Hezekiah R. Thomas, born in Wales and a printer by trade, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Sept. 2, 1862. This collection contains a photocopy of his diary between Aug. 27, 1862, and July 22, 1863, during his service as a landsman on the U.S.S. Miami in the lower Chesapeake and Cape Hatteras regions. For the last two months of the diary, he served on the U.S.S. D. B. Stellman at Cape Hatteras. Thomas describes everyday life on board, including methods of punishment, treatment by officers, quality of the food, black and white relations, and his own resentment at Emancipation as a war goal. In addition, he used his diary to record poetry, some of his own composition. The collection also contains an incomplete copy, from the National Archives, of a muster roll of the Miami on Mar. 31, 1863, which indicates that Thomas was 24 years old at that time.
James H. Ducker arranged for Golden and Pearl Ducker of Columbiaville, Mich., to loan the diary to the Illinois Historical Survey for photocopying in 1979.