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Collection Title: Lewis (John South) Civil War Diary

Accession Number: AM03-34

Dates: February 9 - June 8, 1864

Volume: 1 item

Given By: Mr. John South Lewis (great-great grandson of the author of the diary)

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

A twenty-four page typescript of a diary kept by Captain John South "Bud" Lewis during the American Civil War from February 9 - June 8, 1864. Captain Lewis, along with his two brothers, Harry and Fletcher, served with the 16th Mississippi Infantry, Co. K (Wilkinson Rifles). The 16th Mississippi served with Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign (1862); saw action at Fredericksburg (1862); and participated in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg (1863). The 16th was also at Spotsylvania in 1864, and with Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox in 1865. John South Lewis suffered a wound to his foot in the Battle of Gettysburg and a shoulder wound at Spotsylvania. His brother, Harry, was killed on June 9, 1864, near Richmond.

As the diary begins, the author is apparently returning to the army after a furlough, but most of the events recorded therein take place in Virginia, and among the places mentioned are Clark's Mountain, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. The battles at Spotsylvania (May 1864) and Cold Harbor (June 1864) are covered in some detail. Letters written by John South Lewis and his brothers are featured in The 16th Mississippi Infantry, Civil War Letters and Reminiscences, compiled and edited by Robert G. Evans (2002). The Papers of Harry Lewis are housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

John South Lewis was born December 28, 1837, in Woodville, Mississippi. He attended prep school in Maine and studied law at the University of Virginia. After the war, he returned to Woodville and purchased the local newspaper, The Woodville Republican, which is now the oldest continuous newspaper in Mississippi. He married Mary Lawton Gildart, and they had three children. At the time of his death on September 9, 1900, Captain Lewis was editor of The Woodville Republican. The paper is still owned and operated by his descendants.

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