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Collection Title: McCollum (Duncan) Diary

Collection Number: M295

Dates: December 1864 to May 17, 1865

Volume: 1 Folder (40 pages)

Provenance: Donated by Joseph K. McCollum, Jr. to United States Representative William Colmer (D-Miss.)

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

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Duncan McCollum was born in Simpson County, Mississippi, on November 7, 1837. He graduated from the University of Mississippi at Oxford in 1861, and later that year joined a military company in Perry County. McCollum was officially mustered into the service of the State of Mississippi on December 5, 1861.

McCollum's unit later became part of the 4th Mississippi Cavalry, also referred to as Wilborn's Cavalry. During the Civil War, this unit was a part of the brigades of Logan, Griffin, Mabry, Wirt Adams, and Peter B. Starks. The 4th Mississippi Cavalry participated in all the skirmishes behind Port Hudson, Louisiana, and fought against Sherman in the Vicksburg to Meridian campaign. These troops also skirmished with General James B. McPherson's Army of Tennesse along the Big Black River, and the Noxubee River near Brownsville, Mississippi. After fighting around Oxford, the 4th Cavalry engaged Union troops in the battle of Tupelo, later participated in the raid with Nathan B. Forrest on Johnsonville, Tennessee, where they destroyed over one million dollars of enemy property and captured and sank three gunboats. The cavalry concluded its participation in the war with Forrest in his last campaign around Selma, Alabama. On May 13, 1865, the 4th Mississippi Cavalry was dissolved at Gainsville, Alabama, and McCollum travelled to his home in Mount Olive, Mississippi.

On February 26, 1868, McCollum married Mary Emmeline Hartwell, who bore him one child. McCollum served as a school teacher in Simpson County, Mississippi until his death on December 13, 1884.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a forty page typed diary written during the Civil War by Captain Duncan McCollum of Company A, 4th Mississippi Cavalry. Dating between December 1864 and May 17, 1865, McCollum details his activities in Alabama and Mississippi. Written chronologically, the diary follows a standard format of providing the date, where his unit was camped, the number of miles travelled, and the weather and road conditions. The daily entries are very narrow in scope and are usually only about twenty to thirty words in length. To aid the reader, several maps were added to the diary after McCollum's death by his descendants.

McCollum begins the diary in December 1864, when his unit marched over three-hundred miles from Brandon, Mississippi, to Buckatunna, Mississippi. From there, his company journeyed in four and a half months through the Mississippi towns of Enterprise, Meridian, Shubuta, Daleville, Summerville, Macon, Louisville, Edinburg, Carthage, Plattsburg, Sulphur Springs, Goodman, Shongalo, Emory, Lexington, Artesian Springs, Canton, Livingston, Madison Station, Clinton, and Hazelhurst. After crossing the Tombigbee River on pontoon bridges on February 23, 1865, McCollum camped at Pickensville, Alabama. After Pickensville, the cavalry travelled through the Alabama towns of Clinton and Eutaw; crossed the Black Warrior River; continued to Greensboro, Perryville, Randolph, and Selma; then returned to Mississippi. On May 6, 1865, McCollum learned that the Confederates had surrendered to Union General Richard Taylor at Citronelle, Alabama. On May 13, the 4th Mississippi Cavalry dissolved and McCollum returned to his home in Mount Olive, Mississippi.

At the back of the diary are copies of several letters and lists that McCollum wrote concerning his tenure in the army. The letters deal with requests for leaves of absences from the army and the lists detail the men who served in his company. The last part of the diary consists of bibliographical references and notes included by McCollum's descendants that place the 4th Mississippi Cavalry's activities in the overall context of the war in the southeastern theater. The notes provide a detailed breakdown of the captains of the 4th regiment.

This collection is valuable to any researcher looking for a day-to-day account of troop movements in the Civil War.

Related Collection:

Davis (Captain William Van) Diary, M 280

Pitts (Jack E.) Account of Stuart's Raid, M 279

Shreve (William Price) Papers, M 29


A published copy of The Diary of Captain Duncan McCollum, Co. A, 4th Mississippi Cavalry 1865 by J.K. McCollum, Sr. and J.K. McCollum, Jr. (San Bernardino, Calif.: J.K. McCollum Sr. and Jr., 1964) is available in the McCain Library, call number E568.6 4th .M3 1964x.

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