The Diaries of Gould D. Molineaux

Molineaux portrait

Photo of Gould D. Molineaux, date unknown

Gould D. Molineaux (1835?-1883) was a clerk and bookkeeper by trade and served as a corporal, and later sergeant, in Company E of the 8th Illinois volunteer infantry. He fought in the Civil War from early June 1861 until the war's conclusion; his diary entries continue through May 16, 1866. There are conflicting sources in regard to Molineaux's age when he begins his diaries. A Peoria census taken in 1860, one year prior to first diary entry, suggests that he was 24 at the time of his first entry. Molineaux himself claims to be 27 in an entry on his birthday, February 22nd, 1862, leaving a one-year discrepancy in comparison with the census.

Throughout the diaries, Molineaux often refers to loved ones in his hometown of Peoria, Illinois, including his mother, Eveline Keyon; stepfather, Lewis Keyon; sister Phoebe ("Phebe") and her husband George F. Laubach (sometimes referred to as "G.F.L.").

Molineaux participated in a number of important battles including the Vicksburg Campaign; his entries during this battle were used as source material for In Their Own Words, a 2001 book by Rebecca Blackwell Drake about the May 1863 confrontation compiled through various soldiers' first-hand accounts. From 1865 onward he was stationed in Mobile, Alabama. While Molineaux's earlier entries are intense and action oriented, describing moments of combat, the maneuvers of "the rebels," or listing the wounds of friends and fellow soldiers, his later entries are more likely to detail office reports and stock lists as well as the occasional mention of "exploding shells." Though all the diary entries show evidence of struggle, the later entries are more apt to talk of visits to restaurants, the theater, and even church.

Molineaux died in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1883 at the age of 48 and is buried in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria.




The diary pages below were transcribed by Social Studies Students at Rock Island High School.