Skip to main content


Special Collections Online at UT

James B. David Diary

Identifier: MS-2141

  • Staff Only

James B. David's diary documents the daily life of a soldier in the Army of the Cumberland during 1864. He discusses the weather, bridge building, guard duty, procuring supplies, the constant drilling, the townspeople he encounters, the maneuvers of the army, the engagements he participates in, correspondence with family and friends, and other aspects of being a soldier during the American Civil War. David seems to have enjoyed himself throughout his time in the army and describes many nights when he went to town and had a gay old time. David spent the last two months of 1864 convalescing in Union hospitals and made only a few notations during November and December 1864.


  • 1864

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


0.1 Linear Feet


This collection houses the diary of Private James B. David of the 89th Illinois Infantry Regiment. The diary documents entire year of 1864, but it only has a few references for the months of November and December. The first pages of the diary list the addresses of some of the soldiers who served with David.

Biographical/Historical Note

James B. David was born in March of 1842 in Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, he served with Company H of the 89th Illinois Infantry Regiment (known as the Rail Road Regiment). This unit served with the Army of the Cumberland from November of 1862 through June of 1865 and participated in the battles of Perryville, Stones River (Murfreesboro), Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Franklin, Nashville, the siege of Knoxville, and the Atlanta campaign. It lost a total of 820 men to battle, wounds, and disease. David survived the war returned Illinois after being discharged. He married Mary E. Smith on December 16, 1865 in Kendall County, Indiana, and the couple had three children: Harris B., Mary E., and Mabel. David was granted a pension in 1870, and died on August 29, 1905.


Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

The University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections purchased this collection.

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