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
Civil War Archive of 2nd Lieut. Ephraim L. Hackett, Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery
Lot # 65 - Civil War Archive of 2nd Lieut. Ephraim L. Hackett, Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery
54 letters (36 soldier’s letter; 15 pre- and post-war). Born in Maine in February 1837, Ephraim L. Hackett was living in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in August 1861, when he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 1st Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. Small in number and mobile, the Battery recruited b... > Item Details
Group of 34-Star American Parade Flags
Lot # 83 - Group of 34-Star American Parade Flags
Lot of 3 glazed cotton, printed parade flags, each with 34 stars configured in 5/6/6/6/6/5 horizontal rows, 7.75 x 10.75 in., each mounted on wooden dowel. Kansas was admitted as the 34th State in 1861. > 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
Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of 12th NYSM Pards by Anson
Lot # 3 - Sixth Plate Daguerreotype of 12th NYSM Pards by Anson
A fine antebellum military portrait by Anson featuring two unidentified enlisted members of the 12th Regiment New York State Militia wearing the distinctive dress uniform of the corps, ca 1852. Rufus Anson operated a successful studio in the highly competitive New York City market between 1851 and ... > Item Details
Edward Curtis Platinum Photograph, <i>Canon de Chelly</i>
Lot # 338 - Edward Curtis Platinum Photograph, Canon de Chelly
Platinum photograph, Canon de Chelly, signed by Curtis at lower left in negative, 10.25 x 13.5 in. > Item Details
Rare Daniel S. Mitchell & John Hillers American Indian CDV Album
Lot # 298 - Rare Daniel S. Mitchell & John Hillers American Indian CDV Album
Lot of 36 CDVs housed in a period album with inked identifications on most pages. 24 are by Daniel S. Mitchell, 15 with his Cheyenne, WY studio backmark, the others backed the same way but without the Mitchell marking. Seven by Hillers, on his yellow or green mounts lacking an imprint, plus 4 CDVs ... > Item Details
Charles J. Belden Photograph of Grazing Cattle
Lot # 259 - Charles J. Belden Photograph of Grazing Cattle
Silver gelatin photograph with backstamp Photo Copyright by Charles J. Belden Z/T Ranch Pitchfork, Wyoming, capturing a distant view of a lone cowboy overseeing cattle grazing on the open range, with a mountainous range as a backdrop, ca 1910s-1940s, 7.5 x 12.25 in. image, 11.5 x 14.5 in. overall. C... > Item Details
Rare <i>Wigwam Edition</i> Lincoln Campaign Biography
Lot # 171 - Rare Wigwam Edition Lincoln Campaign Biography
The Life, Speeches, and Public Services of Abram(sic) Lincoln: The Wigwam Edition. New York: Rudd & Carlton, 1860. 12mo, paper wraps with woodcut portrait on cover and frontis, 117pp plus 2pp ads. [Monaghan 92] One of the finest copies of the Wigwam Edition that we have seen in terms of condition.... > Item Details
Civil War 1st Lieutenant Bars of W.P. Hagadorn, New York 125th Infantry, POW
Lot # 51 - Civil War 1st Lieutenant Bars of W.P. Hagadorn, New York 125th Infantry, POW
Lot of 3, including two 1st Lieutenant bars, and a post-Civil War photograph of an aged W.P. Hagedorn wearing several GAR medals on his lapel and holding a sword in hand, dated on verso Aug. 25, 1918, 4 x 4 in. In August of 1862, at the age of 19, William P. Hagadorn enlisted as a Private at Schaght... > Item Details
Civil War Archive of William Hobbs, 70th Indiana Infantry
Lot # 63 - Civil War Archive of William Hobbs, 70th Indiana Infantry
35 items (29 soldier’s letters), 1862-1865. A soldier in the 70th Indiana, William Hobbs, wrote home regularly to his family to keep them up apprised of his experiences in the Civil War. Despite being an invading army in enemy territory, Hobbs’s experiences during the first year and a half of his s... > Item Details
Archive of Lieut. Col. Alfred Neafie, 156th New York Infantry
Lot # 18 - Archive of Lieut. Col. Alfred Neafie, 156th New York Infantry
