“Death does seem to have all he can attend to”

The Civil War Diary of an Andersonville Survivor

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About the Book

On August 7, 1862, George Alfred Hitchcock (born in Massachusetts in 1844) was mustered into Company A, 21st Massachusetts Infantry. From this date until January 1, 1865, he kept a meticulous daily diary.
His first experience in battle was at Fox’s Gap on South Mountain, and then an attack across Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam. Then came the disastrous Union advance toward Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg; a journey by rail to Paris, Kentucky, via Pittsburgh, Columbus (drunken 21st Infantry soldiers in conflict with local security) and Cincinnati; the protection of the Mount Sterling, Kentucky, area from guerrillas; an expedition from Camp Nelson through the Cumberland Gap to eastern Tennessee; Burnside’s Knoxville campaign; the arduous winter return march to Camp Nelson with Confederate prisoners; efforts to regain his health and a return to the 21st Regiment; and a compelling account of his capture at Cold Harbor and imprisonment at Andersonville and Millen, Georgia, and Florence, South Carolina; and finally, his release.

About the Author(s)

New Jersey high school principal Ronald G. Watson retired to Burlington, North Carolina. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush selected Watson as the 704th Daily Point of Light in his “Thousand Points of Light” recognition of outstanding community service.

Bibliographic Details

George A. Hitchcock
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos & illustrations, 3 maps, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7890-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1400-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Foreword by Edwin C. Bearss 1

Preface by Ronald G. Watson 5

Introduction by Ronald G. Watson 7

Introduction by George A. Hitchcock 11

1. Apprenticeship to Uncle Sam 13

2. The Maryland Campaign 22

3. The Fredericksburg Campaign 36

4. Winter at Falmouth 55

5. Removal to Newport News 65

6. Transfer to the Department of the Ohio 72

7. Spring and Summer in Eastern Kentucky 81

8. The East Tennessee Campaign 108

9. Winter in the Mountains 137

10. Hospital Life 148

11. Grant’s Campaign 155

12. Captured at Cold Harbor 168

13. Prisoner of War 173

14. Andersonville, Georgia 178

15. Camp Lawton—Millen, Georgia 208

16. Florence, South Carolina 215

17. Release 218

18. Hitchcock’s Commentary in 1890 on Union Prisoners of War 225

19. Hitchcock After the War 232

Bibliography 237

Index 241


Book Reviews

“an exceptional, down-to-earth, insightful diary”—Civil War News; “most welcome…highly recommended”—Blue & Gray Magazine; “well organized and handsome volume. Scholars and other interested readers will appreciate a diary from an enlisted man who experienced so much of the Civil War and who wrote about it with such astuteness and eloquence”—Army History; “A rare and comprehensive look at one infantry soldier’s experiences in the America Civil War…. This book would be of interest to a number of Civil War audiences. This includes the experiences of an infantry soldier; the movements and campaigns of the 21st Massachusetts Infantry; and prisoner of war conditions. In addition, persons studying war in any time period would find value in Hitchcock’s entries.”—Janie C. Morris, retired Research Librarian, Special Collection Library, Duke University.