Class Year




Download Full Text (766 KB)


John D. Rentz’s Civil War diary chronicles the time he spent with the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry between December 26, 1863, and September 6, 1864. The diary details a wide array of information pertaining to his life with the regiment and the progress of the Civil War.

Rentz’s pension letter is very simple, merely asking for B. Penrose’s assistance with securing a renewal of his pension. The “Rebel letter” written by Margaret Jones to Joseph King is also simple, providing a few details about the rainy weather, the progress of the crops, and expressing Jones’s desire to see her brother.

The 3-page manuscript, written for the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, an organization once associated with the Know-Nothing Party, conveys a high level of concern about “foreigen competition” (pg. 1). The author is unknown, but the handwriting does resemble John D. Rentz’s handwriting.

Special Collections and College Archives Finding Aids are discovery tools used to describe and provide access to our holdings. Finding aids include historical and biographical information about each collection in addition to inventories of their content. More information about our collections can be found on our website

Collection Size

0.18 cubic feet

Publication Date

June 2022


Civil War, manuscripts, diaries, Pennsylvania, Union


American Studies | Military History | United States History

Document Type

Finding Aid

MS-289: John D. Rentz Civil War Diary