Confederate diary

David Jackson Logan was a native of York, South Carolina, who as a member of the Tramp Brigade (17th South Carolina Volunteers), he moved with his fellow soldiers all over the South, from Jackson, Mississippi to Wilmington, N.C., and Charleston, and north to Petersburg, Va. He enlisted shortly after Fort Sumter in 1861, and died from a sniper’s bullet outside Petersburg in 1864. In a way, his death was fortunate. It was quick. “He ordered the men to keep down their heads for the enemy were sharpshooting fast,” a fellow soldier wrote in his diary, “and in his zeal for his men, exposed himself when a stray ball struck him square in the forehead killing him instantly.” He was buried in the Bethesda Presbyterian Church cemetery.

Logan was also a literate man, and wrote letters not only to his wife, but dispatches that were printed in the Yorkville Enquirer.

Although Logan was a patriot, he also could see which way the wind was blowing. “I fear Bonds, Confed money &c will be awfully depreciated now,” he wrote to his wife in July 1863. “Dispose of my bonds if you can favorably for a negro, land or any thing.”

Diaries only form the raw material of history, and it requires a capable editor to shape the material that is accessible to the general reader. Logan is lucky in having two such editors. Winthrop University professor Jason Silverman and Samuel Thomas, Jr., curator of manuscripts at the Historical Center of York, provided a brief prologue describing Logan’s family, his birth and upbringing and pre-war York County, and an afterward describing, as best as can be gathered, what happened to the Logan family . They provided not only an ample number of footnotes, but — rarely seen in diaries — a biographical list identifying the many names that pop up in Logan’s papers. “A Rising Star” is handsomely printed, with particular care given to reproducing the few photographs available for use.