Transcripts: Henry J. Hornbeck’s Civil War Diary (47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, excerpts: 1862-Early 1864)

Editor’s Note: Certain words and phrases from Henry J. Hornbeck’s diary which are no longer acceptable in present day society were retained for this transcript, along with unusual/incorrect punctuation and spacing in order to preserve the accuracy of the content presented. Please note that any descriptions of certain inappropriate behaviors or dated or offensive wording does not reflect the views of this blog’s editor or contributing authors.

Additional diary excerpts will be added as time permits. Please continue to check back for updates.


Sunday Dec. 14. Rose as usual. Went to office. Very busy all morning writing out orders, relieving all extra duty men of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Received an order to draw my pay for the time engaged in the office. Wrote letters to sister & others of our departure for Florida, then went to camp and prepared for leaving in the morning. After supper, Quartermaster Heebner, Tom Leisenring and myself went to the ‘Stevens House’ where we were treated by the Quartermaster & different officers. Tom & myself then went back to Camp. The boys had a large bonfire made, and a good deal of fun is going on, being the last night in Beaufort, S.C. retired at 10 o’clock.

Monday Dec. 15th. Rose as usual. After breakfast, packed up duds, and proceeded to the wharf. Drew my extra duty pay, at Capt. Cornell’s office, Post Quartermaster, then got aboard the steamer Cosmopolitan. The whole regiment embarked at about 12 o’clock. We did not get ready to start until 2 o’clock, having a large amount of baggage to be laden. The band played a beautiful piece as we left the wharf, along which were scattered the 55th Pennsylvania, 6th Connecticut, 8th Maine to see us off & who gave us three hearty cheers, which were as heartily responded to by us. The sail from Beaufort to Hilton Head was fine, the scenery being so beautiful. Stopped a short time at Hilton head, and took aboard the wounded of our Regiment. General Brannan also came on board for a few minutes. We then started. We seem to be unfortunate in traveling by sea, as our trip was very stormy, and we were in great danger all along. We were three days on the water. We kept rather close to shore, along the Florida Coast, and arrived at Key West, Fla. on Thursday morning at 11 o’clock. This is a fine place being very warm at noon. We immediately after landing went into the restaurants and regaled ourselves. Cool drinks are to be had in every shop, and every kind of fruit in abundance, especially cocoa nuts, the place is full of cocoa nut trees, lemon trees &c which bear the fruit abundantly. In the afternoon Frank Good, P. Bernd, E. Crader & myself went to the beach to search for sea shells which are very plenty but, the tide being high, we did not procure any of beauty. The Regiment is entirely divided, Four Companies D. H. K. & F. are sent to Fort Jefferson, Tortugas Island to garrison said Fort. Two Companies, C. & I, are in Fort Taylor, at this place, and Companies. B. & E. are in the old barracks, & Companies A. & G. are in the new barracks, in which latter, I also am. We have very fine quarters, & am much better pleased than at Beaufort S.C. nothing of importance, further, I was detailed as a clerk in the Quartermasters Office on the 20th. Kept pretty busy, as Lt. Gibbs, Quartermaster is relieved and turns over the stores to F. G. Heebner, his successor.

Wednesday Dec. 25th Christmas. No work at the office today. Went to the wharf and witnessed the departure of the 90th New York State Volunteers for Beaufort, which Regiment we relieved. John Lawall, Frank Good & few others, then, took a walk about Key West. I forgot to mention that last evening we received a mail from Beaufort & I received a letter from sister Mary which was sent there. Everything seems satisfactory at home & with them. Very happy to hear from her. Saw also in the Allentown Democrat of 10th inst. that Uncle, Capt. E. R. Newhard was paroled, and was home on furlough. Very glad to hear that. Our Christmas dinner, was a ‘Pot Pie,” which was very good, and is considered something extra in camp. After dinner, Peter Bernd & myself went out to the beach, and collected a lot of curiosities in the shape of sea shells. Found some very fine ones. After supper Frank Good, P. Bernd, Wm. Steckel & myself went to Catholic church. it was a grand sight the Church being decorated with spruce and with cocoanut leaves, and a great number of lights burning. After Church went to barracks and retired. The day here is celebrated like the 4th of July north, firing squibs &c. This is a great week for the Negroes, they having dances and enjoying themselves all day long. This afternoon out, on the beach the Black ‘Gemmari’ & ladies, had dancing until dark, to be again resumed to-morrow. How different this Christmas from last year when all was Joy at home. Mary & myself for the sake of a Joyful surprise, placed upon the plate (before Breakfast) of Dear Mother, a Christmas Gift, and how pleased she was for that present, which was entirely unexpected. Now, alas, she is no more, never more are we to see here in this world. No one who has not lost a dearly beloved Mother, can feel that loss or have the least idea of what the loss of his or her dearest friend on earth is, until he or she experiences what we have, Standing at the death bed of a dying parent, and to feel as we felt, alone in this wide world. Retired at 10 o’clock. Retrospection is often times pleasing and also horrifying. I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Dec 26 Friday. Rose as usual, not very busy this morning. Today we had a turtle soup, which was very good. Turtle are plenty here, & are found about the Islands of immense size. Witnessed a ‘Spanish Fandango’ this evening, Also a dance by Blacks, ten went to camp, where we also had music and a dance. Retired at 10 o’clock.

Dec. 27. Saturday. Rose as usual. Not busy to-day. Mess near the office with the clerks & employees in this office, having two blacks to do our cooking. We have very good meals. This evening the band serenaded the different companies. Went to Methodist Church where the Free Masons met, and heard an address on Free Masonry, by Capt. J. Gobin of our Regiment. Very good lecture. After meeting was over went to the house with Luther Mennig, and we were serenaded by some members of Companies B. and E. very good music. Remained at the house all night. I lodge in camp but mess in town.

