Guide to the Samuel Fowler Civil War diary, 1862-1865

Processed by Special Collections staff.
Department of Special Collections
Green Library
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, CA 94305-6004
Phone: (650) 725-1022
© 2002
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Samuel Fowler Civil War diary, 1862-1865

Collection number: M0269

Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Stanford University Libraries

Stanford, California

Contact Information

  • Department of Special Collections
  • Green Library
  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Stanford, CA 94305-6004
  • Phone: (650) 725-1022
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Special Collections staff
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Michael G. Olson
© 2002 The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

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.

Box 1, Folder 1

Photocopies of newspaper clippings attached in front of joumal mentionedin F/2.1862

Box 1, Folder 2

Handwritten journal in ink, (pp. 13-287). 1862-1864

Physical Description: ca 5x7 inches

Scope and Content Note

(2 newspaper clipings whose photocopies are contained in F/1)
Box 1, Folder 3

Newspaper review of the Civil War in 1862 ; receipt for sale of mare; handwritten account of march to Corinth, May 1862

Physical Description: (1 sheet);(1/2 sheet)

Scope and Content Note

General Van Dorn, General Sterling Price, Camp Reaves
Box 1, Folder 4

Handwritten notes on Siege of Vicksburg, Mar 9 1863 - July 4 1863

Scope and Content Note

(Generals Green, Bowen, McPherson, Pemberton), (1 sheet). Fowler passes: Aug 17 and 19, September 14, 1863 (3 items). Three seat tickets on Alabama & Mississippi Railroad, August 30, Stept 7, Dec 21, 1863 (3 items). Newspaper clippings: "A Farewell to Pope [July 1863], and prisoner excahange notice, Sept 12, 1863. Letter to Fowler from a distant relative, Nov 1863 (1 sheet)
Box 1, Folder 5

Handwritten note by S.K. Fowler from Camp Chase, Ohio, January 9,1864

Physical Description: (1/2 sheet).

Scope and Content Note

Note and rations account, January 7 to April 27, 1864 (1 sheet). Letter from S. K. Fowler to friend, March 9, 1864, from Richmond, Virginia. Express receipt, S. K. Fowler, March 29, 1864 (1 sheet). On back, copy of Company Captain's speech to troops, n.d. Note and partial letter, April 13, 1864 (1 item). Letter to S.K. Fowler from brother, D. 1. Fowler, September 8,1864, from Ashley, Missouri, note on back (1 sheet). Partial letter from S/K Fowler, n.d., , partial letter on back, October 20, 1864. List of cash reserves, November 1, 1864 (1/2 sheet). Newspaper clipping showing calendar for 1864.
Box 1, Folder 6

Diary of Hood's Campaign, 1864 (1 sheet). Notes on engagement between General Eakin's and General Cockrell's forces (2 pages), n.d.1864 , n.d.

Box 1, Folder 7

Order for S.K. Fowler to rejoin his unit, Mobile, Alabama, April 5, 1865 (1 item). Partial letter by S.K. Fowler, written at the request of fellow soldier, April 8, 1865.Apr 5 1865, Apr 8 1865

Box 1, Folder 8

Miscellaneous notes, names, ticket (1887), receipt (1888), list of candidates (Democratic), Knox City, Missouri, n.d.1887, 1888, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 9

Two handwritten copies of enlistment of Fred M. Betts, in Confederate Anny, Mar 14 1863

Scope and Content Note

assigned to Company H, 2nd' Missouri Infantry Regiment, at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, March 14, 1863.
Box 1, Folder 10

Fabric (wool, navy blue) from Federal uniform [?]n.d.

Box 2

Chapter II, Fowler essay on the Civil War (1 sheet, Ca. 8 x 13 inches). 1861-1862

Scope and Content Note

Portions of accounts of camplife and' engagements from Pea Ridge, Arkansas, across to Saltillo, Mississippi (4 pages, 10 x 17 inches)