"While In The Servis"

Leonard Pierpont

Company K, 76th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Submitted by Chandice Johnson, who transcribed it from the original.

While In The Servis

Leonard Pierpont, Paxton, Ford County, Illinois

Company K, Seventy Sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry
August 13, 1862 July 17, 1865

The Civil War Diary of Leonard Pierpont 1862 1865

Samuel LeFevre and Leonard Pierpont New Orleans 1865

Edited by Chandice M. Johnson, Jr. 1988

Copyright 1988 by Karen Reed and Chandice Johnson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photographing, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Karen Reed and Chandice Johnson.


Leonard Pierpont was born May 1, 1842. After enlisting in the Seventy Sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry on August 13, 1862, he served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Texas. He was promoted to Corporal September 1, 1864. At the end of the war, the 76th was transferred to Galveston, Texas, where Leonard died on July 17, 1865 shortly before his regiment was scheduled to leave for Illinois.

From the time he entered the service until he became too ill to write, Leonard kept a diary. This diary, which he refers to as his "camp life," is now preserved in four notebooks bearing the handwritten title, "While in the Servis," and a small pocket diary. The notebooks cover the years 1862, 1863, and 1864 and may be transcriptions of the original. According to an inscription in the pocket diary, it was purchased in Memphis in January, 1865. The last entry was made on July 10, 1865, seven days before Leonard's death. The handwriting is undoubtedly his.

In editing the diary, I have attempted to preserve the original spelling and punctuation, except in instances where some corrections are necessary to make the text readable. I have also tried to limit the amount of annotation. When necessary, I have added notes, which are in bold type, either in brackets or set off from the text. Since the pocket diary is different from the rest of the diary, I have used a different format for the entries for 1865.

I have also added an appendix to provide the historical context for the diary. This appendix includes a history of the 76th and the official reports of the major battles and campaigns in which Leonard was involved. There are also copies of Leonard's own note's on recruits, desertions, and casualties. These were found with .the diary. A Pierpont genealogy and an anonymous essay, "My Ancestor," have also been included in the Appendix.


While in the Servis

Travels begining Aug 13th 1862

13th Started from Paxton [Illinois] to Kankakee then went to the camp ground & then back to town & slept in the court house

14th Went to camp & fooled around all day & at night joined Capt Davis Co

15th drawed our pants and shirts

16th drawed caps blouses & shoes

17th did nothing

18th the same a[s] yesterday

19th Herd from head quarters that we must pack up for Cairo to start to morrow morning

20th Got mustered into the servis at night Sam [Samuel J. LeFevre] and I got a furlough for 24 hours & then went home

21st Started back to Kankakee at 11 oclock at night & and it was dark as tar

22nd Got back this morning & twenty of us got old muskets of which I was one & we had to clean them up & then sined the muster roll

23rd Got $10. for the days work

24th Got the rest of our money & at night I went to Paxton got there at midni ght

25th The Reg't came down from Kankakee & got on the cars at 11 oclock to go south, stop at Urbana for dinner eat supper at Centrailia run over a man in Co D and killed him read all night

26th Stop to water & let a train pass & then we made our first charge it was on a peach orchard and we gained the day & arrived in Cairo about 10 oclock & went to the barracks & it was very hot about 4 ociock we got on the boat & went to Columbus [Kentucky] got there little after sun down went off the boat & made a fire by a log & got a lot of hay that was bailed up & we tore it a part & lay on it till morning

27th Got up this morning after a good nights rest went up on the bluff to camp put up our tents in a very good place to camp on the same place where the rebs [were]

28th We went out & drilled & then to the river in swimming the Col read the orders

29th I am detailed on guard & some of the boys went out to an orchard & made some cider within a little ways of the house

30th Drawed canteens knapsacks & haversacks I wrote a letter home

31st Lay around camp till about sun down when we went on dress parrade & then went to meeting


1st Formed in line & drilled two hours then I got a pass & went down town &at night there was a nigger dance in camp by the Contrabands [i.e. freed slaves a term used by Northern armies during the War] some Contrabands came in to day & there master came after them & ofrrd two men $100.00 to get them out side of the picket but the Col put the men in the guard house

2nd Some of our mess that was out on picket brought in a pork that they had pressed into the servis & I wrote a letter for B. E. Newlin

3rd Yesterday some of the boys went out after wood & came back with each a pole with a quarter of beef on it that weighed about 400 lbs we had some for breakfast & then we went on drill

4th This morning I was detailed to go to town to unload our guns but they had not come so we loaded the wagons with rations & the word was that the guns would come 2 oclock so we went down in the afternoon & and got them, did not get to camp till dark B E Newlin was on guard & aimed at a nigger not knowing his gun was loaded & shot at him but did not hit

5th I had to help clean up the ground around the tents S J LeFevre is not a feeling very well & that is my fix & we got our guns this afternoon

