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Civil War Diary: 'Seen Horrible Things' At Bull Run Battlefield

A photo of peter matthews and a quote from his diary

(Becca Costello, WFIU/WTIU News)

157 years ago, a Hoosier from Monroe County wrote about fighting for the Union in the Civil War in a diary he kept almost daily. Peter Thomas Matthews was 20 years old when he enlisted in the army and served as a drummer in the 19th Indiana Regimental Band. 

Follow along as we publish his diary entries in real-time on the day they were written. 

Read the first entry here. Learn more about Matthews and read all former and future entries here

Editor's note: We have left Matthews' words as he recorded them, which means spelling and punctuation may not conform to modern standards.

March 14, 1862

One of the Cols Boys went to manassus and brought back a Rebel majors Coat and uniform sash sword belt and some Posts stirrups (couped) & other notions Another brought a [illegible] Sack of Different kinds of clothes—willis Reid got a cravat gave him of a L[illegible] Zouave—Play for Battallion Drill had two rehearsals me and John Carter went to Buls Run Battle field went 26 miles there and back and did not start till late we got Back just at Dark [illegible] Seen Horrible things there the 14th Brooklin Boys was covering the Bones of there fellow soldiers of Regt the Zouaves the Rebels did not Burry there Bones was laying all around every were I saw were the [illegible] black horse Cavelry fell it was a heap of Bones and a great number of horses must of Perished saw the Rebels winter Quarters them were good I saw enough to satisfie me of the Southern Chivalry—marching Orders this evening but which way I Do not know

Check back for the next entry on March 15. 

Diary entries provided by the Monroe County History Center.

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