My maternal Great Uncle Thomas Simpson kept a diary of the experiences of himself and his two brothers, James Cunningham Simpson and William R. Simpson as members of Company E, 102d Illinois Infantry, US. The three brothers enlisted together on September 2, 1862, at Knoxville, Illinois and served continuously until James died of wounds suffered near Fayetteville, NC, in March 1865. Thomas was also severely wounded and later succombed to illness or infection in a military hospital. The youngest, William, was the only one to survive the war and return home. I know the diary was still in existence as recently as 10 years ago because it was cited in an article. However, the author of the article has never responded to requests for information. I would be happy to purchase a copy or transcription of this diary. My Great Grandfather Eleazor L. Simpson was a younger brother.
If the person operating the website linked to below is not the author you mentioned who wouldn't help you, then perhaps this could be the person to ask, since your relative's diary is mentioned prominently.
About this Site (Your relative's diary mentioned here). It says here that Thomas died of tuberculosis after the war.
The reason I believe that (Besides the fact that the memorials mention Co. E of the 102nd Illinois) is that his parents' names are given and his mother's maiden name was Margaret Jane Cunningham. One of the brothers was James Cunningham Simpson, apparently known to some as: "Cunningham." If I am correct, then Alexander and Margaret Jane were your great great grandparents. They are buried with Thomas in Norwood Cemetery in Mercer County, Illinois. (There are 49 Simpsons listed in that cemetery on Find A Grave).
This is the site and the author which wouldn't reply to my questions. You are correct in your identifications. Yes, I was raised on a farm near Diagonal, Iowa. Any suggestions on a method of obtaining a copy of the diary?
I can understand your frustration with the guy running the website who won't respond to your inquiries. In fact, he acts like he has the original diary in his possession.
Assuming that this person is not actually a relative of Thomas Simpson, one has to wonder how he came to possess the original, if it still exists, or even a copy. I would be curious to know what happened to the original since 1866, and when and how it escaped the custody of relatives of the author. (If it did).
The diary is apparently hundreds of pages. Its hard to believe that it hasn't been studied before, and this website owner is making the first copy in the 1990s. If he has the original, he had to have gotten it from someone. If he has a copy, then the copy had to come from someone else.
Since the guy who apparently knows the answers won't share the information, you might try historical organizations.
Sorry that I don't have the magic answer, but someone out there does. Good luck on your search.
It occurs to me as an afterthought that if you could get some representative of a historical society to make a request for information from the uncooperative website owner, that he might be more likely to respond to that than to an individual. A little subterfuge might be justified in this case.