Dec. 28. Sunday. After breakfast went to camp, and had a good wash. Went to town after dinner, with Wm. Weiss. We purchased some oranges at the wharf, after which we went to the house (our mess house) and I procured a cocoa nut from a tree, which are very plenty here. After regaling ourselves on cocoa nut, I went to our quarters & Billy to his. Read the remainder of the afternoon. After supper D. Wannermacher, W. Weiss & myself went to the Episcopal Church. The church is finely decorated at present. Retired at 10 o’clock.

Dec. 29. Monday, Rose as usual. After Breakfast, busy in office in the afternoon wrote two letters one to Aunt Elemina & one to sister Mary as the steamer Ericson leaves for the north tomorrow. After supper went to barracks, retired at 9 o’clock.

Dec. 30 Tuesday. Rose as usual. After breakfast went to office. Kept busy. The steamer transports returning from the Bank’s [sic] Expedition, putting in here to coal. After dinner wrote a letter to brother Molton also to brother John. Slight sprinkling of rain this morning. Very warm this afternoon. After supper went to barracks retired early.

Dec. 31. Wednesday. Rose as usual, busy all day, settling up accounts, and busy also on account of the many vessels in port. Weather warm & fine. The Regiment was today mustered for pay. At 9 o’clock, the band serenaded us at the barracks. We also had a ‘string band’, composed of Blacks, playing all evening. At 12 o’clock, a party consisting of Wm. Hertz, James Knerr, George Henry, Henry Reiss, Will Steckel, Julius Lascon, James Geidner, Henry Getter & myself, visited the captains & lieutenants of our Company & Company A. being together in the new barracks at the Lighthouse, and wish them a Happy New Year and fired a salute. We were all called in and got something to drink. We then went out towards the beach, and visited Old Sandy, a great Union Black, and roused him up, and gave him a Salute, didn’t get to bed until about 3 o’clock….


Monday February 23rd. Received this morning marching orders for Key West, Fla. again. Endorsed the letters of Uncle Ebenezer & Sister Mary on the back, to that effect. Packed up things this afternoon. After Supper Weiss Mennig & myself visited Chas. Gross at present in the Hospital here, he being very sick, and then returned to Camp. The band went to town this evening & serenaded General Hunter. Ascertained that we were the body guard of General Hunter, but the U.S. Inspector General ordered the Post at Key West to be garrisoned by the most efficient Regiment in the Department of the South, and of course we were ordered there. Retired at 10 o’clock. Very cold tonight.

Tuesday February 24th. Struck tents this morning early, and everything taken to the wharf. Had the pleasure of seeing General Hunter this morning. Finished loading the vessel & troops on board by 4 o’clock. Left wharf at that time, the band playing. Fine weather. The ‘donkey’ belonging to Co. E & which had made a few trips with us died on board this evening & was thrown overboard, (I forgot to mention that we embarked upon the Cosmpolitan again Captain Crocker) having good quarters this time, being with the Hospital Steward. Retired at 8 o’clock.

Wednesday February 25th, at sea. Rose at day break. Sailing along, fine, today, running along the Florida Coast. At 4 o’clock ran out further to sea. A good many of the boys are sea sick today. Weather fine. Retired at 7 p.m.

Thursday February 26th, at sea…. Running very near coast all day. Today being Wm. Ginkinger’s birthday, I took dinner with him at the table. Had a splendid dinner consisting of roast duck & the &c. Lighthouse in sight at 3 p.m. Passed Cape Florida Lighthouse at 4 p.m. At 9 p.m. passed Carysfort Lighthouse. Retired at 9:30. Sea rough.

Friday February 27th, at sea. Very rough all last night, fine weather today proceeding slowly past a lighthouse at 7:30 a.m. At noon Key West Lighthouse in sight. Steamer Illinois passed close by us at noon. Arrived at the wharf at Key West at about 1 o’clock, the band playing ‘Bully for Us’ it took everybody by surprise especially on account of the citizens having been ordered off the island by Colonel Morgan of the 90th New York Regiment. We just arrived in time to countermand so insane and persecuting an order. The citizens were overjoyed & the American Flag was hoisted from almost every house one place in particular had 14 Flags hoisted and the Spanish Consul raised the flags of all Nations across the street, with the American Flag in the center. Some families had everything packed up & were to leave in the steamer City of Bath this afternoon. I saw some of the inhabitants actually cry for joy, our arrival was indeed opportune. I am again detailed and remain here, whilst my Company G with Company E go to Tortugas, joining the other Companies that remained there. Companies B, C, A & I are in Fort Taylor. Company E raised a great muss tonight. They procured some liquor at some place, and carousing & fighting was kept up all night on the wharf, no serious damage done. I stay with Mr. McGrath at present until we get settled down right. Very warm. Retired at 9 p.m.

Saturday February 28th. Nothing to do today. Companies G & E left early this morning for Tortugas. Colonel Good accompanying them. Very warm all day. Took a stroll about the city, and then went to McGrath’s with Ginkinger, Weiss & Mennig. He kindly informed us to stay with him as long as we please & for which we shall ever feel grateful….

Sunday March 1st. Rose early this morning and went to U.S. Barracks and had a good bath although in salt water, on the beach. Today very warm again. In the evening Mr. McGrath, Ginkinger & myself attended Catholic Church and heard a very able sermon. At the close, he announced a meeting to take place next day, to offer up thanks for their deliverance from the persecuting order which was happily countermanded by our arrival….

