George W. Thumb, of Morris, Ill., enlisted as a private in Co. D, 36th Ill. Vol. Inf., on July 15, 1861. His diary includes entries between Oct. 20, 1862 and Feb. 25, 1863, with a few entries between Apr. 2 and May 16, 1864. He mustered out as a corporal on Oct. 5, 1864.
Thumb primarily documents camp life, inspections, foraging, and marching, but he also describes the Battle of Stone's River and several skirmishes with guerillas. In addition, he describes Confederate deserters and civilians, and takes note of the regiment's new tents, which many of his comrades despised. He mentions Nicolas Greusel, colonel of the 36th Ill., Gen. Philip Sheridan, and Gen. William Rosecrans, praising Rosecrans for his leadership at Stone's River.
Thumb used the last pages of the diary to record his expenditures, to inventory letters sent and received, and to preserve a few specimens of southern flora, including samples of "Georgia rose," laurel, and "southern clover."
The Library drew on the Dan Eaton fund to acquire the diary in 1984.