Andrew McConnell Collection

Call Number:   MS-12

Name:  An Inventory of the Lieutenant Andrew McConnell Diary, held in the Valdosta State University Archives.

Dates:  1861-1865

Size: 1 box; 2 items

Biography:

Andrew Jackson McConnell, Jr. (Feb. 14, 1838 –July 30, 1864) was the son of Andrew Jackson and Elizabeth Dawkins McConnell.  He was one of seven children in the family.  The McConnell home was in Northwestern Fairfield County, South Carolina.  McConnell lived in a house on land he inherited from his father when he died in 1855.  He also farmed the inherited land.  In 1857, he married Sally Amanda Coleman.  They lost an infant.  McConnell was involved in the military training company, called the Buckhead Guards, with a number of men from upper Fairfield County.  When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted with the South Carolina Volunteers in Company D, 17th Regiment.  He witnessed the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the aftermath of the Battle of First Manassas, was wounded at the Battle of Second Manassas, and was deployed near Vicksburg shortly before it fell.  He was killed at the Battle of Petersburg on July 30, 1864.  He was initially buried near the battlefield, but was eventually sent back to Fairfield County, where he was buried next to his wife and child in Coleman graveyard.  Immediately following his death, his brother-in-law, John Albert Feaster Coleman began writing in McConnell’s diary until the end of the war.

Scope and Content:

The diary was written in pocket-sized editions and each was sent home after it was completed.  The collection in the Valdosta State Archives has two folders, each containing an identical copy of the McConnell diary.  The diary is divided into five volumes, the last of which was written by John Albert Feaster Coleman after McConnell died.  Kathleen and Mary Bess Coleman and Julia and Mary Faucette owned four of the original volumes of the diary.  Donald Clayton owned one book, which he found in the attic of the old Jacob Feaster house.  The five volumes of the diary each contain different types of information.

Volume 1:  This includes the very first writings of McConnell’s diary.  It begins at Fort Pickens on May 8, 1861.  It has descriptions of furloughs home as well as the time he spent at Camp Woodward, Wilmington, and Weldon.  McConnell also writes of going to Petersburg for the first time, followed by Richmond.  After Richmond, he arrived around Manassas just after the Battle of First Manassas had been fought.  He describes the carnage and the number of wounded men he witnessed after he stepped foot on his first battlefield.  This volume contains McConnell’s first impression of military life, as well as his observations on day-to-day activities and the interactions of the troops.  He also writes a good deal about his personal life, such as his romantic relationship with Susan Arnett.  His last entry into this volume is on August 16, 1861 at Camp Petters.

Volume 2:  This volume begins on December 5, 1862.  There is no explanation for the large amount of time that was not documented.  During that time, McConnell was wounded at the Battle of Second Manassas.  He was also sent home after his term of service was over, only to reenlist shortly afterwards.  At the beginning of volume two, McConnell is traveling from home to Camp Hagood, near Kinston, NC, where Confederate forces engaged the enemy shortly afterward.  He also witnessed an engagement at Falling Creek.  As McConnell traveled to many different camps located around North Carolina, it is easy to see that he matured as a soldier a great deal since his last installment.  He also writes of his experiences during the arrest of Colonel McMaster by General Evans.  This volume ends at Camp Benbo on March 3, 1863.

Volume 3:  This volume begins at Camp Benbo on March 4, 1863.   McConnell camped in various parts of North and South Carolina, and went home on furlough before learning that his unit was to travel to Mississippi to assist in the defense of Vicksburg.  When he left for Vicksburg, he traveled through Augusta and West Point, GA.  He then entered Alabama and traveled through Montgomery and Selma.  He finally arrived at Demopolis and then disembarked in Meridian, Mississippi.  While traveling to Mississippi, McConnell commented on the positive receptions he got from the people of Georgia and Alabama, as well as the good farmland.  He spent most of his time in Mississippi camped around Jackson, and though he did not enter Vicksburg, he was involved in the defense of Jackson.  This volume ends at Camp “Poison Oak” on July 31, 1863.

Volume 4:  This volume begins at Secessionville, SC on November 8, 1863.  He goes to Fort Sumter two days after this volume begins, and is shelled by the enemy on the way there.  McConnell describes the destruction and carnage that had taken place at Fort Sumter.  He provides day-by-day accounts of the continuous shelling on the Fort, and gives then number of shells that were fired each day, and the number that hit or missed.  He returned to Secessionville, where he received news of General Bragg falling back to Chickamauga, GA.  He traveled to Sullivan’s Island, and from there, he went home on furlough.  He came back to Sullivan’s Island and celebrated his 26th birthday.  He eventually ended up in Green Pond, SC, where this volume ends on April 1, 1864.

