October 25, 1864: Wilbur Wightman Gramling Diary

The following post is part of an ongoing series entitled Civil War Voices from Florida. Each day in October 2014, Florida Memory will post a document from the collections of the State Archives of Florida written exactly 150 years before that date, in October 1864.

We have a two-for-one deal to offer our readers for today’s Civil War Voices post! Today’s post is intended to give you a look at Wilbur Wightman Gramling’s October 25, 1864 diary entry, but his entry from the 24th was interesting enough we were obliged to include it as well. If you’re joining us for the first time, visit the Civil War Voices main page to find earlier entries from Floridian soldier Wilbur Wightman Gramling, explaining how he came to be a prisoner of war at Elmira, New York.

Excerpt from a transcript of the diary of Wilbur Wightman Gramling (Collection M88-70, State Archives of Florida).

Excerpt from a transcript of the diary of Wilbur Wightman Gramling (Collection M88-70, State Archives of Florida).


Monday, Oct. 24, 1864. More tunneling has been going on but was reported by some galvanized demons. Would soon have been through. Weather cloudy but little rain. Wrote to Miss Ida Duncanson today.

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 1864. Reported in camps that Grant has given up Petersburg and is falling back to Washington. My health remains very good. Weather very mild, fair and pleasant. The people of Elmira have kept the old cannon pretty busy today.

Gramling’s diary entry of the 24th references only one of the latest attempts by Confederate prisoners of war at Elmira, New York to tunnel their way out. According to the recollections of an Elmira prisoner named Washington Traweek, a few soldiers escaped by tunneling on October 7, 1864. He and a few of his friends attempted to build a tunnel of their own, but were caught, as Gramling reports.

On the 25th, Gramling repeats reports that Union General Ulysses S. Grant had given up Petersburg, Virginia and was falling back to Washington. Grant had not, in fact, given up Petersburg and would continue to press Confederate forces in that region. This campaign would be costly to both sides, but ultimately  the Union would emerge victorious.

For more information about Florida and Floridians during the Civil War, check out the related resources below. Also, come back tomorrow for another edition of Civil War Voices. We’ll hear from General William Miller, commander of the Florida Reserves.

Related Resources on Florida Memory:

Related Resources at the State Archives of Florida:

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