co. B (1861)

Service : 1861 April 20-July 27

The 4th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment was recruited in mid-April, 1861, in response to the secession crisis and bombardment of Fort Sumter. Originating in the 1st Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division of the State Militia, it consisted of six companies raised in Norristown, Montgomery County. Among its recruits was John E. Essick of Norristown, Pa., who enlisted for three months duty.

The 4th Pennsylvania Infantry was one of the earliest northern regiments to enter Maryland, taking possession of Perryville, Md., on April 21st, and moving on to Annapolis the next day and to Washington, D.C., on May 8. The regiment had been rushed into service with such alacrity that they did not even receive uniforms or proper equipment until well into June. Like many of the soldiers in the regiment, Essick was stricken with illness under the poor camp conditions, and spent four weeks of his short enlistment on the sick list.

The regiment served for the remainder of its enlistment in the vicinity of Washington, quartered at first in the city, and later in Bladensburg, Alexandria, and on Shuter's Hill. On June 30, they experienced their only engagement when three pickets of the 4th confronted a small party of Confederates. All three suffered injuries, one man dying of his wounds.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Essick's diary details his activities with the 4th Pennsylvania Infantry during the regiment's entire three month service, expect for the four weeks when Essick was ill. The 4th Pennsylvania saw little action and Essick's diary focuses on drills, parades, and the doldrums of camp life and army food. A continuing thread of the diary is the topic of uniforms, including descriptions of the efforts undertaken to provide uniforms to the troops of the 4th Pennsylvania Infantry.

Subject Terms

    • United States. Army--Uniforms.
    • United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 4th (1861)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Washington (D.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    John E. Essick journal,  1861 April 20-July 25 [series]