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Peter Reeder Fortney Civil War Diaries

Identifier: MSS-4266

Scope and Contents

This collection contains two diaries kept by Ohio Union soldier Peter Reeder Fortney during the last two years of the US Civil War (1864-1865), when his company served in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama. Both diaries provide details of daily life in Fortney’s camp, such as information about food, weather, Fortney’s duties with the company’s band, and soldiers’ leisure activities. The first diary covers the period of January 1-December 29, 1864. It includes an account of Fortney's participation in the Red River Campaign, a failed attempt to capture the Confederate-held city of Shreveport, Louisiana, that lasted from March to May 1864. His observations for April 12, 1864, note that African Americans “are falling [sic] the timber in front of us the rebs are marching on and they are looking for an attack.”

The second diary covers January-August 1865, including a record of Fortney’s participation in the Union campaign to capture Mobile, Alabama, in April of that year. He also describes his company’s move to Galveston, Texas, where they stayed in June and July 1865. The final pages of Fortney’s 1865 diary list an account of his clothing costs for July and August, and contain a pressed plant above the inscription: “This Rose Leaf was taken from near the monument of B. F. Pierce in the cemetery at Selma, Alabama. May 11, 1865.” There are also several loose papers and newspaper clippings, such as a handwritten 1860 invitation to “Mr. Peter Fortney and sister,” and a typed 1915 letter from Fortney about the capture of Fort Blakeley, Alabama, during the 1865 Mobile campaign.


  • 1860-1865, 1915

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections.

For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Peter Reeder Fortney was born on November 1, 1843, and grew up in Sharonville, Hamilton County, Ohio. His mother, Ellen E. Reeder Fortney, came from a prominent Cincinnati family. When he was eighteen years old, on August 9, 1862, Peter Fortney enlisted in Company E of the 83rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment in the Union Army. He fought in this regiment until the end of the US Civil War in 1865, after which he returned to Cincinnati. He was a longtime member of the Masonic Order. Peter Fortney died on March 26, 1919, and is buried in West Chester Cemetery in West Chester, Ohio.


1.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Peter Reeder Fortney (1843-1919) was a Union soldier from Ohio who fought in the US Civil War between 1862-1865. This collection contains two diaries he kept during 1864-1865, when his company served in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Peter Reeder Fortney Civil War Diaries were acquired by The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections in 2019.

Related Materials


Townsend Heaton Letters, W.0091, The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections;

Louis Moore Paper, MSS.1657, The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections;

"Civil War Service in Selma, Alabama," PDF document from the Cincinnati History Library at

Separated Materials

Loose materials, such as folded newspaper clippings, were removed from between blank pages at the back of the 1865 diary and placed in protective housing in order to preserve the items.

Materials Specific Details

Pages are coming loose from the binding of the 1864 diary.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, January 2020.
Guide to the Peter Reeder Fortney Civil War Diaries
Erin Ryan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266