Marching with the First Nebraska: A Civil War Diary

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 335 pages
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August Scherneckau's diary is the most important firsthand account of the Civil War by a Nebraska soldier that has yet come to light. A German immigrant, Scherneckau served with the First Nebraska Volunteers from 1862 through 1865. Depicting the unit's service in Missouri, Arkansas, and Nebraska Territory, he offers detail, insight, and literary quality matched by few other accounts of the Civil War in the West. His observations provide new perspective on campaigns, military strategy, leadership, politics, ethnicity, emancipation, and a host of other topics.

Scherneckau takes readers on the march as he and his comrades plod through mud and snow during a grueling winter campaign in the Missouri Ozarks. He served as a provost guard in St. Louis, where he helped save a former slave from kidnappers and observed the construction of Union gunboats. He describes the process of transforming a regiment from infantry to cavalry, and his account of the First Nebraska's pursuit of Freeman's Partisans in Arkansas is an exciting portrayal of mountain fighting.

An annotated edition that brings to bear the editors' and translator's respective expertise in both the Civil War and the German language, Scherneckau's account is an important addition to primary material on the war's forgotten theater. It will be a valued resource for historian and Civil War enthusiast alike.


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September 21December 8 1862 3
In Camp at Pilot Knob February 22March 7 1863
Escorting Prisoners to St Louis
Banishing the Secessionists May 1320 1863
Building Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob
Guarding the Navy Yard at Carondelet
Mounting the First Nebraska
The March to Batesville December 1030 1863
A Casualty of War and a Furlough to Nebraska

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About the author (2007)

August Scherneckau (1837?1923) emigrated from Germany and had settled in Grand Island, Nebraska Territory, when he joined the Union Army in 1862. After the war, he moved to Oregon.

James E. Potter is Senior Research Historian with the Nebraska State Historical Society and Associate Editor of Nebraska History .

Edith Robbins , a native German and transplanted Nebraskan, is an independent scholar.

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