Time travel: Civil War diaries and letters posted online

AP News
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Posted: Dec 24, 2016 11:31 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The Civil War diaries of a Union officer and letters by a Union soldier can now be read on a Mississippi State University website.

The university said in a statement that the documents are part of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library housed on the Starkville campus.

Orville Babcock was a Union Army officer and engineer who eventually became Gen. Grant's aide-de-camp late in the Civil War. His diaries begin in 1863, and include his perspective on the siege of Vicksburg. They continue into 1869.

The diaries also cover Babcock's wartime experiences in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee before he was summoned to Virginia. They contain information about his post-war experiences in Washington, where Babcock was personal secretary to Grant during his presidency, including his mission to Santo Domingo in 1869. The collection also contains speeches, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.

The diaries were donated to the Grant collection by Merlin E. Sumner before the Grant collection's arrival at MSU in 2008.

The letters of Pvt. Arthur McKinstry show the experience of a young private in the Union Army who wrote often to his mother, aunts and cousins. He also wrote to his uncles, giving reports and first-hand accounts about Company D.

The McKinstry letters were donated to the Grant collection by Frances Oakley.

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Online:

Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library digital collection: http://digital.library.msstate.edu/cdm/usgrantcollection.