Lot 60    

Civil War Diary of Levi McConkey, 67th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
12/2/2011 - American History, Including the Civil War
2 pocket diaries; two tintypes, 1864-1865.

Corporal Levi McConkey was a survivor: a survivor of the Civil War and a survivor of the 67th Ohio Infantry, a regiment that suffered more than its share of losses. A three-year regiment organized in the fall and winter 1861-1862, the 67th Ohio took it on the chin from their first forays into the field in western Virginia through the bitter end of the war. After the rigors of the Peninsular campaign in 1862, the regiment reported only 300 men fit for duty, and things did not soon improve. Sent to the Carolinas to take part in the siege of Charleston, they sustained heavy losses during the assault on Fort Wagner, and after their reenlistment and a return to Virginia, they took heavy casualties at the Battle of Chester Station and Bermuda Hundred in May 1864. To cap their misfortunes, the regiment lost a third of the men who charged and captured the enemy’s rifle pits at Deep Bottom in August. By some counts, the 67th was under fire 200 times in 1864 alone, with a casualty rate approaching 60%. Those who survived took part in the Siege of Petersburg and were present to witness the surrender at Appomattox.

Writing daily in his diary, McConkey’s entries are typical of smaller pocket diaries of the era, with very brief and sometimes nearly telegraphic writing. His first diary begins March 24, 1864, when McConkey left home from his reenlistment furlough, but it begins in earnest in May, when the 67th Ohio entered a steady period of combat:

May 10 Camped within five miles of Petersburg fighting in the front bringing in some wounded tore up about five miles of the Petersburg & Richmond railroad rebels in the rear got into a fight drove the rebels. Took a prisoner. Wednesday, 11. Come back to camp last night brought in 10 Rebbel prisoners today moved Head quarters. Out of rations pretty well used up from the fatigues of our march... Friday, 13. Received orders to march. Started about 9 clock AM towards the Petersburg & Ritchmond RR come onto the rebbels near Chester Station our men drove them at all points to within 2 miles of Ft. Darling & from Ritchmnd. Saturday, 14. Fighting still gowing on, bullets and shell whistling over our heads bringing back a good many wounded. Raining today or men still driving the Rebbels back pretty well worn out. Sunday, 15. Fighting still gowing on don’t gain mutch ground. Rebbels charging on Our lines every once and while but gets Repulsed every time. Still bringing in wounded. Out of rations and tired. Health good. Monday, 16. This morning verry foggy. Rebbels take advantage of it, and make two or three successful charges on our lines with superior force. Ordered to retreat just got away in time without being captured.... Tuesday, 17. Today our Gunboats are engaged hunting out torpedoes in the James River, everything quiet...

Friday, May 20. This morning the Rebbels come down on our men with vengeance. Charged and recharged on our rifle pits but got repulsed with heavy loss. Captured brig. Gen Wakler & another Gen named I know not both wounded. Our loss considerable.

Throughout June and July, McConkey reports a steady stream of Confederate deserters coming in, and he includes a frenetic account of Deep Bottom in August that gives a hint of that affair: Monday, 15. Recrossed this morning and crossed back again on another pontoon opposite four mile crick. Fighting gowing on in the front bringing back a great many wounded today verry warm and sultry. Tuesday, 16. Our troops still advancing verry heavy fighting at the front bringing back a great many wounded. Our brigade charged on the rebs & took 230 pris 2 stand of colers... Despite the bloodshed and trauma, it did not take the irrepressible McConkey long to get on with things. On September 8, he seems to have returned to his normal self: Was detailed to hunt up some skedadlers today that was hid back in the woods to get rid of duty. Had a big time, ketched 4 of them...

The diary has few entries from mid-October to end of year, but he returns to form in 1865 while recording the final weeks of the conflict in Virginia, which constitutes perhaps the most interesting section of his diaries. He describes the critical moment at Petersburg in at somewhat greater length than usual: April 1, 1865: Heavy skirmishing both on right & left today in the evening. Recd marching orders & moved about 3 miles farther to the left lay in line of battle all night. Such a night I never put over a continual musketry fire all nite. Sun 2d. Our Brigade was massed this morning to assault the Rebble works order was countermanded. The 6th Corps breaking through their lines on our right. Needed out assistance. We immediately went to their assistance marched about five miles part of the time on the double quick. Brigade charged on fort Greg the last fort that protected Petersburg took it and about 1500 prisoners our loss heavy.

Going for the jugular, the Army of the Potomac went riding after the shattered Army of Northern Virginia, and McConkey had the shotgun seat. Sat 8th. Continued our march found no enemy in our front marched to cut off Gen Lee halter about 12 o’clock at night after marching about 37 miles. Sun 9th. Under arms this morning at 3 clock ordered forward went about 3 miles & got on the extreme right flank of Gen Lee southwest of Appomattox St House where our cavalry was skirmishing with the enemy. We was immediately pushed forward on the double quick & was formed in line of battle. Our cavalry immediately fell back and was immediately checked the enemy’s advance. By this time we had them entirely cut off from the south. Our lines was immediately ordered forward. our lines was gradually closing in on them when we was ordered to halt. in a short time we received news that Lee & his whole Army had surrendered. We all pointed out guns into the air & discharged them, in fact we was so overjoyed we knew not what to doe being verry tied we immediately went into camp. This evening our men issued 27 thousand rations to the Confederate Army...

