On April 27, 1864, Hawley Varnum Needham left his family farm at Loda, Illinois and traveled to nearby Onarga to enlist in the Union Army. He promised his father he would return before the fall harvest. His adventures in the army would take him to the Jackson Purchase of Kentucky where he was stationed at the Federal bastion at Columbus and at military posts in Paducah and Mayfield. He captured his daily experiences throughout the turbulent spring and summer of 1864 in his diary.
Jackson Purchase Historical Society, Vol. 43, No. 1, 147-195.