James E. Withrow of Macomb, Ill. served in Co. I, 78th Ill. Vol. Inf. during the Civil War. He kept this diary from Sept. 24, 1863, to Jan. 5, 1864. He noted on the inside front cover that he had previously served in John B. Miller's Battery, Co. M, 1st Ill. Art.
In the diary, Withrow describes the aftermath of the battle of Chattanooga, conversations with Southern troops, and difficulties in obtaining rations. He also comments on Southern towns and people.
Charles B. Jackson of Alton, Ill, gave the diary to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1960. In return, the Survey prepared a 34-page typescript of the diary, a carbon copy of which is in the collection.