McConkey includes only a brief reference to the assassination of President Lincoln, and his diary ends with his discharge on June 22, 1865. The two tintypes included with the collection are first a classic studio image of two Civil War soldiers in uniform, one a corporal (McConkey?), the other a man with a revolver prominently displayed, and second a gem tintype in pinback frame depicting an older man.

A tough man in a tough unit, Levi McConkey made up for a lack of eloquence with exceptional experiences. Some wear and fragile hinges on diaries, but condition as expected, with only minor soiling.
Sold: $1,175.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Charles J. Belden Photograph of a Ranch Hand Shearing Sheep
Lot # 266 - Charles J. Belden Photograph of a Ranch Hand Shearing Sheep
Silver gelatin photograph, unmarked, but by Charles Belden, capturing a ranch hand in the act of shearing sheep, ca 1910s-1930s, 7.5 x 9.5 in. image, 8 x 10 in. overall. Charles J. Belden (1888-1963) was born in San Francisco into a wealthy California family. He developed a life-long passion for pho... > Item Details
Mid-to-Late 19th Century Archive of 25 Diaries from a Southwest Ohio Family
Lot # 237 - Mid-to-Late 19th Century Archive of 25 Diaries from a Southwest Ohio Family
25 pocket diaries, 1868-1899. Packed with personal details and insights into the ups and downs of daily lives, diaries such as those of the Hulse and Miller families reveal more about rural life than any corresponding weight of letters. David Hulse, the patriarch of the Hulse family, was born in Un... > Item Details
John Church, Music Publisher, Archive, Including Daguerreotypes
Lot # 117 - John Church, Music Publisher, Archive, Including Daguerreotypes
Lot includes a sixth plate daguerreotype of Church, housed in a full pressed paper case, and an uncased ninth plate daguerreotype with the printed card of C.V. Allen's Boston studio, inked My Father, John Church, PLUS two music books by Church, family photographs, and documents relating to his estat... > Item Details
Geronimo Cabinet Photograph by Irwin, Chickasha, Indian Territory
Lot # 320 - Geronimo Cabinet Photograph by Irwin, Chickasha, Indian Territory
Albumen cabinet card photograph of Apache Chief Geronimo holding a rare Dance & Bros. Confederate revolver, with Irwin's Chickasha, Indian Territory imprint below image on mount, ca 1890. > Item Details
Charles J. Belden Photograph of Cattle
Lot # 262 - Charles J. Belden Photograph of Cattle
Silver gelatin photograph, unmarked, but by Charles Belden, capturing a small group of cattle facing the camera, almost as if they are posing for the photograph, ca 1910s-1930s, 11.25 x 15.25 in. image, 12 x 16 in. overall. Charles J. Belden (1888-1963) was born in San Francisco into a wealthy Calif... > Item Details
Elmira, NY Civil War Prison Camp Archive of Prisoner's Letters & Photographs
Lot # 69 - Elmira, NY Civil War Prison Camp Archive of Prisoner's Letters & Photographs
11 items (7 documents, 3 cdvs, stereoview). Elmira may not be the largest or most visited city in New York, but during the Civil War, it was the focus of extraordinary attention, and not all positive. In July 1864, one of the barracks at the military post at Elmira was converted into a prisoner of... > Item Details
William Henry Harrison Campaign Flag Banner
Lot # 138 - William Henry Harrison Campaign Flag Banner
Red, white, and blue printed silk flag banner, 25.5 x 28 in., with legend in brown ink: Harrison and Reform, printed between red stripes. Motifs of large ball, log cabin, and the United States Capitol. Ball has legend in brown ink: Many Times Improve as On We Move/ To Guide the Ship We'll Try Old Ti... > Item Details
Irwin Cabinet Photographs of American Indian Women
Lot # 315 - Irwin Cabinet Photographs of American Indian Women
Lot of 2 cabinet card photographs depicting American Indian women, each with Irwin's Chickasha, Indian Territory imprint below image on mount. Includes the following portraits, identified on verso: Indian Squaws of Anadarko; and "Cynthia" Apache interpretor [sic]. > Item Details
Rare <i>Bell & Everett</i> Multi-Colored Jugate <i>Union Badge for the Campaign of 1860</i>
Lot # 169 - Rare Bell & Everett Multi-Colored Jugate Union Badge for the Campaign of 1860
Extremely rare silk, multi-colored jugate ribbon featuring bust portraits of John Bell and Edward Everett, Constitutional Union Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates for 1860, marked below M. Hart Eng. [Engraver] / McCoull & Slater Prts. [Printers] Balt., framed within a bell with an America... > Item Details
Civil War Archive of First Sgt. Jesse L. Pryer, 39th Pennsylvania Infantry, Including Letter Describing Battle of Gettysburg
Lot # 44 - Civil War Archive of First Sgt. Jesse L. Pryer, 39th Pennsylvania Infantry, Including Letter Describing Battle of Gettysburg
