William B. Howard diary, 1862-1863

This diary is part of the Williams-Womble Collection. The soldier who wrote the diary was thought to be Bry Howard, the great-great uncle of Miss Faydene Barbee, the donor of the collection. According to family tradition, Howard was killed in battle while serving with the Seventh Regiment N.C. Troops. In the North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, there was no “B. Howard” listed with that unit. But there is a William B. Howard in the 7th Regiment who enlisted August 14, 1861 and died at Gettysburg. It is likely that the soldier who wrote this diary was in fact William B. Howard since events described in it match his documented service in the Confederate army.

The diary begins on May 4, 1862 as the Seventh Regiment N.C. troops leave Kinston North Carolina and heads to Gordonsville Virginia. Howard recounts, in great detail, his company’s movements in Northern Virginia and recalls the numerous battles he fought in. The detailed information Howard provides in his diary helped us identify the battles he fought in. He also describes the amount of prisoners taken, supplies captured, as well the number of soldiers wounded and or killed after nearly every battle.

Listed below are battles that Howard fought in. Each item will link you directly to the page in Howard’s diary that corresponds to the battle.

Battle of Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862

Battle of Glendale or Frayser’s Farm, June 30, 1862

Battle of Cedar Run, August 9, 1862

Second Manassas, August 28-29, 1862

Battle of Chantilly or Ox Hill, September 1, 1862

Battle of Harpers Ferry (Capture of Harpers Ferry), September 14, 1862

The Battle of Shepherdstown, September 19-20, 1862

Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862

Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863

The diary ends on June 27, 1863 with Howard’s company marching into Pennsylvania

Howard seems to have very optimistic view of the war and the Confederacy. He writes of the brave men and the cause in which they fight, which is a contrast compared to letters that are also part of this collection. To view the letters from other members of the family, you can key word search Williams-Womble.

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