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 September 25, 1864
Beautiful Day. Went to call on the 17th Mich. Met my old friends Capt. Sudborough (Sudborough, Joseph A. Adrian, 19 ), Lt. Archibald (Company A: Archibald, George H. Adrian, 21 ) and others. Recieved a letter from my wife and a pair (Editor: unclear) Of suspenders. Heavy firing heard all day on the James River.
Birth: Jun. 12, 1828, Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York, USA Death: Jan. 15, 1899, Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan, USA (www.findagrave.com)
“Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. A school teacher, clerk, and businessman before the Civil War, he joined the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry as a captain in April of 1861, and was promoted to major in June of 1862. On May 1, 1863, he was promoted to colonel of the 2nd Michigan. After participating in all of the major battles of the Ninth Corps, he was wounded twice at the Battle of Spotsylvania. In June of 1864, he was appointed commander of the second brigade of the third division of the Ninth Corps. At the Battle of Cold Harbor, he was assigned the task of maintaining the picket line in front of the enemy during the withdrawal of the army by General Grant to the south side of the James River. The following month, he commanded his brigade with distinction to the left of the Crater at the Battle of Petersburg. After his role in the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, he continued as brigade commander of the second brigade. On August 1, 1864 he was made a brevet brigadier general “for conspicuous and gallant services, both as a regimental and brigade commander, throughout the campaign.” On September 30, 1864, General Grant assigned him command of the first division of the Eighteenth Corps until a general officer could be identified for permanent command, but he tendered his resignation instead. After the war, he became a newspaper editor and manufacturer. He was elected auditor general of Michigan four times serving from 1867 until 1875 and was the warden of the state prison at Jackson from 1875 until 1883. From 1883 until 1893, he served as postmaster of Adrian, Michigan. (bio by: Thomas Fisher)”
(Editor: Octave Bruso lived in Adrian, Michigan during the Census of 1860.)
Monday September 26, 1864
Beautiful Day. Wrote to my wife. My eye quite painfull (sic: painful). Worked on Fort Blaisdell.
Tuesday September 27, 1864
Beautiful Day. Got paid off for 6 months. Wrote to James McGregor. Wrote to Sneider + Lauchor (Editor: unclear) And sent them $30.00. Wrote to Shellington for Stationary $3.00 (Editor: unclear).
Wednesday September 28, 1864
Beautiful day. Expressed $60 for my wife bye Adam’s Ex. Recieved a letter from my wife + a paper.
Thursday September 29, 1864
Beautiful Day. Struck tents at 3 A.M. + left for the Regiment. Marching Orders. Layed (sic: laid) all day packed up.
Friday September 30, 1864
Pleasent day. Left for the front at 12 o’clock. Wrote to my wife. Commenced raining in the evening + rained most all night.
Saturday October 1, 1864
Rained ____ (Editor: ink smear). Wrote to the Post master for stamps $3.00 worth. Recieved a letter from my wife + Mary Bruso. On picket duty all and senior! (Editor: unclear)
- “1864 Diary of Private Octave Bruso, 50th NY Engineers, Company E” edited by Tom Bauerle, Buffalo, NY, 2010. ↩