Tuesday March 3rd…. Mennig, Weiss & myself took a ride about the City this evening, then took the carriage to Colonel’s headquarters. Returned by 8 o’clock. Retired at 9. Cool this evening.

Wednesday March 4th. Today Lt. Heebner takes charge of the post commissary. Assisted this morning at the accounts of his predecessor Lt. Locke 90th N.Y. Volunteers. Heard that my friend John Lawall of Company I was detailed as Post Hospital Steward, very glad to hear the same, a good appointment. Today, the new Congress convenes at Washington and hereafter better & more satisfactory news are expected. Attended Catholic Church this evening. Retired at 9 p.m. Weather warm. Cool night.

Thursday March 5th…. This morning took a walk to the beach, found a few shells. The steam tug arrived this afternoon from Havana having a large mail. Received a letter from Brother Molton & a paper from Uncle Newhard….

Friday March 6th…. Started our mess today. The ship Underwriter commenced loading subsistence stores this morning. The gunboat Colorado lying at Navy wharf coaling. The latter is a splendid vessel. Wrote two letters this morning, one to Brother Molton & the other to Brother John. After Supper took a walk about the city then retired.

Saturday March 7th…. Loading subsistence stores all day…. This afternoon an English prize steamer called the Peter Hough arrived in port having been captured by the Vanderbilt. She is reported to be laden with war implements. The prize steamer Adela went north at 4 p.m. taking a mail. In the evening our band serenaded several citizens. Retired at 9 p.m.

Sunday March 8th…. After breakfast Mennig, Weiss & myself went to Fort Taylor, remained there until after dinner. Weiss & myself then went to Headquarters and witnessed Dress Parade, the returned to town. After supper, Weiss, Ginkinger & myself attended the Catholic Church….

Monday March 9th. Rose as usual, assisted today in keeping tally in the loading of the ship Underwriter with subsistence stores. In the evening our Band played on the balcony at the Russell House. Our mess was today regularly commenced, consisting of the following, Will Ginkinger, Commissary Sergeant; Jacob Beck, Quartermaster Sergeant; Will J. Weiss, Luther Mennig, two butchers and myself having and Irish woman (Mrs. Boyle) as cook….

Tuesday March 10th…. The Naval Transport Union arrived in port today for coal….

Wednesday March 11th…. Wrote a letter this morning to Uncle Tilghman, as the steamer Union takes a mail north today. Assisted in commissary this afternoon. Took a sea bath after supper….

Thursday March 12th. After breakfast assisted in keeping tally of Commissary Stores transferred from Fort Taylor to warehouse near the wharf. After supper Weiss & myself went to Headquarters. Witnessed the burning of an old house near the Salt Works which produced great excitement in town. Spent remainder of evening at McGrath’s. Very windy this evening & cool.

Friday March 13th…. This morning assisted again by tallying. At noon the steamer McClellan arrived from New York, with newspapers dating to the 5th inst…. A small mail for our Regiment. Took a walk to headquarters after supper with Mennig & Weiss….

Saturday March 14th. After breakfast went to work on Regimental papers. In the evening went to the Billiard Saloon and witnessed a game, then went to quarters. Retired at 9 p.m.

Sunday March 15th. This morning the steamer Mississippi arrived here from New Orleans, having on board a number of discharged soldiers. At the wharf most part of the day fishing &c. In the evening attended Catholic Church. After which went to McGrath’s….

Monday March 16th. Worked at the Regimental papers today. The gunboat Sonoma arrived this morning bringing a brig which she captured. The steamer Mississippi left for the north at noon. Henry Trexler went with her, he having been along with the Regiment for some time. After supper Mennig & myself played a game of billiards. Tonight Mennig & myself slept in our bunks which we made back of McGrath’s house. Very warm all day.

Tuesday March 17th. Busy at Regimental papers today…. After supper put up my mosquito bar in my bunk. Played a few games with cards….

Thursday March 19th. This morning the schooner Nonpareil returned from Havana with a mail. Not much for our Regiment…. News not very good. After supper took a walk then returned to our room. Passed the evening in games….

Friday March 20th. The steamer George Peabody arrived from New York early this morning and brought a mail but nothing for us. Worked at Regimental papers this morning wrote a letter to Reub. Leisenring….

Saturday March 21st. Assisted today in commissary issuing rations &c. Copied articles for Colonel Patterson, mayor of this city, Notarial records &c….

Sunday March 22nd…. After breakfast washed & dressed in commissary warehouse after which spent most of the morning at McGrath’s. After dinner took a nap in commissary storehouse until 3 p.m. then went to McGrath’s. Read the remainder of afternoon a book entitled Christmas Stories. Very warm all day. Persons dressing in white suits. It is quite a sight to see the sailors in a body all dressed alike in white garments. They look very good. It is reported that the Alabama or 290 was captured off Charleston. The news is almost too good to be true. Spent the evening at McGrath’s, Mac & myself playing a game of cheques. About 5 o’clock this afternoon the fast & powerful steamer & gunboat Vanderbilt arrived in port….

Monday March 23rd. Rose as usual, busy most of the day at Regimental Papers. Late in the afternoon engaged in fishing off the wharf. Mennig & myself took lunch at Gallagher’s about 4 o’clock. After supper took a walk about the city and  then went to McGrath’s, paid a visit John Lawall, Stewards at General Hospital heard splendid singing this evening by a party of Naval Officers, out serenading….

Tuesday March 24th…. Busy at Regimental papers today. This morning, Colonel Good, Lt. Heebner & the band went to Tortugas today. Frank Good arrived from Tortugas last night and stays with us. Wrote two letters, one to Sister Mary & the other to Cousin Sallie Newhard. After supper took a short walk about the city. Went with Wm. Weiss part of way to Fort Taylor. Heard splendid music by a couple of Spaniards. They play the guitar to perfection. Frank Good occupies my bed tonight. I sleep at McGrath’s….

