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Charles James Drew Civil War Diary, 1861-1864

Charles James Drew Civil War Diary, 1861-1864

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Charles James Drew Civil War Diary, 1861-1864 UALR.MS.0246

UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
401 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR, 72201

Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2015-06-03T10:02-0500

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Charles James Drew Civil War Diary, 1861-1864
Dates: 1861-1864
Quantity: 1.0 items; one flat box
Identification: UALR.MS.0246

Arrangement note

By date.

Scope and Content

This diary contains entries written by Charles J. Drew, who enlisted in the Union navy in the fall of 1861 and served on ships patrolling the Missisippi River during the Civil War.

Diary entries for 1861 October discuss Drew meeting William D. Porter and the exploits of Confederate guerrilla leader M. Jeff Thompson in Missouri. Drew also mentions the first death he saw: a man who had drowned. In November, Drew mentions the building of the first ironclads. In December, Drew writes of a man getting into trouble for writing a letter home to his family in Chicago that discusses demoralization in the navy.

Entries for 1862 September-November mention foraging in the Vicksburg area and descriptions of men's appearance after so much campaigning and Drew's attitudes toward African Americans. An entry for November 1862 discusses slaves escaping to Union lines. Drew also writes about a Confederate deserter.

Entries for January 1863 discuss encounters with African Americans, the battle of Galveston and Union men's attitudes toward the war and the effort to free the slaves. Entries also discuss Confederate torpedoes, an African American regiment, and Confederate marksmanship. Entries for February 1863 discuss an African American man giving the Union navy information about mines in the Mississippi River.

Entries for 1864 January-March include discussion of the cold weather in Louisiana, celebration of George Washington's birthday, and the Red River campaign. Entries for March include discussion of sailors on the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana. Drew also mentions the capture of Confederates, who then took an oath of allegiance to the United States; the Confederates having plenty to eat; African American troops plundering local citizens; desertion and guerrillas; the hanging of a cotton speculator; and military actions around Shreveport.

The diary contains no entries after 1864 March.

Biographical Note

Charles James Drew was born 1836 June 15 in Bristol, Connecticut, the son of Edwin Starr (1804-1886), a native of New Jersey and Permilia Rockwell Drew (1800?-1872), a native of Connecticut. By 1861 September, he had moved to Chicago, where he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served on the war ships New Era and Essex, taking part in many of the naval battles along the Mississippi River during the Civil War. In the fall of 1864, he received an honorable discharge from the service.

In 1867, Drew moved to Junction City, Kansas. In 1871, he marrried Emma M. Bouton, a native of New York. The couple had two children: Mary (b. 1874) and Charles Henry (b. 1877). Mary did not live to adulthood. Drew worked as a stone mason and grocerer and was active in the Grand Army of the Republic. He was elected Mayor of Topeka in 1899 and served until the next year. Drew died 1916 January 6. Mary lived until 1934.

Arkansas (Ironclad ram).
Baton Rouge (La.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Desertion, military--Confederate States of America
Desertion, military--United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Drew, Charles James, 1836-1916
Essex (Gunboat).
Galveston (Tex.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Jackson (Miss.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Louisiana--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Mississippi River Valley--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations
New Era (Gunboat).
Port Hudson (La.)--History--Siege, 1863.
Porter, William David, 1809-1864
Red River Expedition, 1864.
Thompson, Meriwether Jeff, 1826-1876
United States. Navy--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African American troops
Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.

Conditions Governing Use note

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17-U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this material is liable for any infringement.

Copyright for correspondence in the collections belongs to those correspondents or their beneficiaries. Persons wanting to re-use those materials are advised to obtain permission from copyright holders.

Administrative Information

Citation Notes

Bibliographic citation:

Charles James Drew Civil War Diary, 1861-1864, UALR.MS.0246. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Date of diary entry, Charles James Drew Civil War Diary, 1861-1864, UALR.MS.0246.

Related Material

Emma and Charles J. Drew Papers, Manuscripts Collection 332, Kansas Historical Society, Topeka

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