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James Hawkins Sparks Diary

Identifier: Coll-41
This collection consists of a pocket sized, leather bound, handwritten diary by Confederate soldier James Hawkins Sparks and a typed manuscript of it. His sporadic eleven entries span from July of 1863 to June of 1864. There are other entries as well, but they are illegible due to pencil fading or lack of meaningful context (rows of names and numbers fill several pages). Several pages have also been removed from the center. The typed manuscript is ten pages and while most of it is a fairly clear representation of the diary, it is evident that even in the 1980’s there were issues with the original in clear handwriting, spelling, phrases lost to time, print fade and general deterioration.


  • Majority of material found within 1863-7-21 - 1864-6-1


Conditions Governing Access

This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to taking precautions against infringement of copyright and respecting the publication rights of reproduced materials. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Any materials used should be fully credited with their source according to the example given in the Preferred Citation note. Requests for assistance with citations and images of publication quality should be directed to

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


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In the infrequent lulls between the many asperities of war, Confederate soldier James Hawkins “Hawk” Sparks would occasionally write short updates about what he had seen, done, heard, and what he thought about it all. These writings are all contained here in a well-worn pocket-sized diary.

Biographical / Historical

James Hawkins “Hawk” Sparks was born on July 29, 1844. He was one of seven children born to Stephen Franklin Sparks, who had found some notoriety fighting for Texas Independence at both Bexar and the decisive Texian win that ended the revolution at San Jacinto. James’s grandfather had fought in the War of 1812 and was later killed by Native Americans in 1838.

Perhaps having designs to follow in his family’s footsteps, James joined the Confederate Army after the outbreak of the Civil War. Aside from his ruminations about the war in this diary, little is known about his civilian life. He married Mary Ann Davis in 1866 after the war concluded, and they went on to have three daughters and four sons. Sparks passed away in 1923 at the age of 79 in Rockport, Texas.


There are only two items in this collection; the original diary itself and a typed ten-page manuscript of the portions that are legible. The diary is situated first, with the manuscript following in a single series.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged by Eric Christensen, Processing Archivist for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi’s Special Collections & Archive Department.