Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A & M University

Inventory of the John Henry Bliler Diary:


Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Bliler, John Henry
Title Inventory of the John Henry Bliler Diary:
Dates 1862-1865
Abstract The John Henry Bliler Diary (1862-1865) records Bliler's account of his activities during the United States Civil War. The collection is comprised of six notebooks or exercise tablets (the actual diary), index, transcript, with photostatic copy of diary, condensation of diary, photocopy of index, transcript, photostatic copy and condensation of the diary .
Identification Ragan MSS 00120
Extent 1 box (.5 linear feet).
Language English.
Repository Cushing Memorial Library College Station, TX 77843-5000

Biographical Note

John Henry Bliler was born September 8, 1844, near Manchester, Ohio. Bliler enlisted in Co. H, 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, on August 4, 1862. During the Civil War, he served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia (including New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, and the Atlanta campaign). He served under General William Tecumseh Sherman, and against such Southern generals as Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood.

Scope and Content Note

The John Henry Bliler Diary (1862-1865) was apparently kept in the Bliler family in some form since the Civil War, on up until it was acquired by the repository. John Henry Bliler seems to have copied over his original diary several times himself, and this last copy, probably made just prior to Bliler's death in 1924, appears to occupy all but a few leaves of the five exercise tablets. As noted in the description of Series 1., these first five exercise books could not possibly have contained a copy made any earlier than 1890. The only exception seems to be a portion of the last tablet, which is filled by entries copied over in pencil in 1944 by one of Bliler's descendants, Ardath Bliler Kelly, reportedly since the family copy had become quite damaged by then.

Thus, according to p. 56 of the typewritten transcript of the diary entries in the five exercise books, John Henry "Bliler copied his account of the Civil War three times during his lifetime. The last copy was made shortly before his death in 1924." On page numbered 116 in pencil in the fifth exercise book, an entry made in a different handwriting, dated 31 Mar. 1944, reads "The following copied from by [sic.] original by Ardath Bliler Kelly, granddaughter of the narrater [sic.]. The original is ragged and yellowed and crumbling." Entries which are thus copied on p. 116-123 of this last exercise book are out of order, dated 24 June [1865]-29 June 1865, followed by a note in Ardath Bliler Kelly's hand, "A portion of the original omitted in the copy," then 24 Jan.-31 Jan. 1865.

The typed transcript and index were probably made by Roy K. Bliler later than 1944, and not too long previous to when it was received by the repository. This transcript preserves the original order of John Henry Bliler's diary entries.


Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 4 series.
Series 1. Diary, 1862-1865, 1920s-1944.
Series 2. Index, transcript, with photostatic copy of diary, undated.
Series 3. Condensation of Diary, undated.
Series 4. Photocopy of index, transcript, photostatic copy and condensation of Diary, Feb. 2003.



Restricted access to original diary notebooks. Permission to view the very fragile original diary must be granted by the Director of Cushing Memorial Library, and an appointment will be made if permission is granted. Photocopy surrogates are available in the repository.

Usage Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Online Catalog Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of Cushing Memorial Library. Researchers wishing to find related materials should search the catalog under these index terms.
Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891.
Hood, John Bell, 1831-1879.
Longstreet, James, 1821-1904.
Bliler, John Henry.

Administrative Information


Received from Roy K. Bliler of Houston, Texas.

Processing Information

Processed by Aletha Andrew in February 2003

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series 1. Diary. RESTRICTED, 11 Nov. 1863-31 Jan. 1865

