The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964

Iotes and DOCAuM#ts
rhe Diary of Captain 1eorge W. O'fric, 1863
Edited by COOPER K. RAGAN
THE YEAR 1863 HAS BEEN WELL REMEMBERED IN CIVIL WAR
history for the bloody campaigns of Chancellorsville, Get-
tysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. Al-
most forgotten have been the valiant efforts of General Richard
Taylor and his grossly outnumbered men who defended southwest
Louisiana and the approaches to Texas while attention was focused
on the other side of the Mississippi. Yet there, too, was waged a
campaign of great import. For those interested in the action in
this theatre of conflict the diary of George W. O'Brien, ilth
(Spaight's) Battalion of Texas Volunteers, C.S.A., is a first-rate
day-by-day chronicle of a Confederate soldier who followed "Dick"
Taylor. O'Brien's diary differs from most such accounts in that
the narrative is exceedingly well worded, the handwriting is clear
and legible, and the spelling, punctuation, and grammar are ex-
cellent. The period covered is from May 9, 1863, the date Captain
O'Brien left Galveston for service in Louisiana, to December
29, 1863, when he was again back in Texas. O'Brien left a lucid
account of the marching and counter-marching, the boredom, the
sickness, the dying, and the excitement of battle-all of which
have been the lot of combat soldiers in all wars.
The original diary, presently in the hands of Captain O'Brien's
grandson, was written in pencil in an account book some three by
five inches in size. The worn and stained cover indicates that the
notebook was probably carried in the pocket of the diarist
throughout the campaign. In the back of the account book there
are also miscellaneous memoranda of a personal nature as only
a soldier would keep, such as the record of money loaned by
Captain O'Brien to various comrades, the serial number of his
revolver (3894), and this remedy for diarrhea: "1 teaspoon

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed July 9, 2014.