Volume 5:  This volume begins on July 31, 1864, the day after McConnell was killed.  It is written by John Albert Feaster Coleman, his brother-in-law, who served close to McConnell throughout the war.  It begins in the trenches around Petersburg, VA.  Coleman reports heavy fighting that takes place sporadically around the area.  He also expresses his reactions to hearing the news of the fall of Atlanta, the re-election of President Lincoln, and the besieging of Savannah.  He goes home on a 21-day furlough and arrives back at camp on January 18, 1865.  After being sick for nine days, he hears news of General Sherman capturing Columbia, SC.  This causes him anxiety over his family, and the fact is exaggerated because he is not able to receive any communication from his family.  He went into battle around Petersburg on March 25, 1865, and ends up in full retreat toward Lynchburg on April 2, 1865.  He also mentions the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.  He arrived home on April, 22, 1865 to find his family intact.

Subject Headings:

Andrew McConnell, Jr. 

John A.F. Coleman

Buckhead Guards 

South Carolina Volunteers

Fort Sumter

General Dunnovant

Camp Woodward

Summerville

Petersburg

Richmond 

First Manassas

Second Manassas

General Beauregard

Camp Petters

Camp Hagood

Fort Pickens          

Kinston

Falling Creek

Colonel F.W. McMaster

General Evans

Battle of Tull’s Field

General Feaster

Fort Magruder

Camp Kershaw

Camp Benbo

Camp Whitney

Camp Whiting

Camp Jenkins

Vicksburg

General Joseph E. Johnson

General Breckenridge

Camp Johnson

General French

Jackson, Mississippi

Susan Arnett

Pine Grove

Major Elliot

Secessionville

Dr. R.W. Coleman

Fort Johnson

Abraham Lincoln

Jefferson Davis

Inventory:

The box contains the following parts:

Box 1:  Diary (5 volumes)

[Folder 1] Diary of Lieutenant Andrew McConnell, Jr. (148 pages total)

Volume 1 – May 8, 1861-August 16, 1861 (30 pages)

May 8-25, 1861 – At Fort Pickens

May 25-June 6, 1861 – Furlough home

June 6, 1861 – Arrived at Summerville

June 7-July 1, 1861 – At Camp Woodward

June 16, 1861 – Spent night at Charleston Hotel

July 2-15, 1861 – Furlough home

July 15, 1861 – En route to Virginia

July 16, 1861 – At Wilmington

July 17, 1861 – At Weldon

July 17, 1861 – At Petersburg

July 18-21, 1861 – At Richmond

July 21, 1861 – Battle of First Manassas

July 21-28, 1861 – Around Manassas

July 29-August 16, 1861 – At Camp Petters

Volume 2 – December 5, 1862-March 3,1863 (19 pages)

December 5-7, 1862 – Traveling from home to Camp Hagood, near Kinston, NC

December 14, 1862 – Confederate forces engaged enemy near Kinston

December 15, 1862 – Engagement on Falling Creek

December 16, 1862 – Arrived at Goldsboro, NC

December 16-20, 1862 – Stayed around Goldsboro, waiting to engage the enemy

December 21, 1862 – At camp on the Neuse River

December 22, 1862 – At camp near Kinston

December 22-29, 1862 – Camped at various spots around Kinston

December 29-31, 1862 – Bivouacked at Fort Magruder

January 1-31, 1862 – At Camp Kershaw

February 1-3, 1863 – At Camp G.N.C.

February 4-6, 1863 – Went to Captain Crawford’s camp on picket

February 7, 1863 – Left for Wilmington

February 8-15, 1863 – Camped around Wilmington

February 14, 1863 – Celebrated 25th birthday

February 15-24, 1863 – At Camp Jenkins

February 25, 1863 – Marched toward Wilmington

February 27-March 3, 1863 – At Camp Benbo, 4 miles south of Wilmington

Volume 3 – March 4, 1863-July 31, 1863 (44 pages)

