Augustus O. McDonell Papers, Letter, April 28, 1861

A Guide to the Augustus O. McDonell Papers ( Related URL )

Material Information

Augustus O. McDonell Papers, Letter, April 28, 1861
Series Title:
Augustus O. McDonell Papers (1861-1864)
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
McDonell, Augustus Oswald
Creation Date:
Physical Location:
Box: Diary Box 2


Subjects / Keywords:
Armed Forces -- Officers -- Diaries   ( lcsh )
History -- Personal narratives, confederate -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865   ( lcsh )
Civil War in Florida, 1861-1865   ( fhp )


The writings of Augustus O. McDonell cover the opening confrontation between Union and Confederate troops in Florida over possession of Pensacola and Escambia Bay, and also chronicle his experiences in the western campaigns of 1862-1864.
In a letter dated April 22, 1861 to his father, McDonell described the training of soldiers at Camp Magnolia in Pensacola. The number of soldiers is given along with the jobs that McDonell and others were trained to perform. He expresses his feelings about the capture of Ft. Sumter together with the excitement about the "Old Dominion" (Virginia) entering the Confederate States of America. A second letter dated April 28th, 1861 to his mother notes that the name of his camp (Magnolia) comes from the flowering trees around it. The letters also describe Union efforts to protect their hold on Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island.
The diary of Augustus McDonell covers his service with the 1st Florida Battalion in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia from the dates August 10, 1862 to March 31st, 1864. McDonell includes many personal accounts from battles fought in these states especially the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 8th, 1862. Other battles described are Dalton and the Atlanta Campaign. The hardships and ideas of soldiers during the Civil War are expressed through poems and drawings that McDonell pieced together over the span of one year. Financial records were also kept in his diary that gave a basic day-to-day expense table of personal and Battalion purchases. He included a tally of dead, wounded, and missing soldiers with most of his battles entries along with the names and sometimes the ranks of soldiers in his Company (Company D). Drawings depict women and men dressed in uniforms and formal wear; these are not identified.
Augustus Oswald McDonell (a.k.a. MacDonell and McDonnell) was born on April 10, 1839, in Savannah, Georgia. He came to Florida in 1854 where he was educated and worked as a merchant in Archer, Florida, until the start of the Civil War. In 1860 he joined the Gainesville Minute Men, which laid the groundwork for his entrance into the military in 1861. He served as a private in Pensacola, Florida, then was promoted to lieutenant in command of Company K, First Florida Infantry, and was soon made captain. He served until his capture on August 7, 1864, during battle in Atlanta, and was held at Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, until the close of the war in 1865. He returned to Florida and married Eliza Allen, daughter of Charles Henry Allen of Abbeveille, South Carolina, on October 9, 1867. They had nine children. In 1871 McDonell became chief clerk to the general superintendent of the Florida Railroad under the Seaboard Air Line system. He was promoted several times, ultimately becoming general passenger agent of the Seaboard Air Line system in Jacksonville, Florida, in July of 1900.
Source of Description:
Originally derived from archival-level ALEPH record 028049970 ( OCLC: 49231143 )
Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) as part of the Pioneer Days in Florida Project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, Special Collections
Rights Management:
Photocopies of the letters and of the diary are available for research use. Access to the original diary is restricted due to its fragile nature. Contact an archivist or the curator of Florida history for permission to see the original.
Resource Identifier:
System ID:

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