Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the W. H. Brooker U.S. Civil War diary, 1863-1866 MS 126

creator Brooker, W. H.
Title: W. H. Brooker U.S. Civil War diary,
Dates: 1863-1866
Identification: MS 126
Quantity: 0.1 linear ft. (1 folder)
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical Note

Although the authorship of the diary is attributed to W.H. Brooker, internal evidence makes this attribution doubtful. The author lists his pay as $11.00 per month-- a private's pay-- while a series of notations in 1866 mention Brooker as a doctor. Furthermore, there are at least three distinct styles of handwriting in the book; the one which is most likely to be attributed to Brooker is the least common, appearing on the title page and at the hiatus between two other styles of handwriting. It is very likely that the author of the main portion of the work was killed on 22 June 1864. After the last entry, Brooker's handwriting appears in the beginning of a poem which is copied over at length near the end of the diary. After the 22 June 1864 entry and poem there is a page missing and a distinctly different handwriting. Finally, in the end of the book there are accounts kept from 1866 for what appears to be a rooming house in which Dr. Brooker was a guest.

From these changes in handwriting and from internal evidence, the following reconstruction is most likely: The author of the idary was a private in the 39th Georgia Regiment, Cumming's Brigade, Stevenson's Division, Army of Tennesee. He fought in the Chattanooga campagin, in the Battle above the Clouds, and at Missionary Ridge. Retreating with his unit, he fought in holding actions against the North's Atlanta campaign, finally falling at Kennesaw Mountain. His book was picked up by a fellow soldier, perhaps in the hospital with him. Both soldiers apparently died, and the book came into the hands of W. H. Brooker, who was possibly the attending physician. After the war Brooker, or perhaps his landlord, used the book to keep accounts in.

Scope and Contents

The diary of W.H. Brooker is a small (3 1/2" × 2"× 1/4") leatherbound booklet in which annotations in pencil have been made. Most of the entries date from 6 October 1863 to 22 June 1864. The diary was kept, for the most part, by Southern private in the Army of Tennessee, and it describes day-by-day troop movements and military actions.


Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions, although material is fragile and to be handled with care.

Use Restictions

Permission to publish material from the Hugh H. Wilson U.S. Civil War papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Brooker, W. H.
United States

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

W. H. Brooker U.S. Civil War diary, 1863-1866, MS #126, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University]

Acquisition Information

The diary was purchased from John Weiler, autograph dealer, on 2 May 1958, on the recommendation of Professor Frank E. Vandiver.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series I: Diary

1 W. H. Brooker U.S. Civil War diary


For the most part, this is a subject index, with numbers indicating diary page numbers. The names of persons who have been tentatively identified are listed (those whose full names appear or whose rank is higher than major). Military units listed are often by the names of their commander.

Army of the Tennessee (CSA)    34, 35, 42
Artillery (operations and gunnery)    5, 7, 8, 13, 16, 20-22, 24, 26-29, 41, 44, 45, 47-49, 52, 54, 55, 57-58b, 60, 61, 71
Athens, Tenn.    5
Aults Mills (Tenn. ?)    37
Barton's Brigade (led by S.M. Barton CSA?)    4, 10, 12, 15, 16
Bragg, Braxton (Gen. CSA)    2, 18
Bransby (Tenn. ?)    32
Brooker, W.H. (Dr.)    titlepage, 101, 102, 105, inside back binding
Brown's Brigade (led by John Calvin Brown CSA)    27, 36, 51
Cassville, Ga.    54, 55
Casualties    28, 38, 41, 48, 52, 58-58b, 71, 72
Cavalry Operations    7, 22, 33, 44, 45, 49, 57, 70
Charleston, Tenn.    4, 5, 15
Chattanooga, Tenn.    1, 14-18, 23, 26
Cheatham's Division (3rd Div.) (led by B.F. Cheatham CSA)    13
Chickamauga, Ga.    1-3, 14, 28
Clayton's Brigade (led by H.D. Clayton, CSA)    64
Cleveland and Chattanooga Railroad    3-5, 16, 26
Crow Creek (Ga.)    43
Cumming's Brigade (led by Alfred Cumming, CSA)    26, 27, 31, 35, 70, backbinding
Dallas, Ga.    56
Dalton, Ga.    1, 29-32, 35-37, 41-43, 46, 50
Davis, Jefferson, Pres. CSA    2
Deserters, CSA, executed    44
East Tennessee Railroad    37
Fast day, confederate    41
Fortifications (breastworks and trenches)    1, 3, 20, 22-23, 27, 42, 44, 50-52, 57, 59, 61-63, 66
Fritz Jarld's Spring    30
36th Ga. Regt.    31
39th Ga. Regt.    26, 31, 42
56th Ga. Regt.    26
Grinell Hill (Ga. ?)    41, 44, 46
Hamilton, T.A.    105
Hardee's Corps    32, 40, 41, 66
Hightower River (Ga.)    55, 56
Hindman's Division (led by T.C.Hindman, CSA)    48, 49, 51
Hood, John Bell (Lieut. Gen. CSA)    40
Johnson, Joseph E. (Gen. CSA)    34, 35, 42
Kennesaw Mt., Ga.    65, 66
Longstreet's Division (led by James Longstreet, CSA)    14
Lookout Moutain    17-25
Loudon, Tenn.    9, 11, 13
Marietta, Ga.    66, 67
Military Life
Military manuevers
Missionary Ridge (Battle)    25-28
Mouse Creek (Tennessee)    6
Pay (soldiers')    32, 35
Pettus' Brigade (named after Gov. J.J. Pettus of Tenn. ?)    61
Philadelphia (Tenn. ?)    7
Polk, Leonidas (Gen. CSA)    64
Prisoners, Confederate    33, 58b
Prisoners, Union    28
Railroads    3-5, 9, 14, 16, 26, 37, 62
Reese, B.E.    104
Resaca, Ga.    50
Ringgold, Ga.    29
Stevenson's Division (led by C.L. Stevenson, CSA)    32, 36, 51, 58a, 65
Stovall's Brigade (led by Marcellus Stovall, CSA)    52
Sweet Water, Tenn.    7, 13
32nd Tenn. Regt.    42
Trenton, Tenn.    21, 21a
Varnell's Station, Tenn.    39