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Octave Bruso Diary: Week of August 7, 1864

Note: This is one week’s worth of diary entries of Octave Bruso, who participated in the Siege of Petersburg as a member of the 50th New York Engineers.1

Sunday August 7,1864

Warm day. Wrote to my wife. Preaching at Three o’clock P.M. I attended! A good sermon preached…(Editor: page ripped)


Monday August 8,1864

Warm day. Sap (ed: unclear) drill by Major Brainard in the morning and afternoon for the benefit of the Non. Comd officers of the Regt. Recieved a letter from my sister Malvina with her picture.


BRAINARD, WESLEY.—Age, 28 years. Enrolled, August 15, 1861, at Rome; mustered in as captain, Co. C, September 17, 1861, to serve three years; major, November 28, 1862; mustered out, December 12, 1864, to receive promotion as colonel, Fifteenth New York Engineers; commissioned captain, October 14, 1861, with rank from September 17, 1861, original; major, December 29,1862, with rank from November 27,1862, original. (Report of the Adjutant General)


Tuesday August 9,1864

Pleasent day. Wrote to my sister Malvina. Flying (Editor: unclear) Sap drill in the forenoon. Wrote to the Secty of Navy at Washington. 60 men went out to work all night. 2 of them hit by balls.


Wednesday August 10,1864

Pleasent day. Sick all day. 58 (Editor: unclear) men went out at night to work. No mail came.


Thursday August 11,1864

Warm day. Went to the Doctor and got some pills-7- Wrote to my wife and Henry Inman. Went on Guard at 8 P.M. Volunteered!


Friday August 12, 1864

Warm day. No better-went to the Doctor and he told me to report every 3 Hours. Remittant (sic: remittent or he may have meant unremittent) fever. No mail for 3 days. Felt better towards night.


Saturday August 13, 1864

Warm Day. Excused from all duties. Feel a great deal better. Pills every two hours for 16 hours. Heavy fighting on the right. Simon Helm + Philo Barden badly wounded. Felt no better during the day.


BARDEN, PHILO.—Age, 23 years. Enlisted, August 26, 1861, at Maine; mustered in as private, Co. E, August 29, 1861, to serve three years; promoted artificer, March 1,1863; re-enlisted, December 26, 1863; wounded, August 13, 1864, at Petersburg, V a . ; promoted corporal, October 1, 1864; discharged for disability, February 3, 1865 near Poplar Grove Church, Va. (Report of the Adjutant General)


HELM, SEMON.—Age, IS years. Enlisted, August 29, 1861, at Thurston; mustered in as private, Co. A , September 1.2, 1861, to serve three years; transferred to Co. E, November 1, 1861; re-enlisted, December 26, 1863; wounded, August 13, 1864, before Petersburg, Va.; promoted artificer, October 1, 1864; mustered out with company, June 13, 1865, at Fort Barry, Va., as Seaman J . Helm. (Report of the Adjutant General)


  1. “1864 Diary of Private Octave Bruso, 50th NY Engineers, Company E” edited by Tom Bauerle, Buffalo, NY, 2010.
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