Wednesday March 25th. Worked at Regimental papers in the morning. Wrote a letter to Uncle Ebenezer this afternoon. Very windy, slight rain.

Thursday March 26th. Busy at papers all day. The steamer Cricassion arrived from the north today having a mail. Received a letter from Albert Kern and two papers from Uncle Ebenezer. Took a walk in the evening. Very warm.

Friday March 27th. Nothing of any account. Visited U.S. Barracks after supper, to have coat & trousers altered & made by Albert Newhard of our Regiment. Visited John Lawall in Hospital as steward. Weather cool tonight.

Saturday March 28th. At Key West, about 1 o’clock tonight was roused up by a cry of Fire, a house, and barn burnt down in the heart of the city, I assisted as much as possible in quelling the flames, subsided by 4 o’clock, it is almost a miracle that the whole City did not burn down, having no Engine in this place, and all the water was passed in buckets, had it not been for the Soldiers and Sailors everything would have been destroyed, went to bed again at 4 o’clock….

Sunday March 29th.  Went to commissary after breakfast & dressed up. Schooner Union returned from Havana, having a lot of oranges. In the afternoon went to U.S. Barracks. Went to Fort Taylor at 4 p.m. Witnessed Dress Parade. After supper took a walk about city….

Monday, March 30th. Works at papers in morning. Heard that Corporal Jesse Remmel of Company B died last night, to be buried this afternoon at 5 p.m. Died of consumption brought on by fever, attended his funeral from General Hospital, two companies as escort Companies B & I. Chaplain Bass of 90th New York Volunteers officiating, our Chaplain being in Tortugas. Weather very warm. Retired at 11 p.m. Sitting up tonight on McGrath’s front porch, fine breeze. Heard a few Spaniards serenading….

Monday June 15th. Busy this morning at 11 at Quartermasters Papers. After dinner slept until 3 p.m. Steamer Nassau loading shells & canisters all day. Latest news that Port Hudson is invested by our forces & must fall. No news from Army of Potomac. Ship John Trucks left wharf at 9 a.m. Visited Mrs. Garvin’s tonight, had ice cream, after which returned to office. Played a trick on Jake Beck with fire crackers. Retired at 11 p.m. Slight breeze to night.

Tuesday June 16th. Today commencing to take Stock Account of Subs Stores. Wrote the Sworn Statement of Capt. Wilson of Nonpareil in reference to the running into & disabling the Quartermasters schooner Nonpareil by the steamer Che Kiang. Wrote a letter of information as to amount of damages sustained and amount paid by Quartermaster’s Department for repairing said schooner. Gunboat DeSoto left harbor this morning. Took a nap in the afternoon. After supper visited Mrs. McGrath, then procured ice cream at Miss Allen’s after which returned to office. Retired at 10 p.m. Slight breeze.

Wednesday June 17th Rose as usual. Chas. Martin Company B deserted last night. Busy at Commissary Papers. A small mail brought in by a pilot boat, from a steamer passing outside from the North. Received two shirts from Sister Mary and a letter enclosing photograph from Bro. John written by himself. No news of any account. After supper Ginkinger & myself went to Miss Allen’s procured ice cream, then returned to office. Retired at 11 p.m. Very warm.

Thursday June 18th. Busy all morning at Commissary Accounts. Solomon Diehl Company B died this morning in General Hospital of chronic diarrhea. Attended his funeral at 5 p.m. at U.S. Barracks, Band & Companies B & D as escort. Genl. Woodbury also attended funeral. Ship Constellation arrived today, with coal. She is a fine vessel. After supper took a walk about town, visited Miss Allen’s procured ice cream. Weather very hot and mosquitoes very annoying.

Friday June 19th. Busy at papers in the morning. A mail arrived from North in a gunboat. rec’d two letters, One from Sister Mary acknowledging receipt of money & trunk and the other from Bro. Molton, who is at home well & hearty, contemplating a trip to Jersey. News concerning Grandmother, bad, she being very feeble, otherwise very satisfactory. Reported that Vicksburg has been taken, hope it may prove true. After supper Ginkinger & myself took a short walk, returned by 9 p.m. Retired at 10. Weather hot and oppressing.

Saturday June 20th. Busy all morning at Commissary Papers. Gunboat Huntsville arrived this morning. After supper took a walk about town. Retired at 11p.m.

Sunday June 21st. After dressing we mustered into service, one of the Blacks who arrived from New Orleans, into Quartermasters Department read the Army Regulations to him, and put a Military suit on him, had fine fun, making him swear by the dictionary &c. Remained at office all day, reading. Today being Luther Mennig’s birthday, he procured a couple of bottles of port, and we drank to his health. After supper took a ride with Wm. Weiss using Maj. Gansler’s [sic] carriage, After which returned to office. Retired at 10 p.m. Weather very hot. The clerk, that the new Quartermaster who was to relieve Lt. Locke, but now returns, brought with him, has made his lodging with us & also messes with us. He remains here receiving instruction, & will follow his Capt. as soon as he hears from him. His name is Frank Whiting of Mass., a Citizen Clerk, seems to be a fine young man.

