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Hinton, A. Chalmers
Civil War Diary of Lieut. A. Chalmers Hinton, of the 1st Regiment Cavalry, New York Volunteers, 1863

24 handwritten pages, entries dated 13 June 1863 to 18 July 1863; bound in calf, measures 4 ½” x 7”, boards rubbed, scuffed, tips and edges worn, otherwise good, entries written in ink, in a legible hand; also includes 6 pp of memoranda, notes, perhaps orderly notes as some appear to account for equipment/clothing given out to soldiers, etc.; the year 1863 is mentioned on one of the dates, the rest of the dates in the diary are only the day of the week, date of month, etc.

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While the diary is not signed, there are plenty of entries that show it was kept by a soldier in the 1st Regt Cavalry NY Vols. There is also an entry on the rear leaf with the inscription “Received at Loudon, PA / July 13th of Lieut A.C. Hinton / [xxxx] 1st NY Cav / 1 shelter tent / Chas P. Ives /Agt Co. H” This would appear to indicate that Hinton is our diary writer. Ives is the one who signed for accepting the shelter tent, thus it may be that Hinton wanted Ives signature for proof of his returning it, thus the diary would be written by Hinton. Ives is mentioned by our writer in the diary in an entry of July 11th, so the writer cannot be him. Ives was a fellow cavalry member in the 1st New York.  Further research would be needed to confirm Hinton as our diary writer, but it appears that the writer is Hinton.

1st Regiment Cavalry, New York Volunteers

The 1st Regiment Cavalry New York Volunteers was a regiment in the Union Army in the American Civil War. It was also known as the Lincoln Cavalry, Carbine Rangers, Sabre Regiment, and 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry.

This regiment was organized in New York city by Col. Carl Schurz, succeeded by Col. Andrew T. McReynolds (June 15, 1861), under special authority from the President, dated May 1, 1861, and was mustered into the United States service between July 16 and August 31, 1861, for a service of three years.

Companies A, B, D, E, G, H, I, L and M, were recruited principally in New York city, four of them being composed of Germans, Hungarians and Poles; Company C, Boyd's Company C, Cavalry, Pa. Vols., at Philadelphia; F, at Syracuse; and K, Michigan Company, at Grand Rapids, Mich.

The regiment left the State by detachments; Company C, the first in the field, leaving July 22, 1861; by September 10, 1861, the regiment was all in the field; it served at and near Washington, D. C., from July, 1861; in Franklin's and Heintzelman's Divisions, Army of Potomac, from October 4, 1861; in 1st Division, 1st Corps, Army of Potomac, from March 24, 1862; with the 6th Corps, Army of Potomac, from May, 1862; in 1st Cavalry Brigade, Army of Potomac, from July 8, 1862; in 4th Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of Potomac, from September, 1862; in Averill's Cavalry Division, 8th Corps, Middle Department, from October, 1862; with the forces for the defense of the Upper Potomac, 8th Corps, Middle Department, from November, 1862; in the 3d Brigade, 2d Division, 8th Corps, from March, 1863; in the Department of the Susquehanna, from June, 1863; in the Department of W. Va., from August, 1863; in the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry, Army of W. Va., from November, 1863; in the 2d Brigade, 2d Division, Army of W. Va., from August 27, 1864; in the Army of the Shenandoah, from October, 1864, and in the 3d Brigade, 3d Division, Cavalry, Army of the Shenandoah, from December, 1864, and with the Army of the Potomac, from March, 1865.

At the expiration of its term of service, those entitled thereto were discharged, and the regiment, composed of veterans and recruits, continued in the service until June 27, 1865, when, commanded by Col. Alonzo W. Adams, it was mustered out at Alexandria, Va.

During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 3 officers, 22 enlisted men; died of wounds received in action, 2 officers, 21 enlisted men; died of disease and other causes, 2 officers, 118 enlisted men; total, 7 officers, and 161 enlisted men; aggregate, 168; of whom 44 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.

A. Chalmers Hinton entered military service at age 29 years. He enlisted July 30, 1861, at New York, mustering in as first sergeant, Company A, on July 30, 1861, to serve three years. He was promoted quartermaster sergeant November 25,1861; sergeant-major December 12,1861; mustered in as second lieutenant, Company B, February 7, 1863; mustered in as first lieutenant, January 5, 1863; mustered in as captain, February 8, 1865; mustered out with company, June 27, 1865, at Alexandria, Va. ; commissioned second lieutenant, March 12, 1862, with rank from December 19, 1861, vice Herbert, dismissed; commissioned first lieutenant, December 30, 1862, with rank from December 5, 1862, vice Rockritz, discharged; commissioned captain, January 27, 1865, with rank from December 1,1864, vice Jones, discharged.

