Isaiah Corban Diary
Dates: January 1, 1864-August 21, 1864
Accession Number: 990302F
Donor: Unknown
Description: One file folder in a document case

The Corban diary is particularly fragile and faded. A transcription of the diary is stored in the inventory folder for this collection and should be used by researchers.


Isaiah Corban was born in Connersville, Indiana on May 11, 1834 and lived in Worthington, Indiana at the outbreak of the Civil War. In May, 1861, Corban enlisted and was mustered into the Union Army at Camp Vigo in Terre Haute for a one-year term of service with Company D, Fourteenth Infantry Regiment, Indiana Volunteers. On June 7, 1861, in response to President Lincoln's call for troops to serve three-year terms, the Fourteenth was the first Indiana regiment to volunteer to extend their service from one to three years.

Corban reenlisted in the army on December 21, 1863, serving as a sentry and an ambulance driver with the Fourteenth Regiment until the end of its 3-year enlistment in June 1864. On June 7, 1864, Corban was transferred to the Twentieth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, continuing his duties as an ambulance driver with occasional sentry duty in the vicinity of City Point and Petersburg, Virginia. Corban was mustered out of service on July 12, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.

According to his diary, Corban married Emma F. Basham of Evansville in that city on February 21, 1864. After the war, Corban returned to Worthington where he and his wife had four children - Charley, Thomas, John and Freddie - and Corban worked as a carpenter. Corban moved from Worthington to Terre Haute in 1879 and joined two Grand Army of the Republic posts - Morton Post, Number 1; and John Baird Post, Number 592.

Isaiah Corban died at his residence, 1239 N. 11th Street, on November 4, 1898, at the age of 64.

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection consists of Isaiah Corban's diary in which he chronicled the activities of himself and the Fourteenth and Twentieth Regiments, Indiana Volunteer Infantry from January 1864 to August, 1864. As a member of the Fourteenth Regiment, Corban was a sentry and ambulance driver and fought in the battles of Morton's Ford, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Upon joining the Twentieth Regiment, Corban continued his ambulance driving duties during the regiment's participation in the protracted but successful Union siege of Petersburg, Virginia. In addition to recording the regiment's movements from one location to another, he also provides terse descriptions of ambulance trips to Fredericksburg and City Point and makes brief entries about the monotony of camp life and the weather.

Corban would have been unidentifiable if he had not made a brief mention in his diary on February 21, 1864 of his marriage to an "E.F. Basham" in Evansville. The WPA Marriage Index for Vanderburgh County documents the marriage of "Isiah Corbin" and "Emma F. Basham". The "Corbin" variation of the name appears several times but because the Isiah Corbin who appears in the WPA index later signed his name as "Isaiah Corban" on his application for membership in Morton Post, No. 1 of the GAR circa 1880, the name "Isaiah Corban" will be used in this inventory.

A transcript of Corban's diary; documentation of his military career; histories of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Regiments; census information for Isaiah Corban and his family; and Corban's GAR membership application for Morton Post, No. 1 are in the inventory folder for this collection.