Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Footprints Through Dixie

Footprints Through Dixie is the diary of J.W. Gaskill, a private in Company “B”, 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. It was published in 1919. The author states that the volume is compiled from his diary and it reads as though it has been edited for style and clarity but does not leave out the dates and places pertaining to his narrative of the war.

I am not finished reading it yet; I am only about a third of the way through the 186 pages, but I would recommend it to anyone interested in old diaries.

The main reason I am posting this before completely reading the book is because of the wealth of personal information contained in it. Anyone that has an ancestor that served in the 104th Ohio should definitely read it.

Here are a couple of examples:

During this skirmish, Elias Haines of Marlboro,shot a finger from his hand while drawing a load from his gun. After recovery he is detailed for duty with the supply train where he served until December 29, (1862) then deserted while we were encamped at Richmond, Kentucky. He afterward enlists in a cavalry regiment and serves until discharged from the army.”

And this:

The first death in the company is that of Joseph Holibaugh of Marlboro. On the morning of November 28,after coming off guard duty he walked to the company cook's quarters and while standing there he suddenly and without warning fell forward into the fire. He is quickly removed by comrades and the surgeon is called, who pronounced his death due to apoplexy. Comrade Holibaugh's body is sent to his home and buried near the village of Marlboro.”

These are only two of many such pieces of information that fill this book. The author states in his introductory that he tried to write something about every man in the company, and also as much as he could of other men in the regiment. Besides his diary he also used the company Orderly Sergeant's records to fill in some of the information. This is an important little work for genealogists. If you are looking for a deserter though you may not find him. Gaskill relates incidents of desertion but as far as I have read he does not name names. Officers are also highlighted, the good and the bad, and even transient officers are mentioned. The book gives details one will not find in the cold records usually searched in the hunt for ancestors serving in Civil War armies. It is interesting to see details relating to the death, discharge, promotion or transfer of the individual soldiers.

The regiment was mustered in August 12, 1862, at Massilon, Ohio and served until June 28, 1865. The 104th saw action in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina as part of the 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio.

The Picket


Footprints Through Dixie, Gaskill, J.W., 1919, Pages 28 and 34, Retrieved from

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