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James H. Evans papers

Identifier: MS0444

Scope and Contents

The collection concerns James H. Evans; Company F, 7th Wisconsin Volunteers, US Army; and the POW camp at Salisbury, NC in 1864. Contains a diary, recorded in 1864 and early 1865, and a New Testament, provided by the Confederate Bible Society. James H. Evans, of Cassville, Wisconsin, enlisted in Company F. of the 7th Wisconsin Volunteers, on Wednesday, February 3, 1864, and was formally sworn in three days later. The 7th Wisconsin was a part of the First Brigade, Fourth Division, Fifth Corps of the Union Army. Soon after his enlistment, he was transported by rail to Madison, then Chicago, then Baltimore, then Washington. From there, his regiment was marched to Culpeper, Virginia and eventually saw combat at the Battle of the Wilderness. Evans began recording this diary in February of 1864, shortly before he enlisted. The blank pages for the month of January 1864 would come in handy in early 1865, when he needed additional space to record his activities and thoughts that year. When examining the original diary, the reader should be aware that the first pages of this volume record his writings for 1865. Other entries for January 1865 also appear in the very back of this volume. In the transcription, the recordings for 1865 appear at the end, for the sake of convenience and clarity. Evans’ diary entries are erratic (only about half of the pages have any writing) and not always coherent. Even so, there is plenty of valuable information to be gleaned from its pages, providing insights not only into the life of an infantryman, but also into the life of a prisoner of war. Some of the most important days of Evans’ life were May fifth and sixth, the days when he entered combat at the Battle of the Wilderness, was wounded and taken prisoner. Fortunately, though he was shot through the leg, the bullet must not have hit a bone. If it had, his leg would have had to have been amputated, and there is no record to indicate that it had. On May sixth, he wrote that he “got a Negro to carry me on his back …into an Ambylance.” Later entries show that his leg injury gradually improved. Evans also recorded that the Confederate authorities transported him and other prisoners around to a variety of locations, until keeping him at the POW camp at Salisbury, North Carolina until his death. Evans frequently wrote of his memories of his friends and family back in Wisconsin, sometimes only listing their names, and at other times, writing of his plans for his return home and what he intended to do once he got home. Most entries record the weather and what he ate, both before and after his capture.


  • Creation: 1864 - 1865


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

According to Joe Huygens, who sold us this collection, James Evans was captured at the Battle of the Wilderness, and was first sent to the prison camp at Andersonville, and later was sent to Salisbury, NC. According to entries that Evans made in his diary, he was "Sworn into the Service of the United States" on February 6, 1864. Company F, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 5th Corps. Friday, March 4, 1864: "Left Madison foe the Regiment I arrived at Chicago 8 o'clock pm" Sunday, March 6, 1864: "Arrived at Baltimore in the morning stayed over night" Monday, March 7, 1864: Arrived at Washington in the afternoon, stayed over night" Evans was originally from Cassville, Wisconsin. In February of 1864 he was captured and was brought to the POW camp in Salisbury, NC. In his diary, which spans from February to December of ’64, he wrote extensive and lucid diary entries detailing all aspects of his injury, capture and transportation to the POW camp. He also described his surroundings and all aspects of prison life in detail.

Evans was buried at Ramsey Cemetery, Texas Road, Glen Haven Township, Grant County, Wisconsin.


0.1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection of two items (a diary recorded in 1864 and 1865, and a New Testament) were the property of James H. Evans, of Company F, 7th Wisconsin Volunteers. Evans was taken prisoner and incarcerated at the POW Camp in Salisbury, NC. He died on January 28, 1865. A few of the diary entries that merit particular attention are for May 5 and 6, 1864 (the days when Evans saw combat and was taken prisoner), November 25 (an attempted prison break-out), Sunday, December 18 (when three men successfully escaped from the prison), and on December 23 (when three more soldiers also made their escape). In addition to the usual diary entries, there are a few places where Evans recorded poetry. These are found on the pages for February 12 through the 16, 1864, and January 23 through the 25, 1865. It is unlikely that Evans lived that late in the month, as an entry dated January 16, 1865 reveals that he had contracted typhoid fever by that time and must have died soon after.


Both items measure approximately 4" x 3".

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, 2011.

Papers of James H. Evans
Robert A. McInnes
2011 October 25
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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