Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-MSS
Location: LH-MSS

(Description ID: 595456)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Silas Sweeney Mallory


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

The typed transcript of Silas Sweeney Malllory’s Civil War diary and photocopies and letters were donated by Mr. and Mrs. William Mallory in 2002.

Biographical Sketch
Silas S. Mallory was born August 15, 1844 near Bucyrus, Ohio, to William and Lucretia Howey Mallory. Silas was the 7th child in a family of five boys and four girls. William and Lucretia, both born in New York, moved to Crawford County, Ohio, in January 1832 where William took up farming. The failure of a "Patent Right" business in which William had invested led to the forced sale of the family farm and a decline in the Mallory family fortunes. They survived through tenant and subsistence farming, finally moving to Bucyrus in 1857.

The move to Bucyrus when Silas was 13 offered him his first real opportunity for schooling. Even though he attended school only during the winter months (working on a farm the other months), Silas was a diligent student and progressed rapidly. On October 17, 1861, after returning to school for two or three weeks, Silas "got the war fever" and, against the wishes of his parents, enlisted in the 64th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

The 64th O.V.I. received its initial training at Camp Buckingham at Mansfield, Ohio, and served throughout the Civil War in the Western Theater, primarily Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia. Mallory served as a fifer for the regiment. Before the expiration of his three-year term, Silas reenlisted on January 1, 1864. The regiment received a one-month furlough in February 1864 which provided his only visit home during the war. After the end of the Civil War, the 64th O.V.I. steamed down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. By September, the regiment was stationed in Texas where the men of the 64th worked on railroad construction projects. In November 1865 the 64th O.V I. was mustered out of the service, returned to Ohio, and was disbanded on January 3, 1866.

Silas Mallory married Ella Foreman in Erie, Michigan, February 26, 1873. He died there November 13, 1921 and she died June 7, 1932.

Scope and Content
The collection consists of a transcription of Silas Mallory’s Civil War diary from November 6, 1861 to January 5, 1866 and photocopies of twelve letters written to Mallory from December 1864 to January 1866. The diary entries occasionally offer reflections on life and the comforts of home as well as the daily routine of camp life of the 64th O. V. I., especially information about meals, military equipment, marching conditions, and the impact of weather on the regiment. The diary also provides a record of the regiment’s travels including movements by steam boat. Mallory frequently recorded the names of those who died in the regiment.

Some of the daily entries refer to:
Aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-13, 1862
Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862
Pursuit of Confederate Gen. Morgan, November 8-16, 1862
Battle of Stones River, December 29, 1862 - January 2, 1863
Occupation of Chattanooga, September 7 - November 25, 1863
Battle of Chickamauga, September 11-21, 1863
Battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, November 24-26, 1863
March to Knoxville to reinforce Gen. Burnside, November 30 - December 15, 1863
Georgia/Atlanta Campaign as part of Gen. Sherman’s Army, May 3 - July 21, 1864
Battle of Rocky Faced Ridge, May 9, 1864
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, June 27, 1864
March from Atlanta to Chattanooga and Alabama, September 25, 1864
Campaign to defeat Confederate Gen. Hood, (Battles of Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville), September 25 - December 24, 1864

The photocopies of the twelve letters to Mallory tell primarily of family matters, especially his father’s financial difficulties. Of particular interest is a letter offering a detailed description of the scene in Columbus, Ohio, when Lincoln’s funeral train stopped there. Another letter provides details of the conditions in Andersonville in late 1864; it was written by one of Mallory’s comrades who had just been released from the Confederate prison.

Ac. 5556
13 items

Silas Mallory’s Civil War diary, November 6, 1861 - January 5, 1866; 81 pp.[Typed transcript]


1. December 2, 1864, dated Bucyrus, to Silas from Wm. Mallory (father); family news, debt problems
2. December 25, 1864, dated Bucyrus, to "Sile" from George Howenstein; tells of life in Andersonville
    prison and exchange
3. December 25, 1864, dated Bucyrus, to Silas from William Mallory; will send box of clothes
4. March 19, 1865, dated Columbus, to "Dear Children" from A. H. Wells; family news
5. April 13, 1865, dated Cincinnati, to "My Dear Brother" from Hattie; financial problems
6. April 18, 1865, dated Bucyrus, to "My Dear Brother" from unidentified; father’s debt, reaction to
    Lincoln’s death
7. May 1, 1865, dated Columbus, to Mr. Mallory from A. H. Wells; tells of Lincoln’s funeral in Columbus
8. May 16, 1865, dated Cincinnati, to "Dear Brother Silas" from Hattie; family news, wants him to write
9. July 26, 1865, dated Bucyrus, to "Dearest Sil" from George C. H.[owenstein?]; reaction to end of war
10. August 20, 1865, dated Bucyrus to Silas from [father William Mallory]; concerned about George
      Mallory’s behavior since returning home from war
11. January 15, 1866, dated Indianapolis, to "Sile" from Mack(?); invitation to visit
12. January 16, 1866, dated Newton, to "Dear Brother Sile" from Lucy & E. Shaw; pleased to hear Silas’
      plan to continue his education