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Civil War Diary: 'Washington Birth Day'

A photo of peter matthew's diary with a quote

(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.

February 22, 1862

Washington Birth Day at early dawn from afar and near—cannonading and musketry could be heard firing Salute to the honor of the father of his country” and It was kept up all after noon even Fort Craig [illegible] in—At Eleven Oclock Gen Kings Brigade assembled at his head Quarters Capt  Robertson Brigade Qr Ma read Washington Farewell Address in Compli[illegible] with orders from the President commanding that it should be read today at Every military Post—after the 2nd wis Band Played National Airs—then the Regt fired several rounds of Blank cartridges here an accident happened a member of the 2nd wis shot his [illegible] which entered the calf of the leg of one of the 7th wis making quite an ugly wound the Surgeon who were present took him in hands Immediately and cared for him properly More rain this afternoon and night (R[illegible])

Check back for the next entry on February 24. 

Diary entries provided by the Monroe County History Center.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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