Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
John W. Kemp
Scope and Content
This collection was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in 2011.
John W. Kemp was born February 24, 1828. Living in Allen County, Ohio, Kemp was a private in Company B of the 157th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. On September 22, 1864 he joined Company D of the 180th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was appointed corporal on October 1 and sergeant on December 2 of the same year. The regiment was organized at Camp Chase, Ohio. In October, the regiment traveled to Nashville and then to Decherd, Tennessee.. After spending about three months in the Nashville area, the regiment was ordered to Washington, D.C. and placed at Camp Stoneman on January 31, 1865. The members of the regiment travelled by boat to Fort Fisher, but the fort had fallen before its arrival. From there, the regiment was sent to Newbern to aid General J.D. Cox in opening railway communications between Goldsboro and General W. T. Sherman’s army. The regiment had an engagement with enemy forces under Generals Bragg and Hoke on March 8-10 in Kinston, North Carolina. From this engagement, the regiment suffered a number of casualties. The regiment reached Goldsboro on March 21. On April 9, it left to march with Sherman’s Army to Raleigh, North Carolina. Remaining in Raleigh until the surrender of Johnston’s army, the regiment then moved through Greensboro to Charlotte. It remained there until July 12, 1865 when the men were sent home in accordance with orders from the War Department. J. W. Kemp died in 1891 in Allen County, Ohio.
Scope and Content
The primary piece of the collection is John W. Kemp’s diary of his time in the 180th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His entries begin while his regiment was stationed in Washington. Although his writings do not offer great detail, the diary does provide lists of the members of his regiment as well as instances of wounds and deaths. In addition, the diary does offer some insight into the realities of life as a Union soldier, by mentioning his illnesses and describing the availability of food etc. The diary begins in January of 1865 and continues through July of the same year, ending with his return home to Lima, Ohio.
Also in the collection are documentation of Kemp’s service in the 157th Regiment as well as his promotion to sergeant in the 180th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. A land grant certificate, dated June 5, 1853, for Simon Crites of Allen County Ohio is also present in the collection. A letter from Charles B. Crites, dated December 14, 1883 from Delphos, Ohio to “Sarah” is part of the collection as well. The central pieces of the collection focus on the fall of 1864 to the summer of 1865, other materials span from 1853 to 1883.
1. J.W. Kemp Certificate of Service in 157th Ohio Volunteer Infantry December 15, 1864
2. J.W. Kemp promotion to sergeant in 180th Ohio Volunteer Infantry November 27, 1864
3. Diary of J.W. Kemp January-July 1865
4. Letter from Charles B. Crites to “Sarah” Delphos, Ohio December 14, 1883
5. Land Grant Certificate for Simon Crites June 5, 1853.