Alexander G. Downing enlisted in the Eleventh Iowa Infantry on August 15, 1861 and kept a diary of his life in the army until he was discharged on July 31, 1865. He was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee and became part of Crocker's Iowa Brigade. This unit participated in several major battles, including Shiloh, Vicksburg and Corinth. They were eventually assigned to General William Tecumseh Sherman and took part in his famous "March to the Sea" where they fought in the Battle for Atlanta.
As you read of this soldier's life during one of the most trying times in our country's history, you will gain an understanding of what it was like to be a soldier in that great war. Mr. Downing made entries for each and every day he served so you will find there were times of boredom as well as moments of terror and tragedy. You will find both humorous and sad entries as well as the inner feelings of this truly remarkable American patriot who experienced so much in the four years he served his country.