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The Civil War diary of Capt. Charles Roush provides valuable insight into the life of a Union soldier who marched in 1861 and 1862 through the rolling hills of Maryland and Virginia, ending at the battle of South Mountain, where Roush was injured, just a couple of days prior to Antietam.

His diary relates the dreariness of war. Disease was arguably a far more potent adversary than the Southern troops. Winter brought bad weather, much sickness, as well as McCellan’s infamous forced “promenade” through northern Virginia.

In May 1862, after returning from a long march, Roush encountered two special visitors to his camp: the President and Secretary of War. Lincoln also appeared at Roush’s station a second time. Nevertheless, Roush quickly lost his interest for war. His diary relates that he was “opposed to a political abolition war.” His diary contained constant references to his poor health.

At one point, he noted, “he had no provisions for 3 days.” In September Roush suffered the injury that ended his Civil War career. A musket ball struck him in the foot. Unbeknownst to Roush, the injury spared him from the rigors of the bloody battle of Antietam.

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Civil War, Charlels D. Roush


Military History | United States History

The Civil War Days of Captain Charles D. Roush: Company B, 6th Pennsylvania Regiment Reserves