Six notebooks or exercise tablets, each measuring 26 x 21 cm. Five of the exercise tablets have red cloth taped binding at the tops, with white machine ruled pages and white paper covers, illustrated with a design which includes the United States flag with 44 gold stars and thirteen stripes on it, aloft against a pale blue sky, with "THE STARS AND STRIPES" in gold letters outlined in red at the top. Since it was not possible for these tablets to have been produced at least until after 1890 when Wyoming became the forty-fourth state in the Union, this copy of the diary had to have been copied out twenty-five years or more after the original entries were made in 1862-1865. The sixth exercise tablet is similar in size, but with green tape binding at the top, a buff colored cover, and and design incorporating a leaf and vine design in which the words" A COLUMBUS EXERCISE TABLET, PRICE 5 CTS" is divided in the center by a round seal of a sun rising over a tree-surrounded field of harvested wheat sheaves labeled "THE SEAL OF OHIO LINE."Below is an underlined space labeled "Name" and beside it another underlined space labeled "Teacher."
All six notebooks have been rubber stamped in black ink on covers and all pages, probably by a later owner in the twentieth century, with a three-line label: "Civil War Diary of, John Henry Bliler, 1862-1863-1864-1865."Front covers of the notebooks are also inscribed in ink as well, apparently in John Henry Bliler's hand, with a numbering sequence as follows: "no 2 of 7 AND No. 1. of 7"; "No 3 OF 7, From Nov 11th 1863 To May 16 [carat] inclusive 1864"; "NO 4 OF 7, From May 17th 1864 To [unclear] 3rd [ditto i.e. 1864] inclusive"; NO 5 OF 7, "From Oct 4th 1864 to Nov 30th inclusive 1864"; "From Nov 30th 1865 to April 12th 1863 [Note: part of this in pencil to replace information from a torn area on cover], No 6 OF 7"; "No 7 OF 7." Pages of the diary are numbered continuously in the lower right corner in pencil: 1-9 [i.e.8], 9, 11-25 [notebook "No 2"]; 26-44 [notebook "No 3"]; 45-64 [notebook "No 4"]; 65-83 [notebook "No 5"]; 84-106 [notebook "No 6"]; 107-123 [notebook "No 7."
The penciled page numbers and a few other notes were probably made by a later owner of the diary, with a view toward constructing the index which accompanies the photostatic copy of the original pages and the typewritten transcript held in a blue three-ring binder, described in Series 2. of this collection. The text of the black-inked three-line rubber stamped label on the notebooks' covers and pages matches exactly that of the typed label affixed to the front cover of this blue three-ring binder.
Each of the first five exercise books are also stamped in blue ink on the cardboard back cover with a three-line label: "From STEIGLER BROS., 520 Central Avenue, HOT SPRINGS, - ARK." Steigler Brothers is a bookstore, and may have been the original purveyor of the blank exercise books.
Entries written by Bliler are in pencil and black or blue ink. All pages have come apart from the top bindings of the exercise tablets. Some water damage obscures a few entries, and a very few pages have torn edges by which portions of entries have been lost irretrievably, but the handwriting is overall very legible.
1/1 Series 1. Diary 1862-1865, 1920s-1944.


Series 2. Index, transcript, with photostatic copy of diary, undated

All materials in Series 2. contained in a blue three-ring binder with labels on front cover and spine "CIVIL WAR DIARY OF JOHN HENRY BLILER," the front label including the sequence of years "1862-1863-1864-1865." Apparently created by previous owners, Roy K. Bliler and his wife, Dixie K. Bliler of Houston, Tex.
Photocopy of single page index. Titled "INDEX TO CIVIL WAR DIARY [J.H. BLILER]" Includes chart with headings for: "DATE [of diary entry], HAND PAGE [handwritten diary page number], TYPE PAGE [typewritten transcript page number], LOCATION [geographical place names]" repeated in three columns. Rubber stamped in black ink on back twice with three line name and address: "Roy K. or Dixie A. Bliler, 3213 Heatherwood Drive, Bryan, Texas 77801," with 7-digit phone number written in ink below the address. Also original pencil copy of index, without title, but with clearer note than the photocopy in the bottom margin for asterisks marked inside some "HAND PAGE" cells, which are keyed to "FIGHTING."
Photocopy of typed transcript. Titled"CIVIL WAR DIARY OF JOHN HENRY BLILER" - 1862-[1862-1864-1865 crossed out in ink on page one, but thereafter the year appropriate to the entries on the page of the transcript is circled in the title, which occurs on each page] of John Henry Bliler. Original paper was three-hole punched on the left side of page, and numbered by hand in lower left and right corners of each page 1-63, 63 [i.e. 64]-66. Page one if labeled below the title by hand as "Preface," and p. 66 had "THE END" typed at the end of the text in the original copy.
1/2 Index, transcript, with photostatic copy of diary, undated


Series 3. Condensation of Diary, undated

Mimeographed typewritten copy. Titled "THE CIVIL WAR DIARY OF PVT. JOHN HENRY BLILER (A CONDENSATION)." Typewritten numbers in lower right corners of pages: 1-9. Presents abridged transcribed entries from Bliler's original diary. This version also apparently created by previous owners, Roy K. Bliler and his wife, Dixie K. Bliler of Houston, Tex.
1/3 Condensation of Diary undated


Series 4. Photocopy of index, transcript, photostatic copy and condensation of Diary, Feb. 2003

Photocopy made by repository in February 2003 on archival paper to use as a surrogate, or for reproduction purposes of all materials in the notebook, as well as the condensation of the diary.
1/4 Photocopy of index, transcript, photostatic copy and condensation of Diary, Feb. 2003