US civil war diary from black regiment to auction in Pennsylvania

The US civil war diary of Adoniram Judson Hastings, an officer in one of the few Black regiments who fought in the conflict, is coming to auction.

The diary of the first lieutenant of the 42nd USCT (United States Colored Troops) reveals the day to day activities of the Federal unit, as Lee Kalfon, the auction house's assistant marketing director, explains.

"This was an obscure unit formed late in the war. It is rare to find primary source information on any African American unit, but since the 42nd wasn't formed until 1864 [a year before the war ended] and performed mostly garrison duty most of their stories have been lost to time," he says. 

US civil war diary
Black troops formed around 10% of the Union army

An estimated 10% of the Federal army was made up of black troops in the 1861-1865 conflict, which was instigated by the secession of the 11 slave states from the Union.

"This diary gives us an insight into the everyday life of the unit as well as how people were feeling about the events of the time," Kalfon adds.

"By 1865 many folks were weary and ready for the war to end, this diary reflects that. This unit, stationed outside Chattanooga, was in a perfect position to watch the fall of the Confederacy."

In addition to recording the minutiae of garrison life, Hastings' diary also recounts the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the shooting of his killer, John Wilkes Booth.

We have a unique piece of Lincoln memorabilia available to buy today.

No estimate has been set for the diary ahead of the October 22 auction in Pennsylvania, yet we believe it could achieve as much as $10,000, considering its fascinating subject matter and the current appetite for civil war memorabilia.

A collection of US civil war artefacts belonging to Union captain Isaac Plumb sold for $46,000 earlier this month, up 206.6% on its $15,000 estimate.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock