Skip to main content

William H. Cone diary


Identifier: 00-1921-41-0

Scope and Contents

The William H. Cone diary (1921-41-0) contains entries by William H. Cone of Litchfield County, Connecticut in 1863 and 1864 while serving in the Connecticut Volunteers 5th Regiment Infantry, Company E during the American Civil War. He dedicates a fair amount of time to describing his daily activities in the field such as being on picket, drilling, participating in dressparades, and company inspections. Of particular interest are his entries that detail the 5th Regiment's involvement in the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's "March to The Sea" through Atlanta, Georgia. Cone also includes entries for time spent in Connecticut on leave, and speaks of a short stay in Hartford with his wife in 1863 while waiting for marching orders. The couple stayed at the Trumble House on State Street during this stay in Hartford, and attended a concert at Turo Hall on Main Street. He also recounts being arrested along with several other soldiers for being absent from the Regiment without leave during a short time spent in Connecticut. The item is currently housed in 3A Box 3, along with 1 typed transcript of the diary as well as 2 typed carbon copy transcripts.


  • created: 1863-1864
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1920


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the Litchfield Historical Society for materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical or Historical Information

Private William H. Cone of the Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Company E was born in the year 1840. Having signed up for military service in Washington, Connecticut Private Cone was mustered in on July 22, 1861. He re-enlisted as a veteran on December 21, 1863, and was mustered out on July 19, 1865 at the time that the Fifth Regiment was mustered out of service in its entirety. Around the year 1863 he was married to Mary L. Cone, and the couple's home was in Woodville. After the close of the war William worked as a brick mason, and the couple had two children (Frederick W. Cone and Edith Cone). In 1880 the family was residing in Warren, Connecticut, and by 1900 William and Mary resided in Litchfield Borough. William passed away July 27, 1816. The Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers was organized in June, 1861, and was originally recruited for what was termed “Colt’s Rifle Regiment,” but when Samuel Colt’s regiment was disbanded, the men were organized into the Fifth Regiment of Infantry, under the commands of Col. Orris S. Ferry. It left for the seat of war July 29th, 1861. On the 17th of March, 1862, Col. Ferry was promoted to be Brigadier General, and Lieut. Col. Geo. D. Chapman to Colonel. Under Col. Chapman the regiment saw much active service, and performed more exhausting marches than almost any other regiment from Connecticut, having marched more than fifteen hundred miles, at one time marching for twenty-nine consecutive days, and in one day the unusual distance of forty-five miles. On leaving the State it had orders to report to Major General Banks, then at Harper’s Ferry, commanding what was termed the “Department of the Shenandoah.” March 1st, 1862, the Regiemtn crossed at Williamsport, MD, drove the enemy from Winchester, and occupied the place, but on the 24th of May, after a well fought battle, was obliged to recross the Potomac, together with the entire army. The conduct of the Fifth Connecticut Regiment at that time, especially during the retreat of the main army, is mentioned in the reports of the Brigade and Division commanders as deserving the highest praise. The regiment again went into battle at Cedar Mountain on the 9th of August, with eight companies, numbering about four hundred men, and fought most gallantly, every officer that entered the fight, but three, being either killed, wounded or taken prisoner. It formed a part of the reserve force in the battle near Washington, and was with General Pope through all his campaigns in Virginia. The regiment was also with General McClellan when he moved into Maryland. The day before the battle of South Mountain it was detached in Frederick City for Provost duty, and there remained for nearly three months. Again on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of May the Fifth was called upon to participate in the battle of Chancellorsville, and acquitted itself most creditably. July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd occurred the memorable battle of Gettysburg, in which the regiment took an active part, although, from the peculiar disposition of its forces, the casualties were less than in any former battle – three wounded and five missing. In December, 1863, the regiment was transferred to the “Department of the Cumberland,” and shortly afterwards accompanies General Sherman in his grand march through the States of Georgia and the Carolinas. About the time of the transfer the regiment, two hundred and eights of the original members re-enlisted as veterans, and the whole number of men who served the regiment was two thousand and sixty-one. On the 15th of May, 1864, it participated in the battle of Resaca, Georgia, losing in killed and wounded fifty-one officers and men. Again on the 25th of the same month is was engaged in the battle of Dallas, Georgia. The regiment also bore a part in the succeeding battles of Marietta, Peach Tree Creek, and Atlanta, Georgia, Chesterfield Court House, South Carolina and the battle of Silver Run, North Carolina, which was its last engagement. On the 19th of July, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service (History of the Fifth Regiment taken from Catalogue of Connecticut volunteer organizations, (infantry, cavalry, and artillery) in the service of the United States, 1861-1865. Hartford, CT: Brown and Gross, 1869).

Note written by


0.00 Linear Feet

1 item. other_unmapped

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Mrs. William H. Cone

Method of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

multi-part note content

Other Descriptive Information

This collection was processed with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

William H. Cone diary
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)