“Lewis Rosenberger’s Civil War Diary”

Carroll County Times article for 23 April 1995

By Jay A. Graybeal

This month marks the 130th anniversaries of the Civil War Battle of Appomattox Court House, the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and the assassination of President Lincoln. For the hundreds of local men in the Union and Confederate armed forces, the end of the war meant that they would soon return to their loved ones.

One such soldier was Corporal Lewis Rosenberger of Co. A, 6th Regiment, Maryland Volunteer Infantry. We are fortunate that Cpl. Rosenberger kept a daily diary and that his family preserved the diary and a photograph of him in uniform. Lewis Rosenberger enlisted in Co. A, 6th Maryland Infantry on August 11, 1862; he was 18 years and 5 months old at the time of his enlistment. He served with his regiment until June 15, 1863 when he was captured at the Battle of Winchester, Va. After imprisonment at Richmond, he was paroled at City Point on July 23, 1863. He soon returned to his regiment and served until honorably discharged on June 20, 1865.

A transcription of Rosenberger’s 1864 and 1865 diaries was prepared by Jean Brown Hall and given the Historical Society in 1982, courtesy of her cousin Raymond F. Beard, Jr. Lewis Rosenberger was Mrs. Hall’s great grandmother’s brother. A selection of Cpl. Rosenberger’s unedited diary entries for April 1865 provide a interesting glimpse of soldier life in the closing weeks of the war.

April 1865 Camp 6th Md Regt.1st. Everything was still today. Some fireing on the right and left At 10 o’ck in the night the fireing comence all along our line. The Rebles dit not open any of their guns. The news came in camp that Gen Sheridan took a lot of prisoners and we goin train. The men were all in good spirits.

2nd. At 1 am we formed 4 lines of battle in front of their works and at 4 am we charged their works and took them with a great number of prisoners [illegible] and drove down to the south side of R Road. The 24th and 25th also charged and took a large number of Rebles and other things. At 1 O’ck we came back from the RR and formed in front of Petersburg to draw their tension while the 24th and 25th charged their works which they dit and was successful in taking them. This was a fine day the men seemed to be in good spirits specialy when they had the Rebles running from their streng works.

5th. This morning at 4 o’ck we took up the line of march in a western direction. At 8 o’ck we halted and made breakfast. This was a fine morning. The men were all in good spirits. We had very hard roads to march the ground was so souft and wet and at 7 o’ck in the evening we halted near Amelia Court House when we overtook the calvilary and the fifth and second corps.

Camp near Amelia court house

6th. line of march at 6 am a scout dit not find any Rebs. At 3 o’ck in the evening we overtook the enemy and a general engagement comenced our division and the first was engaged. We charged the enemy lines and took them and a large number of prisoners and artilary and a wagon train. This was a hard battle. The enemy lost heavy in killed and wounded more than we dit. At 8 o’ck in the evening we encamp near the Battleground for the night. The men were all in good spirits after a glorous victory.

7th. Camp near Battleground. All was quiet. This morning some calvary moved out to the front. At 8 o’ck we moved toward Farmersville Va. At 7 o’ck we arrived in Farmersville Va where we formed a gernetions with the whole army. The calvilery were engaged with some of Lee’s rear guard. At 8 o’ck this evening we crossed the river near the town and encamp on the west side for the night. The cavilery capture some more of their supplys today.

8th. Before 8 o’ck moved out a western direction. At 11 we halted and got rasions and at 12 started again on the same road. At 9 in the evening halted for the night. There was some fighting in front. Gen. U.S. Grant and Meade passed us today.

9th. Sunday morning at 7 o’ck we moved out toward Lynchburg Va. At 2 o’ck we stopped to make dinner. At 5 o’ck Gen. Lee surrendered his army to Leiut. Gen. U.S. Grant. There was a great time in camp amongst the men and officers after Lee surrendered. Gen. Seymour made a speech to his men also Gen. [illegible]. the men all seem [to go] wild this evening. This was a cloudy day.

16th. Easter Sunday. This was a fine day everyting was gay and lively. It was announced in camp this morning that Pres. A. Lincoln was shot yesterday in Washington at a theatre and was wounded.

Camp near Burkeville

17th. All was still in camp today all the men were all in good spirits. This was a fine day. The orders was read on dresperate [dress parade] that President Lincoln was [in] bad pain the effects of being shot. Nothing else was in camp of any account.

18th. All was quiet in camp the men were all in good spirits and health. Today we fix up our tents from the ground this was a fine day and warm.

19th. Everything was quiet in camp today. At 2 o’ck in the evening there was services at Bri H.Q. in mourn for Presd A. Lincoln. The whole Brigade was present several ministers spoke and Gen. J. Keifer and Leuit Col. Snider and Maj [illegible] of the 9th heavy NY Artilary.

The 6th Maryland remained in Virginia and was mustered out at Washington, D. C. in June. Cpl. Rosenberger returned home after the war and later married Isabel Hamelin in Baltimore. He applied for and received a veteran’s pension based on Civil War service. The transcription of his diaries is availble for researchers at the Historical Society of Carroll County during regular library hours.
Photo Caption: Cpl. Lewis Rosenberger, Co. A, 6th Maryland Infantry posed in front of a painted backdrop in this copy of a wartime image. The decorative border visible at the bottom and right edges indicates that the original image was a cased ambrotype or a tintype. Collection of Jean Brown Hall, copy photograph courtesy of the U. S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.