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Gould D. Molineaux diaries

Identifier: MSS 314

Scope and Contents

The Gould D. Molineaux diaries, 1861-1866, includes four diaries handwritten by Gould D. Molineaux during his volunteer service in the Civil War. The diary entries appear in chronological order, with the exception of the 1864-1865 diary, which begins with one entry recorded on 9 August 1864 followed by entries recorded in January-May 1865 and May-December 1864. A flag indicates the location of the 1864 entries. Following these entries are individual entries for May, June, and August 1865.

Also included are preservation photocopies of the diaries and a tintype of Gould D. Molineaux posing in his Army uniform. The tintype is housed in a decorative case.

The diaries and tintype have been digitized (and some entries transcribed) and made available in Digital Special Collections. To access these scans, click on an item's title in the record tree below.


  • Creation: 1861-1866


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Gould D. Molineaux (1835?-1883) was a clerk and bookkeeper by trade and served as a corporal (and, as of January 1864, a sergeant) in Company E of the 8th Illinois volunteer infantry. He fought the duration of the Civil War from early June 1861 to to the war's conclusion, and kept a diary through May 1866. There are conflicting sources in regard to Molineaux's age when he begins his diaries. A Peoria census taken in 1860, one year prior to first diary entry, suggests that he was 24 at the time of his first entry. Molineaux himself claims to be 27 in an entry on his birthday, February 22nd, 1862, leaving a one-year discrepancy in comparison with the census. However, Rebecca Blackwell Drake's small introductory biography on Molineaux claims he was 22 when he enlisted in the Union Army.

Throughout the diaries, Molineaux revels himself to be an avid letter-writer and mentions sending and receiving letters from loved ones, including his mother, Eveline Keyon; stepfather, Lewis Keyon; sister Phoebe ("Phebe"); and her husband George F. Laubach (sometimes referred to as "G.F.L."), in his hometown of Peoria, Illinois. Molineaux was married to Esther S. Molineaux (1837-1930), though she is never mentioned in the diaries and was presumably wed to him after their conclusion. Although never injured in the war, Molineaux suffered from various illnesses throughout his life. Notably, on 25 October 1861, he was offered a 20 day furlough back to Peoria in the interest of his health. Later, on 4 June 1863, he was struck with dysentery and sent to a division hospital, then later moved to Webster Hospital in Memphis. He received another furlough for 30 days following his hospital discharge in early August. The journal continues in May of the following year.

Molineaux wrote primarily about the weather conditions of the day and their often adverse effects on the camping soldiers. He participated in a number of important battles during the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863 in Mississippi, including the battles of Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Big Black River Bridge, and Vicksburg. His diary entries during the Battle of Raymond were used as source material for Rebecca Blackwell Drake's In Their Own Words, a book about the May 1863 confrontation compiled through various soldiers' first-hand accounts.

From 1865 on, Molineaux was stationed in Mobile, Alabama. While his earlier entries are intense and action oriented, describing moments of combat, the maneuvers of "the rebels" or listing the wounds of friends and fellow soldiers, his later entries are comparatively calmer and more likely to detail office reports and stock lists as well as the occasional mention of "exploding shells." Though all the diaries show evidence of struggle, earlier entries recount Molineaux as being sick and sleeping in the snow with little food, while later entries are more apt to talk of visits to restaurants, theaters, and even church. Molineaux died in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1883 at the age of 48. He was buried in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois. His diaries were entrusted to the care of his wife.


0.4 Cubic Feet (/ 1 box)

Language of Materials



Gould D. Molineaux (1835?-1883) served as a corporal and sergeant in Company E of the 8th Illinois volunteer infantry. He fought the duration of the Civil War from early June 1861 to to the war's conclusion, including many important battles during the Vicksburg Campaign. This collection contains four diaries handwritten by Gould D. Molineaux during his volunteer service in the Civil War and a tintype of Molineaux posing in his Army uniform.


Collection is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received in 1993 from an anonymous donor whose wife had cared for Esther Molineaux.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection has been digitized and made accessible in Digital Special Collections at

Related Materials

MSS 132 Basil H. Messler diary

Processing Information

Processed by Allison James, 2007. Revised by Atticus Garrison, October 2015.

Gould D. Molineaux diaries, 1861-1866.
Atticus Garrison
October 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States