Civil War Diaries of William Penn Flenner

Collection Summary

Title: Civil War Diaries of William Penn Flenner
Call Number: MS 2017-08
Size: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Acquisition: Unknown source
Processed by: AA, 5-2011; JZ, 9-2016
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher, to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

This collection consists of transcribed copies of William Penn Flenner's diaries, which recount his daily life as a Union Army soldier in 1864 and 1865. Topics of interest include Flenner's participation in Sherman's March to the Sea during the fall of 1864, the Union's depredation of Southern towns and farms, the hardships of weather and illness, religious faith during wartime, and Flenner's reunions with family during and after his service.


William Penn Flenner was born between 1830 and 1834 in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, and worked as a plasterer. He married Susan Hofford on January 5, 1857; they eventually had eight children. In August 1862 he enlisted as a private in Company G of the 76th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which saw action at the Battles of Vicksburg, Jackson, Atlanta, Spanish Fort, among others. At war's end Flenner returned to his family in Champaign City, Illinois. Some years later, he relocated to Kansas and worked as a plasterer and farmer. In 1888 Flenner remarried and eventually lived in retirement in El Dorado, where he died on January 23, 1918.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 Diaries. This series contains two anonymously typed transcriptions of Flenner's Civil War diaries for 1864 and 1865. The transcriptions also contain handwritten annotations by unknown persons concerning spellings of names relating to persons and places, as well as Flenner's presumed misinformation concerning some battles. Also included in this series are photocopies of Flenner's discharge record and a newspaper article about his diaries, n.d.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Diaries

Box 1 FF 1 1864 diary, n.d.
Box 1 FF 2 1865 diary, n.d.
Box 1 FF 3 Newspaper article and discharge record, n.d.