The book transcribes the diaries of the Rev. Joseph Mateer who served from November 1863 to October 1864 as the Chaplain of the 155th PA Volunteers. The 155th was formed primarily from the Sligo, Rimersburg and Curllsville areas of Clarion County, PA.
The diaries are pocket sized with as many as 3 days’ recorded on a page in pencil or pen and ink as conditions allowed. The original abbreviations, spelling and formatting are maintained as much as possible. The book contains a key to abbreviations, some definitions, brief historical notes, supplementary information and an index with many names still recognizable in Clarion County. Included are maps of the County and routes tracing where Rev. Mateer served in Virginia.
The first part of the diaries describes life in Winter camp in Warrenton Junction, Virginia, then includes camp and troop movements including action on the railroads, skirmishes and battles near Brandy Station, the Rappahannock, Rapidan, Appomattox and James Rivers, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, Petersburg, the Crater, Weldon Railroad and City Point, all in Virginia.
Sprinkled throughout the book are events, scripture references, mention of letters to and from parishioners and family at home, war news from other areas, weather and camp conditions, statistical information, financial transactions and promotion politics. He reported on hospital visits, deaths, illnesses and injuries of soldiers and his attempts to comfort them and provide them with reading and letter writing materials. The book references more than 380 names, places and events important to the soldiers, their families, prominent Pittsburgh people and places and the impact of the civil war on local residents and the nation.