One of the best primary accounts of the Civil War by a Confederate.
John Dooley was the youngest son of Irish immigrants to Richmond, Virginia, where his father prospered, and the family took a leading position among Richmond’s sizeable Irish community. Early in 1862, John left his studies at Georgetown University to serve in the First Virginia Infantry Regiment, in which his father John and brother James also served. John’s service took him to Second Manassas, South Mountain, Sharpsburg (Antietam), Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg; before that last battle, Dooley was elected a lieutenant. On the third day at Gettysburg, Dooley swept up the hill in Pickett’s charge, where he was shot through both legs and lay all night on the field, to be made a POW the next day. Held until February 27, 1865, Dooley made his way back south to arrive home very near the Confederacy’s final collapse.
Dooley’s account is valuable for the content of his service and because most of the material came from his diary, with some interpolations (which are indicated as such) that he made shortly after the war’s end when his memory was still fresh. Dooley’s health seems to have been permanently compromised by his wounds; he entered a Roman Catholic seminary after the war and died in 1873 several months before his ordination was to take place.