Examples from Diary:

“Saturday morning June 13th Left Berryville by order Gen’l Milroy last night & this morning some skirmishing occurred with the enemies advance. 2 of our men killed near Millwood. Train took the road via Summit Point & Smithfield to Bunkers Hill. Forage train from Harpers Ferry joined us when near Smithfield. The Regts took the road from near Summit Point to Winchester & had a fight at the ford of the Opequen & whipped the enemy, then went on without interference to Winchester. Major A – handled the Cav very badly, and had it not been for one of our pieces Art’y our loss might have been very heavy. As it was, we lost 2 men killed, 2 seriously & several slightly wounded. The Enemy left 18 dead upon the field. Meantime the train, with Co. H & a lot of dismounted men for a guard passed on to Bunkers Hill, unhitched & fed, and while taking things up cool, Lieut. Martindale called for 10 men to go with him to reconnoiter, saying that he did not think everything was right. A few minutes later, the sharp & rapid crack of carbines announced the presence of the enemy. All hands were immediately at work hitching up, and in a few moments the train was rapidly moving off toward Martinsburg, the Cav a company of the Penn & part of our and 3 companies of Infantry were in shape, in all a little force of about 300 men, when the enemy appeared on the hill about ½ mile to our right, driving back Martindale’s party, who fought them like heroes. Soon the enemy’s infantry appeared double quicking it across the fields to their right, endeavoring to flank us & capture the train. Our infantry also advanced to meet them, our Cav fell back across the stream, tearing up the bridge, and forming behind a couple of stone mills, awaited the onset. About 1500 of the enemy now appeared & the skirmishing became as lively as ever. I saw our boys fought with a will, but had to fall back slowly before the superior force of the enemy until dusk setting in our infantry fell back into 2 brick churches previously perforated for musketry while the Cav followed the train & reached Martinsburg at 10 P.M. Our ammunition wagon broke down 4 times, several others broke down, and 2 had to be abandoned & burned. Day warm, showering after sunset. Sleep at Everett house.

Sunday June 14th – Pleasant. Martindale tried to obtain permission to reconnoiter the enemy but failed. At 8 A.M. Charly, Clark, Bob, Charles & I went out on our own to see the sights, crossed from the Smithfield to the Winchester Pike, passed the pickets & when out about 2 miles discovered the enemies advances, at the same time a fired was opened on them from the road side, and in a few moments 4 infantry have in sight they had escaped with the rest from Bunkers Hill, but becoming separated had made for Martinsburg. We now fell back to give the pickets (Outer Cav) notice, and with them, we proposed making a stand. Just at this moment Lieut. Martindale with H & Capt [Fieny’s] Company & all the stragglers that could be mustered came in sight. We quickly told him how matters stood, the column moved forward, deployed, and soon opened a lively fire on the enemy, which was returned. The enemies’ skirmishers skirted the woods on rising ground, our skirmishers also occupied high grounds and a cover of woods for half our line, while an open field of raw ground some 400 yards wide intervened.

After half an hours fighting the enemy tried to flank us, by making a faint on our right, and at the same time about 200 dashed round on our left, but we were prepared for this and opening on them a lively carbine fire, they soon got under cover of the hill, here most of them dismounted and skirmished up towards us that way, but falling back a few rods. The crest of the hill covered us leaving only our heads exposed, while the enemy had to advance across an open plain. This they soon abandoned and returned to their horses, when an order came for us to fall back and if possible, draw the enemy in range of our guns, but this did not succeed and moving off toward the night, met a charge from the enemy & captured Major White & repulsed his command. This kind of work lasted nearly all day. Once Capt. Harkins appeared on the field, but soon disappeared. About 5 P.M. a flag of truce came in on the Winchester Pike demanding the surrender of the town, saying that if it was not complied with, in 45 minutes, he would shell it. The demand was refused and an answer returned to come & take it if he wanted it. In an hour and a half, a large cloud of dust floated out from the woods that concealed the enemy and soon covered the intervening flat. Our cannon shelled the woods at intervals, most of the inhabitance had left the place & thinking that they threat of Gen’l Jenkins was gammon, were returning to their homes, the sun had set behind North Mountains, when a long & heavy column of the enemies cavalry emerged from the woods & came thundering down the Winchester Pike. Our little cavalry force met them manfully, & gave them the best they had, but the odds against us were too heavy and in 2 parties we fell back. The next thing we knew the thundering of art’y had ceased & 2 pieces came dashing down through town past the courthouse & turned down toward the R.R. The enemy closely behind. A few shots were exchanged by our boys with enemy but by the time the R.R. was reached several of the horses had been shot & the pieces were captured. When the attack was made on our little force a heavy column charged the infantry & battery & after a brief struggle the enemy won the day, 4 pieces of our art’y were captured on the spot. The infantry fell back in the direction of Harpers Ferry & Capt. Boyd who had joined us with his Co. during the P.M. having made a long detour to the west, collecting all the scattered remnants of our Cav he could, in all numbering about 100 men, covered the retreat of our train now numbering over 250 wagons.

They had been started during the P.M. & reached & crossed the Potomac at Williams Port before night we reached the place at 10 P.M. the rebs having followed us but slowly after the first 3 or 4 miles, started the train on again passed through Hagerstown, and bef daylight were 5 miles out of town with the rear of the train which now stretched out over 4 miles. We continued our march until we reached Chambersburg when a few drunken men started a panic in the train & away it went pell-mell in true charging till wagons broken down piled on the road side, drivers cutting loose their teams &c. half an hour elapsed before order could be restored & the drivers sent back for their teams…”

“Another rainy day was the 5th July 1863 Resumed our march for Chambersburg at 11 A.M. Capt Jones started with a detail of 100 men from the 1st NY & about the same number of the 12th Penn. View Mercersburg at 7 A.M. Regt took the road to Chambersburg via Loudon an hour later. Train reached Loudon and encamped. Sunset, news reached us that Capt Jones has captured 100 wagons, 1-piece art’y & 600 to 800 prisoners. Infantry sent to Mercersburg to help get them in.

July 6th 100 wagons (captured) and 648 prisoners reached this place (Loudon) a number were left at Mercersburg being too severely wounded to be removed farther.”