Clough, Harrison M.
Manuscript Civil War Diary of Pvt. Harrison M. Clough, of Co A, 7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment, 1863-1864

narrow octavo, 180 manuscript pp., entries dated 10 May 1863 to 24 December 1864; bound in quarter leather, retains original front marbled paper backed board; rear board replaced with later cardboard, marbled paper on front board mostly rubbed away, spine badly chipped and worn, edges and corners of board very worn; front endpaper chipped, otherwise text good, entries written in ink and pencil, in a legible hand; diary has some slightly earlier dated entries (1862) and slightly later entries (1865), but these are financial accounts not diary entries; these account entries date from January to August 1862 and show his food purchases from the commissary; the other accounts are from July 1864 to January 1865. The inside front board has the ownership signature “Harrison Messer Clough” inscribed in pencil, with some scribbling over it, obscuring it slightly; his name also appears elsewhere in the diary on another page; the activities of the 7th New Hampshire during the Civil War match the events recorded in the diary, Clough was a member of the 7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment. The diary entries describe Clough’s movements with the 7th New Hampshire for the year 1864 and contains very good entries from the Bermuda Hundred Campaign of May 1864 (quoted below).

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Pvt. Harrison Messer Clough (1826-1899)

Harrison Messer Clough was born about 1826, in Jericho, New Hampshire. He was the son of Samuel Clough (1790-1867) and his wife Betsey Messer (1794-1874). The Clough family was an old New England family having settled in the 1630s in Salisbury, Massachusetts.

Harrison married Jane M. Lord (1822-1898). She was born in Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Together the couple had at least three children: Herbert Samuel Clough (1850-1911); Lizzie Jane Clough (1853-1934); and a child who was stillborn in 1860. Harrison was living as early as 1850 in Manchester, New Hampshire; where he lived for the rest of his life.

Clough enlisted at the age of 36, as a private in Co. A, 7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment, on 5 September, 1861. The 7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment was organized in Manchester, New Hampshire, and mustered in December 13, 1861. It left the state for New York on 14 January 1862.

    The 7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment was a very active regiment and saw service at the Dry Tortugas, Florida, until 16 June 1862, when it was moved to Beaufort, S.C., 16 June until 15 September when it moved to St. Augustine, Florida. The regiment remained there from 15 September until 10 May 1863. It was engaged in a skirmish near St. Augustine on 9 March (Detachment). They were at Fernandina, Florida, until 15 June, when it moved north to Hilton Head, South Carolina; thence to Folly Island, South Carolina, 15-19 June. It was in the siege operations against Morris Island until 10 July; Assault on Water Batteries on Morris Island 10 July; Assaults on Fort Wagner, Morris Island, 11 and 18 July; Siege of Fort Wagner 18 July – 7 September; Capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg 7 September; Siege operations against Fort Sumter and Charleston, South Carolina, until 20 December. The 7th moved to St. Helena Island, South Carolina, 20 December and remained on duty there until February, 1864. It made an Expedition to Jacksonville, Florida, 5-6 February and from Jacksonville to Lake City, Florida, February 7-22. Battle of Olustee, Florida, February 20. Duty at Jacksonville until April. The Regiment was ordered to Virginia, where it saw nearly constant action until the end of the war; ordered first to Gloucester Point, Virginia 4 April; took part in Butler’s operations on south side of the James River and against Petersburg and Richmond 4-28 May; Occupation of City Point and Bermuda Hundred 5 May; Swift Creek or Arrowfield Church May 9-10. Chester Station May 10. Operations against Fort Darling May 12-16. Battle of Drury’s Bluff 14-16 May; Bermuda Hundred 16 May – 13 August; Action at Petersburg 9 June; Port Walthal 16-17 June; Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond 16 June 1864, to 3 January 1865. Demonstration north of James River 13-20 August; Battle of Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, 14-18 August; In trenches before Petersburg until 25 September; Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, New Market Heights, 28-30 September; Darbytown and New Market Roads 7 October; Darbytown and Charles City Cross Roads 13 October; Battle of Fair Oaks 27-28 October; Front of Richmond 31 October – 2 November; Detachment for duty at New York City and Staten Island, New York Harbor, during Presidential election 2-17 November; Duty in front of Richmond north of the James River 17 November 1864 to 3 January 1865; Second Expedition to Fort Fisher, North Carolina, 3-15 Jan 1865; Assault and capture of Fort Fisher 15 January; Half Moon Battery 19 January; Sugar Loaf Battery 11 February; Fort Anderson 18 February; Capture of Wilmington 22 February; North East Ferry 22 February; Duty at Wilmington until June, and at Goldsborough, North Carolina., until July; finally mustering out on July 17, 1865.

Total number of men in the 7th New Hampshire Regiment was 1,762. The regiment was involved with 22 engagements and suffered 152 casualties (killed or mortally wounded) and 246 deaths.

Clough mustered out of military service on 27 December 1864. He went back to Manchester and continued his life as a machinist/mechanic, and as a farmer. When he died on 8 March 1899, Clough was living in Manchester, listed as a widower and a farmer.

       Sample Quotes from Diary:

“Feb 1864.

20th. 7 o’clock A.M. started for Lake City, made 16 miles by 3 o’clock P.M. Met the enemy and fought 2 hours & 20 minutes and retreated to Barbers again the same night.

21st. Still continued to retreat and finally brought up at Jacksonville. The Regt however were left behind and did not come in to Jacksonville until the next Friday night.

22nd. Monday stopped in Jacksonville and tended to the wounded.

23rd. The same in the evening went on board the Dictator with wounded men next morning.

24th Went to the head and left the White men and proceeded to Beaufort.

25th Left the colored men there and returned to the Head lay in the stream…”


[Bermuda Hundred Campaign]

“May [1864]

8th. Sunday. Pleasant today and seems to be more quiet and more like Sunday. Dr. Wilson gone off with the Regt, come back, Regt fell back for the night.

9th. Start at 6 o’clock for Petersburgh & Richmond Railroad our forces had been there before our brigade and destroyed the track we took the road towards Petersburgh as far as Port Walthall.

[10th.] Battle of the 10 of May here a fight was going on and we expected to be in it but were kept as a reserve and bivouac for the night and this morning May 10 finds me quite comfortable and ready for another day’s work. Which has the appearance of being hot. We commence the day by finishing the destruction of the railroad then start for our camp meet a large force from Lee’s Army that have just arrived by rail. They give us a hot fight for awhile but as soon as we can get at them, they are driven back and we proceed to camp. The battle comes at about 10 o’clock, the hottest of it commenced early in the morning and a few pieces of artillery kept them back and we supposed there was not much force there. A large number of our men got sum struck and give out probably as many were tired out and fell down and others left to take care of them as were actually engaged in the battle.”

“[May 1864.] Thursday 12th. Start today about noon to find the Rebs again, go onto the grounds we fought on Tuesday and follow the Turnpike towards Richmond. Have passed a mile stone marked 12 miles to Richmond. Stop to rest and I write this, the cannon begins to talk and so I will stop. Went a little beyond the last fight and drove them off a hill and stopped for the night.

Friday 13th. Went to hunt the Rebs found them well entrenched on a hill near the railroad. Had a smart fight and drove them out. Stopped for the night. Fight commencing about 2 ½ o’clock.

Saturday 14th. Fight commenced this morning about 6 o’clock by Gen Smith’s Corp (18) and has been raging ever since with varied success. Our Corp (10) has just gone in. The first shock was heavy but the firing is less. Soon I hope we have drove them again. It is now 12 or there about. Evening the battle has continued all the afternoon with more hard fighting than in the forenoon. Some charging after dark, nothing decisive.

Sunday 15th May. It seems to be quite still considering that two armies are laying face to face after two days battle. But I suppose that they will go at it again soon. 9 A.M. a little artillery practice in the afternoon and supplies, get along things are in progress for a battle in the night or morning.

Monday 16th. Opened this morning about 6 o’clock the Rebs attacked us on the right center & left all at once. The battle rages hot but we repulse them without much lost to us so far. 9 o’clock A.M. the battle rages with more fury than ever and our right wing has been drove back. 10 A.M. our whole force fall back and a defeat must follow. Evening have got back to camp and our whole force are coming as fast as possible with due respect to good order. Prisoners say that the Rebs received 30,000 reinforcements last night. We can hold them here, I think.