Monday June 22nd. Busy at Commissary Papers. Steamer Matanzas arrived in port from New Orleans, but leaves for the North in an hour. Packed up Commissary Papers & sent them aboard. Also hurriedly wrote an answer to Sister Mary’s letter and got it aboard to be mailed at New York. Steamer Exact arrived from New Orleans, having prisoners for this place & Tortugas. She returns to New Orleans this evening. After supper Lawall, Mennig, Weiss & Myself attended the funeral of a Navy Officer who died yesterday, belonging to the gunboat Hendrick Hudson. Our Band & Sailors as Escort, also a turn-out by the Masons, the funeral rites of which are very interesting. Visited Mrs. Garvin & procured ice cream, and also visited Miss Allen, & procured ice cream, then returned to office. before returning Mennig, Watson, Whiting & Myself went in swimming off the dock. Water warm. After which retired.

Tuesday June 23rd. Steamer Cahawba [sic] passed outside harbor. Capt. sent in New York papers dating to the 18th. News very bad, the Rebels made another raid into our State, going into Chambersburg, great excitement. Main portion of the Rebel Army reported to be at Martinsburg. things look bad. No mail received. After dinner engaged in reading Scott’s Works, “The Lady of the Lake.” After supper visited Mrs. McGrath, then returned to office. before retiring had a swim off the dock. Retired at 11 p.m.

Wednesday June 24th. Busy in office all day. After supper visited Mrs. McGrath, after which returned to office. Went aboard schooner Nonpareil, Capt. Wilson. then went to Russell House, where our Band serenaded Mr. Russell who has just been married, also serenaded by a Calathumpian Band, making a tremendous noise. He treated all. Splendid singing by Navy Officers. Returned to office at 12 p.m. before turning in, took a bath. Retired at 12 p. m. Weather warm.

Thursday June 25th. Reading most part of day. Nothing of any account. Took a walk about town after supper. Order issued from Headquarters that all extra & daily duty men, that can be spared, are to be returned to their companies, & Contrabands to take their places, We remain, two clerks being allowed in Commissary Department, Mennig & myself. Before retiring went in bathing.

Friday June 26th. Navy transport Union arrived from New York, dating to 18th inst. having a large mail, received nary line. Allentown papers arrived, nothing then of importance. Invasion of our State by the Rebels & their retreat, which news we had a few days ago. Chas. Martin Company B who deserted June 17th returned again. Not having gone far, the boat being stove to pieces in which he left, and he was found on one of the adjacent Keys, by a woodman, almost starved to death, and anxious to return to Key West. He is in the Guard House. Mennig & myself took a walk to the US [sic] Barracks. Paid-off Albert Newhard for services in altering clothing. String Band of Company B out serenading tonight. Accompanied them to several places, then returned to office. Whitting, McKillup [sic] & myself went in bathing. Retired at 11 p.m. Weather bracing tonight.

Saturday June 27th. Reading most part of day. After supper took a walk about the city. Took a sea bath, retired at 11 p.m.

Sunday June 28th. One of the Contrabands from La. we started to day as cook for our mess. Ablutions in Commissary Store house. A mail arrived in harbor this morning, brought in by Pilot Boat, from Sand Key. Received a letter from Sister Mary announcing the death of Dear Grandmother who died on the 18th inst. to be buried on Monday June 22nd. As a mail leaves almost immediately for the North, I hastily answered her letter, acknowledging receipt of the sad news, also wrote consolatory letter to Bro. John, Such is life. Remained in office all day. After supper Watson & myself visited Mrs. Garvin’s, after which went to Church. After Church took a bath. Retired at 11 p.m. Very warm, no air, hardly any sleep all night. Two splendid prizes brought into harbor this afternoon, two Rebel steamers laden with cotton &c, Captured by the Sloop of War Lackawanna off Mobile.

Monday June 29th. Busy all day in office. Nothing of any account today. After supper took a walk about town. Rain & thunder storm tonight. Retired at 11 p.m.

Tuesday June 30th. Reading most all day. After supper, our Band out serenading, went with them. Weiss, Mennig & myself returned to office at 12. Retired at 12:30. Weather warm. Mustered for pay today.

Wednesday July 1st. Busy in office. Today procured Henry Kramer Company B as cook for our mess. This afternoon U.S. Gunboat Bermuda arrived from New Orleans, having an old mail for this place, which had passed here, and had gone on there, some time ago. Received a letter from Sister Mary and also one from Albert Kern, enclosing his photograph, although the news is rather late. Weiss & myself took a short walk towards the barracks, accompanying Pretz & Lawall. After which returned to office. Answered Kern’s letter. Ginkinger, Whiting & myself then went in bathing off the wharf. Retired at 11 p.m.

Thursday July 2nd. Busy in office all day. Wrote a letter to J. Henry Beemer Deckertown N.J. After dinner took a nap. After supper walked about town. Returned to office at 9 p.m. After taking a bath, Retired being 11 p.m.

Friday July 3rd. … Reading most part of day. No news of any account. After bathing retired. Could not sleep tonight on account of the heat, sitting up greater portion of the night.

Saturday July 4th. Independence Day. No work in office to-day. Rose at 4 a.m. went with Ginkinger to Slaughter House, procured rations of fresh beef for our mess. Mennig & Myself went to fish market, purchased two fish. Took a cup of coffee at café opposite Provost Marshals Office. After breakfast Whiting & myself played a game of billiards, then witnessed the parade of 47th p.v. 5 Companies with Band & Col. & Staff. Review by the Genl. At Headquarters. Dispersed at 11 a.m. Weather extremely hot. Provost Guard quarters finely decorated. Flags hoisted at great many places. Firing squibs &c, salute by Fort Taylor & Gunboats in harbor, as usual on such occasions. Remained in office all day. After supper Ginkinger & myself visited Capt. Bell, then went with Serg’t. Mink to procure ice cream at a Colored Woman’s establishment, after which returned to office. Many of boys, as usual upon such occasions, being today pretty well curried. Today the San Jacinto relieved the Magnolia as Flag Ship for this port. After taking a sea bath retired at 11 p.m.

