JOSIAH M. RICE PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Rice's vivid, detailed descriptions fill his diaries. The descriptions in the two diaries chronicle the daily life of Union troops including their food, uniforms, sleeping conditions and pay. Unaccustomed to the South, Rice describes the appearance and attitudes of slaves and the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. Other topics discussed include telegraphing with mirrors, encounters with the enemy, illnesses and suicides of the troops. In pencil, he also drew local scenery to illustrate his narratives. There is some indication, however, that the diaries were written later, possibly from notes that he kept at the time. Copies of military papers, especially those related to pensions, delineate his military career.
The papers that constitute this collection, especially the diaries, are fragile. It is recommended that the photocopy or the microfilm be used.
Two diaries constitute the bulk of the series. The first diary is a detailed chronicle of Rice's journey with the 16th Battery B, 2nd U.S. Regiment of Artillery to New Mexico and Arizona. Illustrated with original drawings, this diary records details of the people, countryside, settlements, food and wildlife that Rice encountered along the way. He also depicts skirmishes and peaceful encounters with Native Americans of the Southwest.
The second diary starts with a detailed account of Rice's journey to Hilton Head, South Carolina in 1862. Later, though, he is injured and the entries become brief with newspaper illustrations instead of original drawings. He also copied letters to his wife into this journal.
The series contains copies of Rice's military papers including enlistment, discharge and pension papers as well as Rice's death certificate. The certificate contains basic information about Rice such as his date of birth and his marriage.
The microfilm reel contains a copy of Rice's diary of his journey to the American Southwest in 1851 to 1853.
The collection is open for research.
The Josiah M. Rice Papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Josiah M. Rice (1832-1914) left Elizabethtown, New York, in April 1851 to enlist in the U.S. Army. He said that he was seeking a "foreign clime." In New York City, he signed up for five years with the 16th Battery B, 2nd U.S. Regiment of Artillery. Captain H.L. Kendrick commanded the regiment. After a brief training period, the Company set sail for New Orleans, Louisiana.
The sailing ship becalmed and was towed by a steamship to New Orleans. There, the soldiers transferred to another steamship and traveled up the Mississippi River to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. From Missouri, the Company set out for Fort Leavenworth and then to Bent's Fort. From Bent's Fort, they traveled southwest (passing through Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico) until they joined Colonel Sumner's dragoons southwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Rice's group provided artillery support for Sumner's mission to subdue the Navajo in New Mexico. Setting off immediately, the troops marched through the Del Norte Valley past the black mountains until they arrived at the site that Sumner selected to erect Fort Defiance (currently Arizona). Rice was part of a detail led by Lieutenant Charles Griffin of the Second Artillery that continued marching southwest to the junction of the Gila and San Pedro Rivers in Arizona and back to Fort Defiance via Canon de Chelly. Rice helped construct Fort Defiance and explored the surrounding countryside. He was discharged in May 1853. Since he had been a minor at the time of his enlistment and his father wanted him to return home, he went back to New York.
At the time of his first enlistment, Rice listed his occupation as a miller in Elizabethtown, New York. After returning home in 1853, he became a carpenter and painter. He then married Mary Augusta Wood in 1859 and had five children. At the time of his second enlistment, they had one daughter, Carrie A. Rice.
Rice again enlisted as a Private in 1861 to serve in Company I, New York Volunteer Engineers. He was soon promoted to Corporal. The company sailed aboard the Steamer Vanderbilt to Hilton Head, South Carolina. There, under Generals Sherman and Walker, they worked to construct a fort (later called Fort Mitchel) to blockade Savannah, Georgia. Rice worked as part of a group building a pier. He was promoted to Sergeant in May 1862. While cutting down logs, he was injured and spent the next year in and out of the hospital. Never fully recovering, Rice took over the job of painting dead soldier's names on gravestones.
Rice was mustered out of the military in December 1864. He returned to Elizabethtown, New York but moved his family to Beaufort, South Carolina to superintend Federal work. In 1869, he moved to Lansing, Michigan where he was listed in the city directory as a sign and house painter. Rice died in 1914 in Lansing, Michigan.
1 Boxes (.5 lf)
1 reel ilm
Other Finding Aids
The provenance of this collection is unknown.
Number of Boxes: 1 (.5 lf)
Microfilm: 1 reel
PROCESSED AND ENCODED BY:
- Diaries Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Microfilms Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Navajo Indians -- Government relations. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Rice, Josiah M., 1832-1914 --Archives.
- Soldiers -- United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Sumner, Edwin V. (Edwin Vose), --1797-1863 -- Archival resources.
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives. Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- United States. -- Army -- Military life..
- JOSIAH M. RICE PAPERS
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script