Brand

Basil H. Messler diary
1864-1865

MSS 132
1.5 linear inches



Name of Creator(s):

Messler, Basil H., 1834-1916.

Languages:

English

Access:

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Access points:

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
Soldiers--United States--Diaries.
United States. Army--Military life.

Finding aid prepared by:

Helen Reinold, 2010.

Repository:

Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201
309-794-7643
specialcollections@augustana.edu




Custodial History
Administrative History/Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Related Materials
Container List



CUSTODIAL HISTORY

Unknown

 

ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Basil H. Messler was born in 1834 in Dayton, Ohio. In 1852, when he was 18, he moved with his family to Canton, Illinois. He enlisted in the Union Army in 1864, at Fort McClellan in Davenport, Iowa. Messler served in the Mississippi Marine Brigade, which was commanded by Brigadier General Alfred W. Ellet. He saw action at Vicksburg several times. The Brigade was dissolved in August 1864, and Messler was reassigned as Commissary Sergeant of the First Battalion Calvary Regiment. He was later promoted to Corporal. After his discharge from the army, Messler married Mary J. Whitehall in 1866. He attended Lombard College and became a dentist, practicing in Canton, Illinois. Basil H. Messler died in 1916, at the age of 82.

Messler’s diary spans from late February 1864 to late January 1865. It mainly describes the non-combat life of Messler and his fellow soldiers. The Mississippi Marine Brigade patrolled the Mississippi River between Canton, Illinois, and Greenville, Mississippi, protecting local plantations from Confederate raids. Messler describes several raids and a battle. For the most part, however, he focuses on day-to-day events, including patrolling on the scout boat, picking berries, shooting cattle for meat, getting a haircut, visiting other regiments, celebrating President Lincoln’s reelection, and acting as a bodyguard for southern female college students.  

 
SCOPE AND CONTENT

The collection consists of Messler’s handwritten Civil War diary, a preservation photocopy and transcription of the diary, and biographical information on the Messler family.

 
SYSTEM OF ARRANGEMENT

The Title of Collection is/are arranged into the following series:

Series I. Civil War Diary, 1864-1865

This series contains Messler’s handwritten diary. It also includes photocopies and a transcription of the diary.

Series II. Biographical Information

This series contains biographical information about the Messler family, including Census data.

 

RELATED MATERIALS

MSS 314 Gould D. Molineaux diaries, 1861-1866
MSS 320 Barris Family papers, 1820-1901
See also http://www.augustana.edu/library/SpecialCollections/special/Messler/index1.html

 

CONTAINER LIST

BOX 1

Series I. Civil War Diary, 1864-1865
                Civil War Diary (February 1864-January 1865)
                Preservation copy, Civil War Diary (February 1864-January 1865)
                Transcription copy (February 1864-January 1865)

Series II. Biographical information
                Messler family biographical information (2 copies)

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