6th We have been rubing up our guns this morning go on dress parade for the first time & the Col give orders for the boys to go to the river Wednesday & Saturday night & wash there clothes

7th This morning it is a raining but it cleared off & was pleasent & there was preaching in the forenoon I cut Sams hair & wrote a letter home to Sher & preaching at night & it began to rain as we were going to bed

8th This morning it is a raining & it rained all night I wrote two letters for B E Newlin & then went on guard

9th I have got in from on guard & I went down town & some of the boys went after Apples

10th The Cal sent out two or three Companies on fatigued duty for geting beef & I went down to the river to wash my clothes

11th All the co's that was not on guard had to go & help clear of[f] some ground to move camp onto about half a mile from the other I got a letter from Father & one from Walter it rained in the afternoon so we quit work for a while

12th We moved over to our new Camp & I wrote a letter to Walter & then went down town

13th To day I am on post guard till tomorrow morning

14th Got back from on guard this morning & then wrote a letter to Father

15th Went out to the pickets to take Sam LeFevre his dinner & Joseph Kinnan & Lorenzo H[ ] went with me & we got a pork & carried it into camp

16th This morning I am detailed for camp guard

17th Came off of guard this morning & it has rained a good deal of the day & pretty hard at that, & Adam Hony was out on picket last night & he thought he saw a woman a coming & he told her to hault & she did not & so he shot and killed her but it turned out to be a hog instead of a woman

18th Went out to give the pickets there dinner Sam Le Fever J Kinnan & i I Thime C?] were on picket B Newlin went with me we went out to an orchard and got all the apples and paupaus we could carry to camp

19th There was one of the boys of the Reg't got shot through the hand last night while on guard & I wrote a letter for B Newlin this morning

20th I received a letter from Eb Smith

21st Went on camp guard this morn

22nd Last night there was a man shot himself through both hands taking two fingers, & two boys & myself run the camp guard & went three miles after Paupaus & persimmons & apples at night I very tired

23rd Went out & drilled in the Manuel of Arms & the Col went & got seven men that run the guard & put them in the guard house

24th [Can't decipher.]

25th Got a letter from Father & two boys & myself went after broom sticks to make brooms of & we got some Apples & there was quite an excitement in town there was a fire broke out in the Armory but did not damage much as they got it put out

26th detailed on camp guard

27th Got a letter from Walter & went down town to the river

28th We were called out to examine all our things then I wrote a letter to Father & one to Walter & I help J Kinnan to the Hospital then I went to meeting & herd a first rate sermon

29th I went on picket & from there I went with another boy & came a cross some sheep & we could not keep our hands off of them so we got one of them & brought it to the others & we lived high while we were on picket we got some sweet potatoes

30th Before we came off of picket we went & got another sheep which we carried into camp


1st I went with some others for a funeral for a boy in the 13th Ills Reg't that died in the Post Hospital

2nd Last night Sam Le Fever went & set up with J. Kinnan half of the night & I went the other half

3rd Went down to the river & washed my clothes

4th This morning Co K was detailed for Post duty & went to town at noon the Reg't got marching orders for Jackson, Tenn. we went back and pack up & then got on the cars & went to Jackson got there at ten oclock at night we got off & went out of town & lay down till morn

5th We are lying around on the ground waiting for further orders at noon we got orders to get on the cars & go to Bolivar got there after dark marched to a grove & lay down for the night & there was an alarm in the night some one had seen a man a little ways from there lying down they thought it was a spy & they got several boys & went to capture it & when they got it it was a dead mule

6th We set up Camp & I wrote a letter home & then Co K got orders to go out some where on guard

7th We went out to guard the railroad up from town to keep it from being torn up

8th At night we got orders to come to camp for the Reg't had marching orders we got to camp at 11 and the orders was countermanded

9th Washed my Clothes & saw Wm Moore from Paxton that are in Boltons Battry

10th I had to go on guard & it rained & was very cold

11th I help move Higgins to the Hospital & I received & I went to town got bottle of ink

12th I am on guard to keep Government Mules in the lot & I have a horse to ride I was relieved so I did not have to stand at night & they had brigade inspections

13th I wrote a letter to E G Smith & I wrote one for Higgins then I went & help fix a place for some boys that had the measeis & then help move them (the place was up town)

14th I stayed at the Hospital last night & came to the camp about noon & I got a letter from Sher. & answered it 'J Kinnan came from Columbus

15th I was detailed to guard the comisary

16th I help move Sam Dale to the measels Hospital in town

17th I help clean up camp ground & I got a letter from Walter

18th I wrote a letter for B Newlin & at night I was detail on guard to guard the Corrill at night
19th Had inspection then wrote a letter to Walter & then one to Nash

20th There was a frost this morning for the first time this fall

21st I went out a forageing got a load of corn there was about 20 boys

22nd I wrote two letters for B Newlin

23rd I was detailed for camp guard & got

24th There was thirty prisoners taken & a wagon load of Arms

25th We built a stove out of brick in the tent & when we got it done it was snowing like every thing

