Civil War soldier's diary turns up in Arlington home

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- A Civil War diary that chronicles the lives of weary soldiers dying from heat and exhausted from battle was recently discovered in Arlington.

When the Smoke family moved from their Arlington farm, Mrs. Smoke found the 150 year old diary in a closet.

"She didn't know what to do with it. It didn't mean anything to her so she gave it to me for our genealogy library," said neighbor Marietta Roth.

Roth inspected the diary and soon learned it was written by a Union soldier.

"In my hands, I couldn't believe all that history that was there for me to do with," she said.

On Tuesday, genealogy buffs gathered to hear Sgt. Jesse Hyde's personal account of Civil War battles.

"We attacked the enemy early in the morning. They fought bravely until noon. About 4 p.m. we had them on the retreat, having gained what is said to be the hardest battle ever fought in the United States," the diary reads.

Hyde fought with the First Kentucky Infantry, but died in Yakima and his widow moved to Pilchuck, near Arlington.

Genealogy researcher Stephen Baylor transcribed the fading journal entries.

"The boys were drunk last night, kept up such a noise that a could nor sleep at the barrack," the diary reads.

Hyde wrote of hunger, saying there was only one cracker for every two soldiers.

The Stilliguamish Valley Genealogical Society decided to give away the deteriorating diary.

"Well, it needed archival care. It was falling apart," Baylor said.

The University of Washington and a state archivist said since the journal didn't deal with Washington history, maybe it would be better off in Kentucky.

The 158-page journal is difficult to read because it is so faded, but it's available online at