Excerpts from Josiah Corban’s diary, in the collection of the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room, Handley Regional Library, Winchester-Franklin County Historical Society:
Monday May 30 
Hot & dry as ever. We keep on the march. Fighting some about every day & get some prisoners. Staid in the woods wearied almost to death trying to keep with the reg’t. Brisk fighting going on in the evening.
Tuesday May 31 
Made a forced march to Coal Harbor [Cold Harbor] or near there & had the most terrible fight known. The Col. Kellogg killed & Joseph Payne & we don’t know how many more. 1000 Rebs taken.
Wednesday June 1 
Clear and pleasant. At the front & some fighting with more … not far distant. Lay on the ground near the batteries near Hanover. The troops all move at daylight and some of them before.
Thursday June 2 
Clear and hot. The fight still going on. Lay in the hollow all day and all night where Joseph P. buried. Drew two days rations. Rainy and very uncomfortable. Have not been well for six days.
Friday June 3 
Fighting commenced at daylight and continued all day and till some time after dark, we lay under fire all the time without firing our pieces. Reported 3000 Rebs taken and 16 …. Sent a letter home. Just as I keep wtih reg’t but work out with hard marching without much rest.
Thursday July 21 
Pleasant. Marching back from Snicker’s Gap toward Leeburg & was captured by some of Moseby’s gorillas & marched until late in the night & lay in the field all night & started again on a march of the most terrible roads I ever saw till 8 o’clock at night the next day.
Friday July 22 
Pleasant. Started in the morning and had to march all day and all night on till 12 o’clock at night & then we lay down till daylight.
Saturday July 23 
Pleasant. ___?___ Stransburg. Got there in the evening & stayed in an old building full of dirt. About a hundred & fifty men had drawn no rations since we started but got a little from the Rebs, fresh meat & flour.
Sunday July 24 
Pleasant. Drew rations from the Rebs & stayed in Strandsburg through the day or till towards night & went into camp for the night.
Monday July 25 
Rainy. Moved a little distance to a large old barn & stayed throughout the day. Pretty well only very sore feet & swollen legs. Very short rations. Stayed in the barn through the night. Drew a small ration of bread at night and ate it up.
Tuesday July 26 
Pleasant. Had to march 16 or 18 miles to Winchester where we stayed in by a large church or some old building that looked like it. Very footsore & stiff.
Wednesday July 27 
Pleasant. Moved about a mile and encamped for the day and night. Drew a ration of bread and meat which was good if there had been enough of it.
Thursday July 28 
Clear and pleasant. Still in camp near Winchester. Footsore & unfit to march but have a good appetite if I could get anything to eat. Oh that I were home where there is plenty. I never would go to war again if I could help it. Here I am a prisoner of war.
Friday July 29 
Still a prisoner. The ladies of Winchester bring rations to give the soldiers. They are very kind. Removed about a mile & on the southwest of the village of Winchester towards night close by a mill, a brook all around.
Tuesday August 30 
In the prison hospital yet. My meals are scant & far between & when asleep by night I dream of peace and plenty which I’ve seen of wives(?) & children, parents too, which when I left I bade adieu. I gave my life to Uncle Sam, to save our government from harm.
[Corban was paroled on September 12, 1864. He recuperated at the Annapolis Junction military hospital.]
Letter written by Josiah Corban while recovering in a military hospital after being released from a Confederate prison camp (Courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society):
Annapolis Junction, Dec. 10th 1864
Dear Wife & Children
I thought I would write a few lines again this morning & send so you need not be looking in vain for news from me. I can’t tell much but I suppose just seeing a few lines I have written will be better than nothing. The Doctors, one of them, came around yesterday to get the names of the Parole Prisoners; also when & where they were captured, when & where released, so they could make arrangements to pay them all their back pay & also their ration money while they were prisoners. They are going to pay us up pretty soon, & then give us 30 days furlough to go home. That is an order from the war department. & I suppose I can have another furlough if I want it. We all have to wear Hospital shirts. I wear a woolen one under the cotton one that they furnish. They brought in some Drawers but they were so short & small I could not wear them. The most of them were just so, but I shall get along if they will let me wear my own. …My boils have got pretty much done running, but I am so sore yet I can’t sit with much comfort & my Scurvy comes out as bad as ever yet. How long it will continue so, I don’t know, but guess the way I am doctering for it will prove a remedy after a while. I have only just begun on my butter & my Sausage… I shall have to let some one help [me] eat it, I guess, for they don’t allow me to have much meat & I intend to be as careful as possible about eating such things as will hinder me about getting rid of my scurvy. I suppose that will be one thing that will worry you for fear I will be imprudent about eating, but you need not worry for I don’t mean to. I begin to feel as if I could not wait much longer to get a letter from home. Suppose I may have one [waiting] at the Parole camp, hope they will send it here shortly.
Keep up good courage & trust in God for protection & he will sustain you through every trial. Yours the same as ever with much love to all,
Josiah B. Corban