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Guide to the Samuel Fowler Civil War diary, 1862-1865
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Access Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Fowler, Samuel. Civil War diary,
    Date (inclusive): 1862-1865
    Collection number: M0269
    Creator: Fowler, Samuel
    Extent: 1 linear ft. (1 manuscript box and 1 print box)
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Abstract: Raised in Iowa, Fowler enlisted in the Confederate forces in February of 1862 at the age of 19. He was a member of the 2nd Missouri Volunteer Regiment of Infantry which crisscrossed the South, seeing action in every major battle of that area for the next three years. He survived the war, returning to Missouri where at some time he ran for the office of County Clerk of Knox County.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information



    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    Samuel Fowler Civil War diary. M0269. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased, 1981.


    Purchased, 1981.


    In the Civil War, Missouri was a critical border state, containing numbers of Northern and Southern sympathizers. Before the outbreak of war, popular Sterling Price, an ex-governor of Missouri and staunchly on the Southern side, had formed the Missouri Home Guard MHG) that was predominantly pro-Southern. With the War declared, "Pappy" Price quickly engineered the formation of the 2~' Missouri Volunteer Regiment of Infantry, the nucleus of which was the MHG, and brought it formally under the Confederate banner. The regional stronghold of Confederate forces was in the southwest corner of Missouri, with Springfield the location of the Confederate Command.
    When retail clerk, Samuel K. Fowler, aged 19, crossed into Missouri from his home in Iowa, traveling to Springfield to enlist in the 2nd Missouri in February of 1862, the regiment had already fought the Federals to a draw at Wilson's Creek, near Springfield on August 10, 1861, and was about to do the same at Pea Ridge, just over the Arkansas border, on March 6-8, 1862. After Pea Ridge, the Confederate Command was reorganized under the skillful tactician Earl Van Dorn, to whom Price and his men now reported. Van Dorn's orders led the regiment across the state and down to Tupelo, Mississippi, to serve in the heart of the South. From his first day under the Confederate flag, enlistee Samuel K. Fowler's life took on the aura of "charmed."
    Crisscrossing the South, the 2~' Missouri saw action in every major battle of that area for the next three years-Iuka, Corinth, Shiloh in 1862, Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Vicksburg in 1863, and John Bell Hood's rambling Tennessee campaign, ending in the Battle of Franidin in 1864. Rising to the rank of sergeant, and unhurt all this time, Fowler was captured at Vicksburg, paroled, and exchanged, and was slightly wounded and again was captured at Franidin. After a brief stay in prison hospital, he remained a prisoner for another few months before being exchanged in time to see action in the last Confederate engagements around Mobile Bay. Fowler survived the War, returning to Missouri, where at some time he ran for the office of County Clerk of Knox County, Missouri. It is not known whether he won election, but the fact that he ran indicates a rather well educated man.
    So does the heart of this collection, Fowler's over-250 page diary. A keen observer of events and aware of the historic nature of the national struggle, Fowler's extensive diary recorded the 2nd Missouri's actions in flowery, often exciting, prose. For example, his record of the Siege of Vicksburg, in which he was a defender, brings to life those horrendous days for soldier and civilian alike in a way that only one who had been there could describe. One factor that contributed to his charmed life and to the consistency of the diary was the fact that he was assigned to a company (even when losses dictated the consolidation of companies) that was inevitably, through the luck of the draw, kept in reserve of the main force. This meant that his company was spared head-on attacks that took such toll of his fellow soldiers. Not that his company did not see action, but the main force of the attack had already been absorbed when, and if, Fowler's company was thrown into the fray. This gave him time to observe and record in
    detail what he saw. Around the diary in this collection are a few telling letters, a few new clippings of the time and other memorabilia that supplement the details of Fowler's remarkable army experience.

    Access Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.