Skip to main content


John G. Staysa Civil War Diary

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: ViU-2023-0026

Content Description

This collection contains the diary of John G. Staysa of the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Company G, documenting his experience in 1862 of the Civil War as a private in the Union army. The diary describes his regiment's movements around Virginia and Maryland, including the First Battle of Winchester, encounters with Confederate forces, and his time spent in a hospital recovering from pleurisy. On the front flyleaf is the ownership signature of John G. Staysa, noting his hometown of Clara in Potter County, Pennsylvania. He would have been about 21 at the time he penned this account. The diary begins on January 25, 1862, with Staysa stationed near Hancock, Maryland, a strategic location on the Potomac River bordering West Virginia. The Battle of Hancock, part of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's campaign to disrupt the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, had taken place only three weeks before, with the Union soldiers outlasting the Confederate artillery and their attempts to cross the river. Over the next six months, Staysa records the daily goings-on, including the weather, the circulating reports of Confederate activity, and the failing health of much of the regiment. Staysa spent most of March 1862 in the hospital in Frederick, Maryland, where he comments on the number of wounded and sick. Staysa recovered and, on April 4, wrote of his departure to Winchester, Virginia, on the first leg of what would become a long march through the Shenandoah Valley, with Jackson's army close on the Union's path. This diary section includes a roughly drawn map of the "gap in the mountain" taken by Staysa's Company near New Market, Virginia. The final major event recorded is the First Battle of Winchester on May 25. Staysa describes his involvement in the Union retreat from Strasburg, Virginia, back to Williamsport, Maryland. The diary ends shortly after that, on June 2, 1862. The final pages are used as an improvised ledger, inventorying various goods. John G. Staysa died near Petersburg, Virginia, on June 18, 1864. Shortly before his death, Staysa rose to the rank of corporal. He was buried first on the Ruffin Plantation before his remains were relocated to City Point National Cemetery in Hopewell, Virginia.

Acquisition Type



Purchased from Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts, 24 January 2023.

Restrictions Apply



  • Creation: January 25 - June 2, 1862


0.03 Cubic Feet (1 letter-sized file folder)


One diary