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Phillip Smith Civil War Diary, Day by Day Account

This is an amazing insight into the world of a Union soldier during America’s Great Civil War. It is a diary of a common man, an immigrant who settled near Peoria, Illinois at a time when much of the state was still covered in big blue stem and rattlesnake grass. Phillip Smith came to America from Prussia in 1842. We know this from entries in both the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census reports. What we don’t know is what happened between the time of his arrival in North America and his appearance in Peoria. Like most immigrants from Prussia, his parents, Paul and Anna Dietrich Smith, probably made passage into one of the many eastern ports...New York, Boston, or Charleston, to name a few. Like most Germans they were probably farmers looking for land in the New World. Illinois, and indeed all of the mid-west, represented tremendous opportunities and it was in Peoria, Illinois that we first see Phillip as a young man. What we do know is that Phillip, received a better than average education. His writing, grammar and insights represent a degree of knowledge that was not that common for the time.

Read Phillip Smith's Civil War Diary online, also available for Purchase

Robert C. Wilson
Peoria Historical Society


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