26th I wrote a letter to Father & got one from him & then went & help through up entrenchments


28th There is quite a stir about enlisting regular Soldiers

29th We drawed light blue pants

30th The Reg't went out to guard a forage train went about 13 miles & got back after night I got

31st We cleaned up camp & at C?] oclock we mustered for pay & at 1 oclock we went on General Review


1st This is wash day & I wrote a letter C. Todd

2nd Had inspections & at night we got marching orders

3rd We got up at three oclock & started on a march at 8 o'clock went about 15 miles & stop at 3 oclock for the night I had to stand guard that night

4th Started this morning marched about 15 miles & stop about a mile the other side of La Grange at 3 oclock

5th We did not march & the boys pressed plenty of Beef & Pork some Blistered there feet pretty bad marching we were a dusty set of boys when we got there there is three Co detailed for picket

6th This afternoon we marched about 9 miles & back again & the teams came up with provision & the tents

7th We put up the tents

8th We marched about 12 miles & stop for the night the Major pressed a 4 mule team to carry our C?]

9th We started back this afternoon got back after dark & there was a letter from Walter

10th I washed then got then wrote a letter to Walter & wrote one to Father

11th The Regt is on picket & the sick came up from Bolivar

12th Last night it rained & is cloudy today

13th I washed my clothes

14th We drawed dress coats

15th I put side pockets in my coat & cut Smiths hair

16th We had inspections at night I went to help dig a grave for A Russel

17th The Reg't went out on picket & I went for a funeral escort to bury A Russel & then went on picket & it rained last night & some to day

18th Got a letter from Father & I wrote a letter to R S Chamberlin

19th It rained last night but cleared off this morning & is very windy

20th I help clean up camp ground

21st This is Whiskey day

22nd I got C?] and wrote a letter to Father

23rd Went on General review Gen'l McPherson review us. the Reg't went on picket at noon

24th I washed my Clothes & got a letter from Sherman

25th I got a letter from Walter & then went out on review & Gen'l Grant review us

26th I wrote a letter to Walter

27th The Reg't went on picket & we got marching & at night all were ordered in but 20 men from our post

28th This morning at sun rise we started on a march went about 10 miles & camp for the night

29th We started at sun rise and got to Cold Water [Mississippi] at noon & stayed there till sundown & then started on again & went to Holly Springs [Mississippi] got there way after night

30th We left Holly Springs & went to Waterford then we could here the canon thunder & we stop for the night & put up the tents


1st Last night there was a Thunder Storm & this morning it is cold & some of the boys pretty wet

2nd There is a nasty drizly rain & in the afternoon we could here the Canon again at night we got marching orders

3rd This morning it cleared off very pleasent & I wrote a letter to Sherman

4th To day it began to rain

5th It is snowing & raining & the Co was detailed for picket & it cleared off pleasent


7th I wrote a letter for Crabtree & cut Sam LeFevre hair

8th I am camp guard

9th I wrote a letter for Sam Dale & in the afternoon we moved camp ground

10th We cleaned up camp ground & I got a letter from Father & answered it & at night we got marching orders J

11th We started on a march & we met about 800 prisoners & we stop about five miles from Oxford

12th We started & got to Oxford about 10 oclock & marched through & went about 12 miles from Oxford & we stop & I got a letter from Walt

13th Last night it rained then it cleared off & I answered Walters letter

14th 15 men started back out of a company (I was one) to Waterford after supplys with the wagon train camp the first night in Oxford

15th Last night I was on guard as Corporal & today we got to Waterford & it rained all day hard

16th Last we stayed in a stable & at noon we started back without any load & went a cross the Tallahatchie river & stop for the night

17th We started for Oxford & got there about two oclock & at night the cars came with the provisions & the teams loaded up that night

18th We started a 4 oclock this morning & got to camp at 11 oclock & I found a letter from Chamberlin


20th I am on guard at Head Quarters & broak of[f] a tooth eating hard tack

21st Moved across the rail road about three miles & when I was relieved I fix a tent out of my oil Blankets & then we got marching orders

22nd We started North & came through Oxford & stop five miles from Oxford at [?] Our Co went on picket & we had plenty of Beef

23rd We stayed there all day

24th At two oclock we started on again & cross the Tallahatchie river & stop for the night

25th We moved camp about three miles & I got a hard cold & it settled all over me & I was so sore that I could hardly walk


27th Last night it rained this fore noon it cleared off & ten boys went a forragei ng

28th The boys that was out yesterday got back & some more started to Waterford after corn meal

29th The corn meal came 30000 lbs of it

30th This morning it was a raining & the Reg't went on picket & it stop raining & Lieu't Ford came up to the Reg't & in the afternoon I washed

31st The ground is froze some & the Reg't mustered for pay

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