The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 132
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
jamin M. Seaton, a thirty-year-old Central Texas volunteer, who
served throughout the war in the loth Texas Volunteer Infantry, a
regiment which saw extensive service in Arkansas in 1862, fought
in the battles around Chattanooga in late 1863, and participated
in the Atlanta campaign in 1864. As the editor of Seaton's diary,
Colonel Harold B. Simpson, points out, this volume is unique
in that nothing is known about either the author's pre-war or
post-war career. Equally unusual is the fact that the diary, cover-
ing a period of three and one-half years (from November 5, 1861,
to April 24, 1865), makes no mention of family or relatives.
Much of the early part of the diary is devoted to the numerous
problems that faced Civil War soldiers in the Trans-Mississippi
West-disease and illness, bad weather, logistical problems, patrols
and picket duty, and general boredom of service in an area that
frequently failed to receive proper attention from civilian or mil-
itary authorities. In January, 1863, Seaton and his comrades be-
came Union prisoners when Federal forces captured Arkansas
Post. After three months' imprisonment at Camp Douglas, Illinois,
Seaton was exchanged and returned to his unit then campaigning
in Tennessee. He took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Chat-
tanooga, Missionary Ridge, and Lookout Mountain, but as Colonel
Simpson notes, "unfortunately he was not unduly impressed with
the historical significance of these battles and passed them off with
routine diary entries."
The latter part of the diary relates to the Atlanta campaign of
1864, where the author gives more information concerning troop
movements, strategy, and military operations. Like some Confed-
erates at the time, the author believes that Johnston's fabian
tactics against Sherman were useless and favored a more aggres-
Although the author gives fewer details of combat that many
Civil War buffs will like, his diary does give considerable insight
into the life of the common Civil War soldier in the West. The
Texian Press and Colonel Simpson, whose enthusiasm for Civil
War subjects is probably unexcelled in the state, have combined
their respectable talents to present an attractively designed and
handsomely printed volume. The editor's notes are full, accurate,
and quite helpful for an understanding of the text. Regrettably,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/152/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.