Courtesy of the Estate of
Elizabeth Bramhall Johnson (born 1911, died 1995),
Granddaughter of Hiram W. Coppernall

  Recently Donated to the Schoff Civil War Collection
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Contact Clements Library

Coppernall Diary Cover

On January 5, 1864, Hiram W. Coppernall enlisted at the age of 18 in Company H of the 24th NY Cavalry, joining at Rochester, New York.  He mustered in as a Corporal and rose to the rank of Commissary Sergeant.

Coppernall's pocket diary covers the year 1864, from the formation of the regiment through the siege of Petersburg and the July 30 mine explosion.  The most vivid entries are those in which he describes the battles of May and June of 1864 which preceded the siege, including most notably the June 18-19 assaults on Petersburg.  It appears that shortly after the mine explosion Coppernall suffered a heat stroke, which led to several months of hospital stays and furloughs until he rejoined the regiment on December 24, 1864.  Records indicate that he was with the regiment for the duration of the war, but, sadly, the diary does not extend into 1865.

Coppernall wrote the diary in pencil.  His wrote with a fairly steady hand and was a decent speller for his time, but he was not overly concerned with punctuation.   A sample image from the actual diary appears below:

Coppernall Diary Sample Page

Click on the link below if you wish to see a transcription of all the diary entries.

Text of Coppernall Diary