12 items. As part of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, the 39th Pennsylvania Infantry (or 10th Reserves) earned their laurels through their gallant service with the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. Led by generals such as George Gordon Meade and Samuel W. Crawford, the Division in which the ... > Item Details
Iron Reap Hook or Scythe that Purportedly Belonged to Thomas Lincoln & Was Used by Abraham Lincoln
Lot # 179 - Iron Reap Hook or Scythe that Purportedly Belonged to Thomas Lincoln & Was Used by Abraham Lincoln
Hand-forged reap hook attached to wood handle, 29 in. ln. According to the consignor, the handle once had a thick coat of black paint, which he believes was applied prior to the 20th century. This coat of paint has gradually chipped away over the years. The lot also includes 8 documents and letters ... > Item Details
Charles J. Belden Photograph of a Cowhand
Lot # 257 - Charles J. Belden Photograph of a Cowhand
Silver gelatin photograph, unmarked, but attributed to Charles Belden, depicting a well-dressed, female cowhand in a relaxed pose, with the open range at her back, ca 1910s-1930s, 12 x 16 in. Charles J. Belden (1888-1963) was born in San Francisco into a wealthy California family. He developed a lif... > Item Details
Alexander Gardner Albumen Photograph, the Burned Ruins of Haxall's Mills, Richmond, VA
Lot # 34 - Alexander Gardner Albumen Photograph, the Burned Ruins of Haxall's Mills, Richmond, VA
Albumen photograph capturing the burned ruins of Haxall's flour mills in Richmond, VA, with L.C. Handy's Studio, Washington, D.C. backstamp, 6.5 x 8.5 in., unmounted, made in the 1860s from the original, large format, wet-plate glass negative. Alexander Gardner, or one of his operators, is credited ... > Item Details
Taber Bas-Relief Photograph of Thomas Hill, American Artist, with Autograph
Lot # 129 - Taber Bas-Relief Photograph of Thomas Hill, American Artist, with Autograph
Rare platinum bas-relief photograph of well-known, 19th century American artist, Thomas Hill, circular, 6 in. dia., in original mat, 8.25 x 8.25 in. overall. With Taber's San Francisco imprint embossed beneath the photograph and printed on mat's verso, plus lined paper attached to mat that r... > Item Details
Civil War Archive of Brigadier General Alfred Duffie
Lot # 40 - Civil War Archive of Brigadier General Alfred Duffie
19 items, dating from 1838-1880. Like the Revolution before it, the all-American fight known as the Civil War witnessed the participation of a number of prominent European military men. Among the many Frenchmen who came to observe or serve was the son of a French count and graduate of the military ... > Item Details
<i>New York Daily Tribune</i> of April 15, 1865, Reporting Lincoln's Assassination
Lot # 181 - New York Daily Tribune of April 15, 1865, Reporting Lincoln's Assassination
8pp, 15 x 21 in. All columns are separated by black mourning rule, but the news of the assassination does not appear until the third column of page 4, under the heading Highly Important! / The President Shot!, followed by 11 brief dispatches, many contradictory, regarding the state of President Lin... > Item Details
CDVs of Members of the Lincoln Conspirators Military Trial Commission
Lot # 197 - CDVs of Members of the Lincoln Conspirators Military Trial Commission
Lot of 3 cdvs, including: David Hunter (1802-1886), with E. Anthony, NY backmark. During the Civil War, Major General Hunter was extremely controversial and held many posts. His actions in declaring slavery abolished in South Carolina and burning Confederate properties, including the Virginia Govern... > Item Details
Superior Civil War Half Plate Tintype of a Union Corporal
Lot # 7 - Superior Civil War Half Plate Tintype of a Union Corporal
Anonymous half plate tintype of a Union Corporal in full-length standing pose, in front of a painted backdrop depicting a soldier's camp with tents, a cannon, a flag, and fort in the distance. With gilt applied to the Corporal's buttons and elements of his cap. Housed in a thermoplastic wall frame, ... > Item Details
General Meade & Staff Albumen Photograph
Lot # 28 - General Meade & Staff Albumen Photograph
Albumen photograph identified on mat below portrait Mead [sic] & Staff, unmarked, but taken by Mathew Brady at Cold Harbor, VA, on June 12, 1864, with numbers inked on mount below image but no corresponding list of names identifying individuals in the photograph, 4.25 x 7.5 in., mounted and matted, ... > Item Details
Thomas Starr King, Famous Abolitionist and Early California Settler, Daguerreotype
Lot # 110 - Thomas Starr King, Famous Abolitionist and Early California Settler, Daguerreotype
Anonymous sixth plate daguerreotype of Thomas Starr King (1824-1864), housed in half case. King, born in New York City, was forced to leave school at the age of 15 as the sole support of his family. King went on to begin a program of self study for the ministry, and by the age of 20, he took over hi... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: