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"ADVANCE AMID THE GRAPE AND SHELL AND MINIES" (CIVIL WAR--NEW YORK.) Casselman, Josiah R. Diaries of a Chautauqua County private at the Crater and Fort Fisher. , 109,  manuscript diary pages. 3 volumes. Various sizes, original cloth, worn; a few pages loose, some non-diary leaves excised, but generally clean and legible. Vp, 1 January 1863 to 10 July 1865
Josiah Roof Casselman (1843-1926) of Panama in Chautauqua County enlisted as a private in the 112th New York Infantry. The regiment made something of a specialty of siege duty, with long stints at Suffolk, Fort Wagner, and Petersburg. They also took heavy casualties at Cold Harbor and Fort Fisher. Casselman's diary includes an account of the Battle of the Crater: "Arrived at the left of the line at 4 am. Lay still till a quarter to 5 when they blew up the fort. All the canon along the line opend" (30 July 1864). At the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, he made an appreciative note of the work of the colored regiments in his corps: "Hinks div of darkies lead the charge and take 2 lines of works and drive the rebs 4 miles" (29 September 1864). The most vivid entry describes the Battle of Fort Fisher: "I am detailed at noon for a sharp shooter with 35 others from the brigade. We got to an old line of works 125 rods from the boat and leave our knapsacks and then get over the works and form a schirmish line and advance amid the grape and shell and minies to within 20 rods of the fort and entrench ourselves. The 7th Brigade forms a line and charges at 3 p.m. supported by the 2nd and 3rd Brigade. They take the north west end of the fort first and then they have a hand to hand fight and drive the rebs inch by inch. After dark some of our men get in rear of the fort and giv it to them and at 10 o'clock they surender the fort with 2300 prisoners" (15 January 1865). Private Casselman survived the final months of the war, reporting on 8 April 1865: "The news come at 11 am that Genl Grant had captured Richmond on Monday. . . . We all gave 3 cheers for the good news." He also notes Lee's surrender, the death of Lincoln, and the capture of Jefferson Davis ("Bulley for that.") Casselman married and raised a large family in Chautauqua County. More detailed notes on the diary are available upon request. with--a small pocket New Testament, London, 1861, bearing the inscription "Captured in Fort Fisher, N.C. by Josiah R. Casselman . . . January 15th 1865, taken from a dead Johnny's jacket." Casselman's discharge certificate, June 1865 a group of 28 badges, buttons, and ribbons from GAR and 112th New York reunion events, 1875-1918. See also the Spanish-American War papers of his son Claud (lot 247).
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