March 4-18, 1863 – At Camp Benbow, NC

March 18, 1863 – Left Camp Benbow

March 19, 1863 – Camped within 2 miles of Wilmington

March 20, 1863 – Bivouacked near Northeast Railroad Bridge

March 21-26, 1863 – At Camp Whitney

March 27-April 11, 1863 – At Camp Whiting

April 12-21, 1863 – At Camp Jenkins

April 21, 1863 – Left for home on furlough

April 22, 1863 – Reached Kingsville then went to Winnsborough

April 24, 1863 – Left Winnsborough for home

April 24, 1863 – Arrived home

April 24-May 8, 1863 – At home

May 9, 1863 – Arrived at Charleston

May 10, 1863 – Left Charleston

May 10-15, 1863 – Camped at Secessionville, James Island

May 11, 1863 – Found out that Brigade was ordered to Vicksburg

May 16, 1863 – Left for Charleston

May 17, 1863 – At Augusta, GA

May 18, 1863 – Arrived at West Point, GA, Montgomery, AL, then Selma, AL

May 19, 1863 – Left Selma, arrived at Demopolis, and finally disembarked at Meridian, Mississippi.  Bivouacked near Tombigbee River

May 20, 1863 – Bivouacked at McDowell Station

May 21-22, 1863 – Camped around Meridian, Mississippi

May 23-June 8, 1863 – Camped around Jackson

June 4, 1863 – Hears heavy cannonading in the direction of Vicksburg

June 9-23, 1863 – At Camp Johnson

June 24, 1863 – Bivouacked within 7 miles of the Big Black River

June 25-26, 1863 – Bivouacked 5 miles west of Livingston, Mississippi

June 27-29, 1863 – Bivouacked 5 miles west of Vernon, Mississippi

June 30-July 2, 1863 – Camped on the Livingston Road

July 3-5, 1863 – Camped near farm of Mr. Birdsong

July 6, 1863 – Hears of the surrender of Vicksburg, camped near Clinton

July 7, 1863 – Marched toward Jackson

July 9, 1863 – Took position behind entrenchments for the defense of Jackson

July 10-13, 1863 – Engaged with enemy

July 14, 1863 – Relieved by the 23rd Regiment

July 17, 1863 – Whole army evacuated Jackson

July 18-28, 1863 – Camped in areas around Jackson

July 29-31, 1863 – At Camp “Poison Oak”

Volume 4 – November 8, 1863-April 1, 1864 (33 pages)

November 8-10, 1863 – At Secessionville, SC

November 11-22, 1863 – At Fort Sumter

November 23-30, 1863 – At Secessionville, James Island, SC

November 27, 1863 – Read news of General Bragg falling back to Chickamauga

December 1-19, 1863 – At Sullivan’s Island, SC

December 20-21, 1863 – Went to Charleston

December 22, 1863-January 25, 1864 – Back on Sullivan’s Island

January 25, 1864 – Left for home on furlough

January 27- February 7, 1864 – At home

February 8, 1864 – Left home

February 9, 1864 – Reached Columbia, SC

February 10-12, 1864 – Back on Sullivan’s Island

February 13, 1864 – At James Island, SC

February 14, 1864 – At Sullivan’s Island, celebrated 26th birthday

February 15-16, 1864 – At Mt. Pleasant, SC

February 17-21, 1864 – At Savannah Dept., SC

February 22-March 15, 1864 – At Green Pond, SC

March 16-17, 1864 – At Stock’s Causeway

March 18-April 1, 1864 – At Green Pong, SC

Volume 5 – August 3, 1864-April 9, 1865 (22 pages) written by John A.F. Coleman

July 31-December 22, 1864 – In trenches around Petersburg, VA

July 31, 1864 – McConnell was buried

August 25, 1864 – Heavy fight on Weldon Railroad near Rearns Station

September 5, 1864 – Heard news of the fall of Atlanta

November 8, 1864 – Speaks of the re-election of Lincoln

November 16, 1864 – Learns of the re-election

December 19, 1864 – Learns of General Sherman besieging Savannah

December 23, 1864 – Left home on furlough, got to Burkesville

December 24, 1864 – Arrived in Danville

December 25, 1864 – Arrived in Charlotte

December 26, 1864 – Arrived home

December 26, 1864-January 12, 1865 – At home

January 18, 1865 – Arrived back at camp

January 22-31, 1865 – Sick, didn’t write in journal

February 19, 1865 – Heard of General Sherman capturing Columbia, SC

March 15, 1865 – Whole Division moves to the south side of Hatcher’s Row

March 24, 1865 – Brigade ordered to Petersburg

March 25, 1865 – Went into battle

March 29, 1865 – Moved in the direction of Dunwiddle Court House

April 1, 1865 – Returned to Five Forks

April 2, 1865 – Full retreat towards Lynchburg

April 9, 1865 – Surrender at Appomattox Court House

April 12, 1865 – Started home

April 22, 1865 – Arrived home

Processing Date: Processed by Kyle Kornegay