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N. E. Prentice Diary

Identifier: MS-0722

  • Staff Only

N. E. Prentice's diary covers approximately seventy pages and dates from January through July of 1865. In the early portion of the diary, Prentice writes about his duties as a soldier and typical life in his unit. He also includes descriptions of foraging his unit has done, lists of materials taken, names of civilians from whom they took materials, and in some instances explanations of why they targeted particular civilians. Finally, Prentice makes note of letters from home, deserters, Union prisoners, and African-American refugees.

The entries written after the Confederate surrender are more detailed than the previous ones. The bulk of these entries describe Prentice's discharge from the military. Although he initially resigned his commission, he later withdrew that resignation in order to muster out with his unit. Prentice also mentions the election of delegates to the Ohio Union State Convention and writes a few entries concerning his work in growing and selling grapes after his return home.

The diary also includes approximately seventeen pages of autographs from fellow soldiers, an account of living expenses during Prentice's final months in service, and a simple chart of battalion formations. The final page contains a list of camp and garrison equippage lost in storage and a record of personal debts. The flyleaf and endpaper house various lists, calculations, monetary amounts, names, and addresses.


  • 1865 January-October

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


0.1 Linear Feet


N. E. Prentice's diary covers approximately seventy pages and dates from January through July of 1865. The entries discuss such topics as the foraging his unit has done, deserters, Union prisoners, African-American refugees, mustering out, Prentice's travel home, and his work after returning home. The diary also contains approximately seventeen pages of autographs from fellow soldiers and several pages of miscellaneous lists and notes.

Biographical/Historical Note

Nelson Ephraim Prentice, the son of Levi and Mary (Hortwell) Prentice, was born on July 6, 1832. He married Emily Juliet Wadsworth on April 18, 1855. Prentice served as a First Lieutenant in Company M of the First Ohio Heavy Artillery from June of 1863 to August 10, 1865. Following the war, he returned to his father's homestead near Castalia, Ohio where he worked as a farmer and beekeeper. He also formed N. E. Prentice and Company in Payne, Ohio to manufacture cottonwood pall staves and headings in addition to other building materials. Prentice and his wife had seven children: Emma Susan (Prentice) Lee, Kate C. (Prentice) Drown, Nelson Dearborn, Eudora May, Margaret Wadsworth (Prentice) Witter, Florence Eva, and Nettie Sophia (Prentice) Speice. Prentice died at Payne, Ohio on December 20, 1917 of bronchial pneumonia.


This collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased this diary in January of 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA