Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
E. W. Slocum
Scope and Content
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center acquired the Civil War diary of Sergeant E. W. Slocum in 2001. The diary is part of the larger Civil War Collection (Special Collections-1). A wartime carte de visite of Slocum appears in Album 7 of President Hayes’ Photograph Collection.
Willard E. Slocum (known variously as E. W. Slocum, Elias Willard Slocum, and W. E. Slocum) was the eldest child of Ephraim and Eliza Freer Slocum. Born in 1841, Slocum farmed in Orange Township, Ashland County, Ohio, until the outbreak of the Civil War. In the spring of 1861, Slocum enlisted with other Ashland County volunteers in a company recruited by his cousin Captain Willard Slocum. The company was mustered into federal service as Company G of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Slocum fought with the 23rd Ohio at Clark’s Hollow, Princeton, West Virginia, South Mountain, Antietam, and Buffington’s Island (Morgan’s Raid). He was promoted from corporal to sergeant in March of 1863. Slocum served with the regiment until the expiration of his term of service in June of 1864. He returned to Ashland County, Ohio, where he continued to farm.
Scope and Content
Of the eighty-six pages contained in the E. W. Slocum notebook, seventy-three are devoted to Sergeant Slocum’s record of his Civil War service. Lacking its cover and first two pages, the diary dates from August of 1861 and contains entries through December 5, 1863. The remaining thirteen pages served as a postwar account ledger. Slocum chronicled the regiment’s battle actions, casualties, marches, reinforcements, and command changes. While Slocum’s observations were often brief and focused on Company G, they do include details about some of the regiment’s most important battles including South Mountain and Antietam.While fighting at the stone wall the company lost 4 killed, Sergt Slonacker, William Crepps, John Kiser, & Daniel Wheeler. The Division was then order to charge Bayonetts [sic] through the Enemy works. The Regt. mad [sic] a Briliant [sic] Charge. John A. Kinzey was Killed & Sergt. F. T. Coontz was wounded through the foot. [Sept.1862, pp.23, 24, 25].
He noted routine camp duties including inspections and the issue of rations, weapons, and provisions. Slocum also recorded some of the regiment’s activities including: promotions; circumstances surroundings the deaths and burials of his comrades; the arrival in camp of Lucy Webb Hayes and the Hayes children; and the regiment’s celebration of Christmas in 1862:
Col. Hayes furnished a turkey & two bottles of wine to the Regt. On these conditions, he placed the turkey in a box leaving its head above the Box to shoot at and fortified the Box. The first man that shot the turkey head off at 150 yds. The turkee [sic] would be his. The secont [sic] best would get a bottle of wine & a tumbler the thir [sic] best a bottle of wine. Co. F got the two first prises [sic]. Co G the third. S. W. McClane. [12 Dec. 1862, p. 32]
1. Notebook containing diary entries of Sergeant E. W. Slocum of Company G, 23rd Ohio Volunteer
Infantry from August 1861 through December 5, 1863.
2. Carte de visite of "Thomas Slocam"