Tuesday May 17th. Far weather today and our Regt have a day of rest. Are called out in night the Rebs try to drive in our pickets the Third N.H. being on picket. Did not amount to much but a scare and a few wounded perhaps.

Wednesday 18th. Another dash of the Rebs this morning, a considerable firing and quite a number wounded of the 3rd N.H. A shower comes up and the firing stops in a great measure and seems to be artillery mostly now. About 10 A.M. the shower is over in a few moments and the fight seems to rage quite fierce with small arms and large too. 12 N the battle has opened. I should think the firing increases and troops are hurrying to the trenches. We all have confidence that the Rebs will get the worst of it as we have a strong position and well-fortified with the gunboats to assist. A few Rebs (9) just gone by as prisoners. Small batches of prisoners come in occasionally.

Thursday 19th. Things seem to be quiet today and some rain is a falling. It would seem if we had not a strong reliance in the justice of God that he was favoring the cause of the Rebs in sending this rain., which has just about caused the suspension of our operations. But I suppose we have not been punished enough yet for our sins in allowing slavery to gain such strength in the country. Our gunboats seem to be fearful of land batteries and fall back a mile. A strange kind of men we have to manage affairs just now. I don’t know what the country will come to I am sure. I feel about used up today. The diarrhea has broken out again with fury and I am sick today. Our Regt was charged upon this morning by a Penn Regt through a mistake, no damage done though.

Friday 20th. Turned out twice last night on account of pickets firing. All quiet this morning up to 10 o’clock when firing with small arms commences and finally increases to heavy firing and cannon and our Brigade is called out while I lay in my tent too sick to stir much but think I am a getting a little better. This morning 11 ½ A.M., well we have had quite a little battle of an hour or more and our folks continue to shell the Rebs yet some boys come in wounded, none of our Regt yet though, but the Rebs throw shell pretty near our camp once in a while. 12 N quiet now. The story is that the Rebs charged on and took our rifle pits and our boys rallied and took them back again. About 2 P.M. fighting with small arms is going on now making two attacks that have been made since 12 N. The Rebs seem to be determine to do something today but I don’t think they meet with much success thus far. Quiet through the night.

Saturday Morning May 21st. A good deal of artillery firing this morning. Nothing of importance to day until 10 ½ P.M. when an alarm broke out and such another roar for ½ hour as we had of rifles and cannon. I think it must have been a scare though for I cannot hear as anyone was hurt…

Sunday May 22nd. Everything is quiet this morning excepting chopping. Our boys have gone out to chop trees so that the gunboats can see the Rebs camp. I don’t feel any better today and wish I was at home.

The fight of Monday the 16th of May was at or commenced near a house owned by one Wooldredge.

Monday 23rd. All quiet today. Regt in the trenches last night and today. Diarrhea no better.

Tuesday 24th. Some firing last night with small arms but quiet this morning and through the day. Today Rev Mr. Carr of Bow called on me in camp and gave me some lemons, oranges & a can of milk.”

       [New York Nov 1864 for Election]

“[1864 Nov]

Friday Nov 4th. We run down to Norfolk and there got on board the United States for NY and now we are laying by till morning.

Saturday Nov 5th. Started this morning as soon as daylight and now as I was very sick all day yesterday, I have got to get ready for a time today.

Sunday Nov 6th. Arrived in NY harbor about 10 o’clock A.M. and after some delay we made back a mile or so to Fort Richmond got there after dark.

Monday Nov 7th. Very wet and rainy today. We have no chance to see anything but a few barracks buildings thus far.

Tuesday Nov 8th. We start this morning early and go on board of an iron clad and go up the river between Brooklyn and NY City and here we attend election.

Wednesday Nov 9th. Lay here in the river yet we are packed on this boat like a lot of hogs more than like men and the men express themselves freely that they will not stand such treatment any longer.

Thursday Nov 10th. We remain on the boat on the river yet with a good deal of growling.

Friday Nov 11th. We get off today just at dark and get back to Fort Richmond without going into the city.

Saturday Nov 12th. I work all day today can’t get my cloths dry though.

Sunday 13th. Weather clear and windy, get my cloths dry today. Have orders to move again and so tonight we get ready.”