Lot of 10 items related to Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Neafie, including: CDV studio portrait of Neafie in uniform, posed with his wife Anne Preston; 2 Captain's shoulder straps; 3 Lieut. Col. straps; 1 Brigadier General's star; 2 spurs; and a silk ribbon from the 7th Reunion of the 156th New York Reg... > Item Details
Darius Kinsey Photographs of the Northwestern Washington State Landscape
Lot # 250 - Darius Kinsey Photographs of the Northwestern Washington State Landscape
Lot of 8 silver gelatin photographs, each with Darius Kinsey's Seattle copyright line written in the negative, each 14.5 x 20 in. Includes the following photographs titled in the negatives: 226L. Close Up View of Giant Stepping Stones, Skagit River, Wash., 1922; 227D. Picturesque View of Skagit R. a... > Item Details
Robert E. Lee, Envelope Addressed in Lee's Hand
Lot # 71 - Robert E. Lee, Envelope Addressed in Lee's Hand
Addressed to Genl. Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee, Tunstall's Station P.O., New Kent Co., Virginia with a cancelled 3 cent stamp (locomotive, issued March 27, 1869). Envelope is postmarked Oct. 19 (but, of course, with no year). South Carolina Historical Society holds a letter from Robert E. Lee to Fitzhugh da... > Item Details
Civil War Archive of William M. Fisher, 103rd Ohio Infantry
Lot # 59 - Civil War Archive of William M. Fisher, 103rd Ohio Infantry
38 soldiers letters, 1862-1865. A young man from Lorain County, Ohio, William Fisher enlisted at Cleveland in August 1862 to help preserve the union. His regiment, the 103rd Ohio Infantry, was attached to the Army of Kentucky, occupying the state, fighting guerrillas, and protecting supply lines fo... > Item Details
Civil War Archive of Letters To and From Efner McNall, 6th NY Cavalry
Lot # 55 - Civil War Archive of Letters To and From Efner McNall, 6th NY Cavalry
50 items (including 13 soldiers letters), dating from 1859-1865. Ef McNall was living in Cadiz, in the far western reaches of Cattaraugus County, New York, when the Civil War came calling. As a member of the 6th New York Cavalry, he rode across Virginia, taking part in dozens of skirmishes, battles... > Item Details
24-Star American Flag
Lot # 78 - 24-Star American Flag
Muslin, 46 x 83 in., with 24 hand-sewn, double-appliqued cotton stars configured in 6/6/6/6 horizontal rows of muslin canton. The fly is constructed of 13 hand-sewn muslin stripes. The muslin hoist is marked G. King(?) along the top edge, with a few other inked letters on hoist that are illegible. C... > Item Details
Chief Little Head Cabinet Photograph
Lot # 302 - Chief Little Head Cabinet Photograph
A fine albumen cabinet card photograph of Cheyenne Chief Little Head identified in pencil on mount below image, unmarked, but most likely taken by F. Jay Haynes. With a tag attached to verso that reads Second International Congress of Eugenics Exhibit of Scientific Studies at the American Museum of ... > Item Details
Sebastian Munster Map of the New World, ca 1550
Lot # 239 - Sebastian Munster Map of the New World, ca 1550
Munster, Sebastian (1488-1552) Die neuwen Inseln - So hinder Hispanien gegen Orient bey dem land Indie ligen. Basle, ca 1540-1556. Woodcut, not colored. 10 x 13.25 in. on 12.5 x 15.75 in. sheet. Text in title block on verso in German. Sebastian Munster set the stage for cartographers for the next fo... > Item Details
Documents Pertaining to Apache Soldiers in U.S. Army Service,
Lot # 324 - Documents Pertaining to Apache Soldiers in U.S. Army Service, "I" Company, 12th U.S. Infantry at Mt. Vernon, AL Apache POW Camp
Company “I” of the 12th U.S. Infantry (“I” for “Indian”) was raised from the Apache prisoners of war held at Mt. Vernon, AL, and included men from Geronimo’s warband as well as Cochise’s son and grandson. Commanded by Lt Charles C Ballou, the Apaches wore the same U.S. Army issue uniforms as regula... > Item Details
Irwin Cabinet Photograph of Comanche Indians Gambling
Lot # 312 - Irwin Cabinet Photograph of Comanche Indians Gambling
Cabinet card photograph depicting Comanche Indians on a reservation gambling, with Irwin's Chickasha, Indian Territory imprint below image on mount. Cowan's previously offered the same photograph, which was identified on verso as Comanche Indians playing Monte near Ft. Sill. The card game is occurri... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20