Sunday July 5th. Remained in office all day reading. Steam transport Thomas A. Scott arrived from New York very early this morning, bound for New Orleans, having Ordnance Stores aboard, put in here for coal. She brings papers dating to 27th but no mail. News very bad. Lee’s army still in Pennsylvania making bad havoc. Before retiring went in bathing. Retired at 11 p.m. Cool tonight.

Monday July 6th. Engaged upon Commissary Papers. Reported that three Companies of our Regiment could be spared & would be sent to Pennsylvania, but I think it to be all a hoax, there being enough men in our State to defend it. After supper took a walk about town. Took a sea bath then Retired about 10 p.m.

Tuesday July 7th. Wrote a letter this morning to Reuben P. Leisenring. Purchased a pair of breeches from Whiting. Our Cook Henry Kramer of Company B ordered back to his company by Capt. Rhoads, another burst of shoulder strap authority. After supper Weiss & myself played billiards. Retired at 10 p.m. after taking a good sea bath, off the wharf. Weather sultry & mosquitoes again at work.

Wednesday July 8th. Busy all morning at Commissary Papers also Regimental accounts. Navy transport Union left for the North at 1 p.m. taking a mail. Steam tug Reaney left for Havana, for them mail reported to be there. After supper took a walk. Went in bathing before retiring.

Thursday July 9th. Busy today, moving the office next door to Provost Marshal’s office, fine place. Tug Reaney returned from Havana having a mail, No letters for me. News very bad from Pa. Rebels about to attack Harrisburg. The Militia confident of holding the place. Bridges &c burnt on the Susquehanna. Watson & myself took a walk this evening. Steamer Creole passed by this evening Pilot Boat brought in a paper up to July 3 reports 9000 Rebels to be Captured between Carlisle & Chambersburg. Genl. Hooker relieved from Command of Army of Potomac and Genl. Meade his successor, general satisfaction by this change. Took a sea bath tonight, retired at 11 p.m. Weather cool this evening.

Friday July 10th. Busy all Morning assisting in issuing rations, and fixing up new office. Busy in the afternoon at accounts. After Supper played billiards with Mennig & Weiss, after which took a sea-bath then retired about 10 O’clock. Weather warm, not much sleep….

December 1863. The workers at the fortification in Key West demanded back pay and a raise in December; their rate was $1.40 per day. The town had some excitement in December as a spark from a railway locomotive set the mess hall on fire, burning it to the ground; and nature retaliated with a violent storm, which caused heavy damage, putting the railroad out of service.

Friday December 25th. …. rose at 3 a.m. & proceeded to Slaughter House, had two Cattle & two Sheep cut up and served to the troops. Conveyed Fresh Meat to a number of citizens this morning, being Gen’l Woodburys [sic] gift, then had breakfast. Went to Fort Stables, had the horse fed, visited Mrs. Abbot in Fort Taylor, also Mrs. Heebner, from both of whom we rec’d Christmas Cakes & a drink, which were excellent…. We took dinner at Capt. Bells at 2 p.m. which was a splendid affair. A fine turkey served up, and finished up our dinner with excellent Mince pie, after the dinner we again took a ride about the Island, took the horse to Fort Stables and returned to office. At 5 p.m. a party of Masqueraders (or what we term in our State Fantasticals) paraded the street headed with music, a very comical party. Took a walk tonight, Churches finely decorated. Retired early at ½ past 8 p.m. Weather beautiful….


January 1st Thursday. Rose as usual. After breakfast, went to office, kept busy all day on account of many steamers lying in port, waiting to coal. After supper took a walk about the city with Frank Good and Wm. Steckel. Heard music in a side street, went there and found the Black Band playing at the Postmaster’s residence. The Postmaster then called all the soldiers in, and gave us each a glass of wine.

He is a very patriotic man and very generous. I believe his name is Mr. Albury. We then went to barracks and retired.

January 2nd Friday…. After breakfast, work as usual in office. After dinner took a horseback ride to Fort Taylor…. Retired at 9 o’clock. Weather cool.

January 3rd Saturday…. Received our extra duty pay this afternoon. Purchased toilet articles. After supper went to the camp, took a walk about city, then went barracks & retired. Latest reports are that Burnside was defeated with great loss and the Cabinet broke up in a row. Retired at 10. Weather fine.

Sunday January 4th…. After breakfast, washed & dressed. After dinner John Lawall, Wm. Ginkinger & myself went to the wharf. I then returned to barracks and P. Pernd. E. Crader and myself went out on the beach, searching sea shell. Returned by 4 o’clock. I then cleaned my rifle. Witnessed dress parade. Then went to supper. After supper went to the Methodist Church, heard a good Sermon by our Chaplain. Retired at 9 o’clock.

Monday January 5th…. After breakfast went to office, busy, wrote a letter to Reuben Leisenring. At 11 o’clock the U.S. Mail Steamer Bio arrived from New York, having come in 5 days, papers dating 30th inst. The reports of a few days ago, are not confirmed, therefore they are untrue. She also has a mail on board.

Tuesday January 6th…. Received no letter yesterday, very small mail for our regiment. Busy all day in office. After supper, Wm. Smith, Allen Wolf & myself took a walk about the city, then went to barracks. Retired at 10 o’clock. Wrote a letter this afternoon to Uncle Ebenezer, sent him also by mail a small collection of sea shells. Weather fine.

* Note: On 7-9 January, Henry reported that he had been busy in his office, but that nothing noteworthy had occurred.

Saturday January 10th…. [B]usy all day doing account. Took a walk after supper. Then went with P. Berndt to his cook house, (He being cook for Lieutenant Hunsberger) where he treated me with a drink and Lemon pie of his own make, which was delicious. After which I retired.

Sunday January 11th…. [W]ent to office and helped to close the account, then went to camp. Went to our mess house at 12 o’clock and took dinner. We had John Lawall & Sam Smith as guests. After dinner went to the wharf, then went back to camp, where P. Berndt, E. Crader & myself went out on the beach, and collected sea shell until 3 o’clock, then returned. I got my hair cut & was shaved. Witnessed dress parade, then went to supper. After supper P.B., E.C. & myself took a walk about the city then returned to camp. Went with Peter B. to his cook house, and passed the remainder of evening there. Retired at 9 o’clock. Weather cool tonight.

Monday January 12th…. After supper Luther Mennig & myself played a game of billiards, then took a walk about the city, went to barracks at 9. Retired at 10 o’clock. Weather fine.

Tuesday January 13th. Went to office, witnessed the departure of steamer Mississippi for the north. Last night a prize schooner was brought into harbor. The gunboat Santiago de Cuba left the harbor this afternoon and as she passed the receiving ship St. Lawrence she saluted her, which returned the salute, by dropping the Flag to half mast, then quickly hoisting to the top again, repeating 3 times. The news at present, as we hear it, are not very favorable to our side. It looks rather gloomy at present. Expect a mail in daily from the north. After supper went to barracks. Went to P. Berndt’s cook house and passed the evening there, reading. Retired at 9 o’clock.

* Note: On 14 January. Henry Hornbeck again reported that he had not been busy and that very little had happened.

Thursday January 15th…. This morning the gunboat Johoma arrived havingin tow a prize smack laden with cotton. Gunboat San Jacinto also came into harbor this morning. The late news from the west, which was very bad, is according to later statements entirely the reverse, Gen. Rosecrans defeating the enemy, and routing them. Capturing a great many, reported fighting at Vicksburg at present. The Quartermaster returned this afternoon, he having gone with a party to the wreck of the Sparkling Sea a distance of about 120 miles, on the Florida Coast, near Carysfort Reef, with a view of saving horses & cargo, it having been abandoned by the crew and a detachment of N.Y. Volunteers, being still a portion of Banks Expedition. They did not succeed however, owing to a severe storm which occurred during the time they were there, and had to return, themselves almost being swamped. They saw the wreck at a distance, the bottom of the ship, broken out, and the hulk swaying to & fro. There were about 150 horses on board, which were all lost. Retired at 10 o’clock. Very windy.

Friday January 16th…. Read a novel entitled the ‘Life Raft, a tale of the Sea,’ very interesting. After supper, Allen Wolf, N. Troxell & myself took a walk through the northern portion of the city, called Conk town, then went to camp. Very cool all day & especially tonight. Retired at 9.

Saturday January 17th. Proceeded to office as usual. After breakfast, kept busy this morning. After dinner not much to do. Went to camp after supper. Retired at 9 o’clock.

Sunday January 18th…. After breakfast, went out on the beach, and procured sea shell, returned by 11 o’clock then washed & dressed. After dinner went to office. Mennig & myself then went to Black Church. After supper Mennig Wm Weiss & myself took a short walk, then attended Methodist Church, after which Mennig & myself went to Black Church, a White man preaching, it is very amusing to see them after Church is over, Congregate in the aisle, and shake hands with each other, singing & keeping pace with hands & feet to the music, and frequently getting happy. I then went to camp & retired. Cool & windy this evening.

Monday January 19th…. After breakfast went to office busy all day. I forgot to mention that yesterday we received the mail from Havana, and I received two letters, one from Sister Mary, the other from Aunt Elemina. The news from home are satisfactory, also forgot to mention that Lieutenant Levi Stuber of Company I was married last evening to a Miss Archer, of this city. After supper Mennig, Wm. Ginkinger & myself spent part of the evening at Mr. McGrath’s, our Chief Clerk. We then took a walk about the city, the band serenading Lt. Stuber & wife at Mennig & Ginkinger’s lodging place. Weather fine.

Tuesday January 20th. Yesterday afternoon I answered Aunt Elemina’s letter. Rose this morning at 4 o’clock, went to a coffee house and had a cup of good coffee. We then (Mennig, Ginkinger & myself) went to the butcher shop for our regiment and remained until 8 o’clock, then had breakfast. After breakfast went to the office, not having much to do, went to the commissary building and remained until dinner. Rumors that McClellan was again in command. Retired at 9.

Wednesday January 21st…. Busy in office all day. After supper Mennig & myself went to the Headquarters, then returned to the office. We then went to Lieutenant Stuber’s and the string band serenaded him. We were called in and introduced to his wife, and drank to their health & happiness & then left. I then went to barracks. Retired at 9 o’clock. Cool tonight.

Thursday January 22nd…. Went to office, steam tug returned from Havana having gone for the mail. Unsuccessful. She reports the rebel steamer Oreto in the harbor, being a mate of the Alabama or 290 as she is termed, and therefore returned as quick as possible. The Blacks at this place have hoisted flags, being on account of Lincoln’s proclamation, making them free. The San Jacinto left for Havana this evening in pursuit of the rebel steamer Oreto. Retired at 9 o’clock.

Friday January 23rd…. Busy in office all day. After supper went to camp. Retired at 9 o’clock.

Saturday January 24th. Busy in office all day. The tug having again gone to Havana for the mail, returned today with the mail. I received nothing. No news of any account. Took a walk after supper with Ginkinger, then went to camp. Retired at 9 p.m.

Sunday January 25th…. Ed. Crader & mself went out to the beach all morning procuring shells. Visited the salt factory, which is fast going to ruin. Returned by 1 o’clock. Wrote a letter for Weisbach to a friend of his, then lay in the bunk for the remainder of the afternoon reading a book. ‘Sam Slick’ Sayings & Doings.’ After dress parade went to our mess and took supper. Will Weiss & myself attended Methodist Church. After which went to Black Church, where we heard a very good address by Chaplain of 53rd Massachusetts.  Regiment being a portion of Banks Expedition & put in this port last night for coal. The Blacks intend having a parade in honor of their freedom. Retired at 9:30. Weather fine.

Monday January 26th…. Read a novelette in the afternoon. After supper Weiss, Ginkinger & myself went to Black Church. They made arrangements for the parade they intend giving. Thursday was the day appointed. This evening the prize steamer Virginia arrived in the harbor, having been captured by the gunboat Sonoma….

Tuesday January 27th…. The steamer Curubria arrived at noon from New Orleans…. After supper, Mennig, Weiss & myself attended Black Church, after which went to our sutler. Remained there a short time then visited the court house where some of our boys give an entertainment occasionally. After which went to barracks. Retired at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday January 28th. Rose as usual had a heavy fall of rain during last night and very windy. Busy in the office all day. Slight sprinkling after dinner. Went to barracks after supper. Spent evening with P. Berndt & others. Retired at 9:00. Weather very windy & cool.

Thursday January 29th…. Busy in office until 10 o’clock. Mennig & myself then went to courthouse where the Blacks congregate for a parade today in honor of their freedom. They marched up to the colonel’s headquarters and gave him 3 cheers. They marched through most of the streets. There were a few stones thrown at them in passing through Conktown. At 3 p.m. they had a dinner at the Baracoon on the beach, and had dancing. It created great excitement in the city and fighting amongst a few. In the evening Wm. Weiss, Ginkinger, Fritz Jacobs & myself spent most of the evening at McGrath’s. Ginkinger & myself procedure secesh badges, worn by a few Young Ladies. The Ladies had one taken from them by a soldier, and we seeing it done, walked up to them, and under the plea of reporting to the Colonel the soldiers conduct, and by persuasive language procured two as samples. This place is altogether secesh, it proved itself this day, by their conduct. Tonight a member of Company E received a flesh wound, from a brother soldier, not purposely though, he having fired at a Black. Retired at 10 o’clock.

Friday January 30th….. Very cool this morning. Busy all day…. This morning the McClellan arrived at the wharf. She brought a mail from the north. Received a letter from Brother Molton and one from Cousin Sallie Newhard. Received papers dating to the 23 inst. News seems to be good again, a great victory in Arkansas, General Foster harassing the enemy in North Carolina, and Burnside has again crossed the Rappahannock, and, stirring news can be expected shortly. There are rumors of peace. Went to barracks at 9 and retired at 9:30. Cool this evening.

Saturday January 31st…. Busy all day in office. The gunboat Hunstville arrived today having on board a party of Contrabands from Apalachicola. After supper took a walk about the city, then went to barracks. Slight rain this evening.

Sunday February 1st…. Went to office after breakfast, remained about there until noon. Had John Lawall, We. Weiss, T. Leisenring, Sam. Smith & Dan. Wannermacher to dinner. After dinner went to wharf and passed most of the afternoon there, talking, &c. Had supper at 4 o’clock. Mennig, Ginkinger & myself then went to headquarters and witnessed dress parade at 6 o’clock, of Companies B and E, the band playing. After which Ginkinger, Weiss & myself attended Catholic Church, then went to barracks & retired.

Monday February 2nd…. After breakfast went to office. Very busy all day. Raining most of the day…. The North Star arrived from New Orleans, bound for New York having on board a few discharged soldiers, and a good many passengers. In the evening, rained. Retired at 9 p.m.

Tuesday February 3rd…. Busy in the office. At 3 o’clock this afternoon the steamer Matanzas arrived having on board the 90th New York Regiment who come to relieve us. They took us quite by surprise, we having just been comfortably situated. Received an old letter from Uncle Newhard, with this steamer, having lain at Beaufort, with Uncle’s photograph. Worked at the accounts until 11 o’clock tonight and wrote two letters, one to Mary and one to Aunt Elemina. Slept at the Provost Marshall’s house tonight.

February 4th Wednesday…. Received three letters today which had gone to the company. One from Sister Mary, one from Molton & one from Aunt Margaret, very satisfactory. Very busy all day working at the accounts. After supper went to Lighthouse Barracks and packed up my effects and took them to the office. Retired at 11 o’clock. Weather fine.

February 5th Thursday…. Busy all day, working at the accounts until 2 o’clock. McGrath & myself, slept in the office tonight, went to work again early in the morning.

February 6th Friday. Very stormy and raining this morning, finished the accounts so far as to be enabled to make out entirely when we arrive at Beaufort. Packed up and placed on board all my effect at 4 o’clock. The companies were all marched on board at 5 o’clock. The four companies in Tortugas will be relieved in a few days. Mennig, Ginkinger & myself spent the evening at McGrath’s, left at about 11 o’clock and he actually cried when bidding us good bye. Slept to night at the Provost Marshal’s office. There is great excitement amongst the citizens on account of our leaving. Many intend leaving the island and some have done so already.

Saturday February 7th. Rose at 5 o’clock. Took a cup of coffee at the coffee house opposite the Provost Marshal’s office, then took a short walk about the city, probably for the last time. We then got aboard the steamer (she is iron clad). We left the wharf at ½ past 6 o’clock. Many citizens being on the wharf. Fine sailing all day. Retired at 7 o’clock.