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Summer Fine Art & Antiques Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 560

Civil War Diary of William W. Goodwin, CSA, Nashville TN

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,200
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Diary of William W. Goodwin of Tennessee, who participated in the Confederate Cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest and Gen. William Hicks Jackson (owner of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation) during the Civil War. William Washington Goodwin was born in Nashville in 1847 to attorney George Goodwin and Louisa Goodwin, making him about 17 years old at the time this account of the war was written. The diary, commercially printed for 1864, contains Goodwin's entries starting Oct. 14, 1864 and continuing through May 26, 1865. Among these references are several mentions of "Jackson's Escort", the Battle of Spring Hill, action in Alabama, and finally, the South's surrender. According to the book "I Remember Raleigh [TN]", self published by Goodwin's granddaughter Mary Winslow Chapman in 1977, Goodwin "ran away from school to join Forrest's Cavalry" (Note: Nathan Bedford Forrest is not mentioned by name in the diary, and we have yet to find Goodwin's name in the official rosters of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry). A copy of this book, which transcribes most of the diary, accompanies this lot. Some notable references include: Oct. 27, 1864: "Found skirmishers, saw a flag and some Yankees. Came near being shot by stray shell." Nov. 22, 1864: "Mac Halfacre killed." Nov. 23: "Fought all day yesterday and sat up all night with Mac's body. Went out foraging in the morning and found the regiment gone. Went out on the Pulaski Road and camped." (Note:Joseph McBride "Mac” Halfacre, age 25, on November 22, 1864 was shot and killed by a Union soldier when he was serving as a courier... in Martin's High Cavalry, Co. B. Rock City Guards, Field's 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment, when he was halted at a roadblock near Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. -Halfacre Reams Fleming Family Cemetery Historical marker). Nov. 24: Caught up with the regiment this morning and started towards Lynnville." Goodwin's diary references "marching this morning for Spring Hill.. and found them fighting at town" on Nov. 29 (the day of the Battle of Spring Hill) but notes that he was "not engaged." On Nov. 30 he notes that he "started early for Franklin and got into a mess." By Dec. 1 he is "staying with John Dismukes who was wounded in yesterday's fight in the leg" and was later moved to "Dr. Henderson's". Goodwin's pencil entries for the dates of the infamous Battle of Franklin are worn to the point of being illegible and are marred by a dark brown stain, possibly blood. Goodwin was apparently unable to obtain a new diary for 1865, and begins his notes for the new year at the spaces for January 1, 1864 (scratching through the printed 4s so that the date reads 1865). The 1865 entries follow the Cavalry's movements through Alabama, including Tuscaloosa and Selma. April 2, 1865: "Moved out towards Scottsville and Met Yankees on about 4 miles. Wilson's had a squall fight with them." April 30, 1865: "News of the surrender of General Lee confirmed today... many men are disposed to be despondent. I have not felt the least downspirited myself." May 1: "Division assembled this morning to hear Gen. Jackson speak. The Gen. confirmed in a few words the report of Gen. Lee's surrender but contradicted the report of the surrender of this department." May 2: "The probable downfall of our government seems to depress many of the men very much... Gov. Harris has arrived." May 3: "Gov. H is despondent but told the soldiers to stand to their arms to the last. There seems no disposition to run away among the boys." Goodwin's final entries record his return to his hometown, where the presence of Federal troops continued despite the cessation of military actions. May 23, 1865: "Arrived in Nashville late yesterday evening. Was glad to see them all again. Found the city altered a great deal since I left it... the girls have all changed a great deal." May 25, 1865: "Feel like I want to be free again just about this time. Can't bear to mingle with these Yankees." Also includes a clipping of a poem from a newspaper titled "High Tide at Gettysburg." Note: His last entry mentions mailing a letter to Overton Lea, likely John Overton Lea, who eventually gave William W. Goodwin his first job, looking after his real estate interests in Memphis. Goodwin went on to also become a prosperous land owner in the Memphis area. He married Mary Blythe and constructed a mansion at 4066 James Road called "Goodwinslow", which was inherited by his daughter, Anne, and still stands. Anne Goodwin married Brig. General Eben Eveleth Winslow, the grandson of Union Admiral John Ancrum Winslow, commander of the USS Kearsarge. Goodwinslow remained in the possession of William Goodwin's descendants until being sold earlier this year, along with many of its contents including this diary and relics of the USS Kearsarge, and objects relating to E.E. Winslow (also being sold in this auction). This lot will include a copy of a notarized provenance letter from the direct descendant of General Winslow.



Overall good condition. The majority of the entries are written in pencil and a few have virtually disappeared, while others remain easy to read. Scratches, abrasions and 2" tear to cover at spine, but spine is mostly intact. Pages toned with some scattered foxing.

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Bank: Pinnacle Bank
150 Third Avenue South, Suite 900
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone # (865) 766-3000
Swift Code: PNFPUS44
Routing, Transit, ABA: 064008637
Beneficiary: Case Antiques, Inc.
4310 Papermill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
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