Charles E. Shryock journal  1861-1862
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Charles E. Shryock journal (62 pages) contains entries on Shryock's experiences as a colonel in the 51st Regiment of the Virginia Militia during the first year of the Civil War. Shryock described camp life, related the regiment's movements, and reported war news from other units stationed in northern Virginia. He began his journal on September 17, 1861, with a summary of his experiences since July 3, 1861, when his regiment was mustered in for service in the Confederate Army. The remainder of the volume, entitled "Brief notes on the life and experience of a soldier," covers September 6, 1861-January 16, 1862, through a series of nearly daily journal entries that provide updates on his regiment's locations and experiences just south of the Potomac River. Though Shryock focused primarily on facts, he occasionally offered his opinions on the war, and predicted that future historians would glorify the Battle of Manassas, "the effect of which, will be felt till the 'crack of doom' by every vendor of wooden nutmegs north of Dixie" (September 17, 1861). Other entries center on news of Confederate and "Yankee" troop movements in northern Virginia, where the 51st Virginia Militia was stationed, and document the day to day existence of southern soldiers early in the war. Shryock occasionally reported recent skirmishes and "the Enemy's" movements, and kept detailed notes on the location of his own unit. Of particular interest are Shryock's notes on a meeting with the Union Army near "Dam No. 4" on September 26, 1861; he described the skirmish in great detail, explaining how the weather conditions negatively affected their cannons; the attempt ultimately failed, and Shyrock and his unit were not able to destroy the canal as planned.

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