Life at Home During the Civil War
My name is Alexis Irwin and I am 26 years old. I live in Holmes, Ohio. The year is 1862. Its just my son and me at home since my husband is fighting in the war. We are on the Union side, so we are against slavery.
I woke up earlier than I normally do this morning because I couldn't wait to see if the mail had come or not. I am expecting a letter from my husband because it's our son's birthday in a few days, and he promised to write him. I then woke up Alfie, my son, so he could start on his chores for the day. While he was feeding the chickens, I started breakfast. As I was cooking the eggs, I saw my son running back up to the door. He rushed to me with a couple of envelopes in hand.
"Mom! Dad finally wrote! Look mom!" He yelled obviously excited.
Ashton, my husband, had wrote our son and I each a letter. Alfie already had his opened and half read before I could even think about opening mine. After reading the letters we ate breakfast then Alfie went back tending to the animals. I starting sewing clothes to send to the army men.
After lunch I started baking foods to send into the ladies’ aid society, so they can be sent to the men fighting. While I was baking I also started to prepare dinner. While dinner was cooking I decided to let Alfie go to his friend's house down the rode till dinnertime.
After dinner I made sure Alfie was in bed then started doing the dishes and cleaning the house a little bit. Once every dish was scrubbed to perfection and placed back into the cabinet, I got into the bath and cleaned all the dirt off me that I had collected during the day. I then climbed into bed with a lantern light, my glasses, and my new book my mother sent me awhile back.
Soon after I had read a couple chapters I started to dose off.
Dear Ashton Irwin,
My love, you have no clue much Alfie, and I miss you. It pains me waking up without you on the other side of the bed. Alfie loves the card and drawing you sent him. You should have seen his smile when he saw you had sent letters. He looked happier than he did on Christmas.
I've read an article in the newspaper the other day about a battle near you. It was titled Capture of New Orleans, I was wondering if you were apart of it. I read it was a great victory for the Union. It said the Union ticked the Confederates into thinking they were going to attack from Mississippi, but the army came from The Gulf of Mexico. If you know, is this true?
Off the topic of battles, how are you doing these days? Are you eating enough, and are you getting enough sleep? I know you hate when I worry about you, but you know me I worry about everything. I hate worrying every minute of every day that something has happened to you. I just wish you were home, so I could have this weight lifted off my shoulders.
All my Love,
I woke up this morning when my sister was banging on my front door. I was confused as to why she was here. She had this crazy idea that she was going to help the war by disguising herself as a man to fight in the war. She asked if I could help make clothes for her since I sew clothes for the army men. After I made breakfast, I woke Alfie up so he could eat and get to the bus stop on time.
After Alfie left for school I tired to talk my sister out of this daydream she had, but then I found myself agreeing to help her. I started the kettle while I got the materials out to start sewing the clothes.
Once I had sewed her three different outfits I realized I had almost forgot that it was my turn to go around town asking for change for the army fond. So I packed up her clothes and helped her on her way out. I then grabbed a quick lunch and walked into town.
I only was able to collect a few cents sadly, but every penny counts. I also signed up to be a nurse for the war while I was in town. Since Alfie was at school I had to feed the chickens, milk the cows, and water the flowers. After I was done with the outside work, I started making supper. When Alfie got home we ate dinner and shared stories about our days over some pie.
I helped him with his homework as much as I could. After he was done, I made him wash up and sent him to bed. I followed quickly after.
I got another letter in the mail from Ashton today. He always knows what to say to make me fell better.
Dear My Love,
I'm glad Alfie enjoyed my card and drawing. I don't have much time to write letters now that we are going into another battle. We are going to fight in Willamsburg tomorrow. There is going to be over 40,000 men on our side. We think there will be only a little over 30,000 men for the Confederates, so we will have an advantage with the numbers. We have heard that the Confederates were planning a counterattack, so we are prepared for that. I heard people saying it's going to be an easy win, but I have my doubts.
You shouldn't worry about me so much, I can take care of myself. I have some good news! I'm going to be coming home after the battle at Willamsburg. Don't tell Alfie but I have got him a few gifts, and I should be home a day before his birthday. I want to surprise him for his birthday.
I will see you soon
All my Love,
I was in tears of joy by the end of the letter. I haven't seen him in about a year; I was so exciting and happy that he was finally coming home. I wanted to run and tell Alfie, but it was going to be a surprise for his birthday and I couldn't ruin that. I decided that after Alfie went to school I go to my sister's to tell her the news.
My sister and I sat around her table with tea in hand chatting.
"I received a letter from Ashton today."
"Oh, what did he say this time? When is he coming home?"
"He said he is coming home a day before Alfie's birthday to surprise him!"
"Really! Oh my goodness! Well that's going to beat my present by far."
After I left I finished the chores at home, made dinner, and helped Alfie with homework. I bathed and read my book, and went to bed early so they days would go by faster, so I could see my husband.
When I woke up today something didn't feel right, but I didn't know what it was. I carried on my day normally. I made breakfast, woke Alfie, then started cleaning. After Alfie left, I went into town. Everyone was frantic and some people were crying. I was very confused, so I asked the women at the market what had happened. She handed me a newspaper. The top said "ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S ASSASSINATION," my breath caught in my throat. I couldn't believe what I just read.
I rushed home so I could read the rest of the article because I needed my reading glasses. Half way through the article I was in tears. I had to wipe my eyes to continue. I wonder if Ashton knows. I wrote him a letter asking him. He should be home soon,the battle is almost over. I wish he would come home sooner, so he could help me through this tough time.
I walked to my sister's house.
"Did you hear?"
"The president is dead."
My sister was a mess after I had told her. She started the kettle while I made a quick lunch for us. She told me this means she needs to go into war even more than before. I helped pack her stuff. I chopped her off, so she would resemble a male. She was leaving on Friday.
When I arrived home, Ashton was sitting by the kitchen table. He was three days early. He said he heard what happened while he was on his way home. We talked about what had happened. We prayed that this war would end soon.