My Civil War Journal

By: Grace Lunaburg

Who I am

Dear Journal,

My name is Sofia Williams and before I went into war I lived in Illinois and i am currently  20 years old and lived with my 2 brothers, Mom, Dad, and my grandparents. I didn't have a job before this because I usually helped my grandma when she was sick. She had recovered from her illness just before the volunteering started and I was able to join the war as a female nurse. We are in the middle of the war now and there were so many injured to help. Since there are so many people to care for and I don't get much sleep and I'm usually in the hospital helping them. But it will be all worth because I know the union will win, and if they don't slavery will go crazy again and that's just wrong to treat someone like property just because they have a different skin color. Anyway I will be writing letters about my life in the civil war frequently.



Dear Journal,

Today I had a wonderful talk with one of our solders and I wish to share it with you.

Sofia: What are you here for possum?

William: My bread basket hurts!

Sofia: But the other day you were as fit as a fiddle?

William: I think it’s from the sheet iron crackers.

Sofia: Why don’t you go sit up on that bed and be as snug as a bug.

William: Good because I’m played out.

Sofia: Just lay there while I am toeing the mark

Sofia: Let me go grab you a root

William: That’s scarce as hen s teeth!

Sofia: Anything for my top rail #1 patient!

Dear Mom

Today as the old general goes home a new one comes, his name is McClellan. This one isn't laid back at all he is very strict and has drills and punishment's. I have many soldiers coming in because of back pains caused by something called bucking and gagging which is you are gagged with a stick and tied together sitting on the floor with his hands tied in front of him then the knees were forced between his elbows and another stick was shoved between there arms and legs. It was painful to watch them suffer like that from stealing food and I would tell them to lay down and let there back have a rest. Also the drills were rarly in order everyone looked around confused and that all they did in the moring was drills,drills,and more drills. Also they couldn't leave the camp when they wanted to so the least bit of freedom they had were gone. The only good part was that I was having less patients with twisted ankles from leaving the camp



Dear Journal,

Today I got to interview one of the younger soldiers and here were my questions and what he answered for them.

Jeremiah, when you chose to leave your sick mom to go to the war what caused you to make that choice?

I did for two reasons, the first was because I knew I would never be able to take care of a sick mom and do farm work so either way I would be better off. The second reason is if anything did happen to my mom I know she would be proud of my choice.

Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or happy about?

The memory that I am most proud of is leaving to volunteer. Even though I might never see my Mom or my brother I was able to make an important decision in my life that only I got a say in.

Jeremiah, what is one thing about your life you wish had been different?

I wish my brother James was fighting with me so I could still have a little bit of home left and security knowing he was there and alive fighting with me.

What will a Confederate prison camp be like?

I think it will be cold and dirty with little food and very diseased and injured people from the war but there might be a small chance I will know someone there and it wont be as bad  and I hope my leg wont get infected from someone and will heel properly but with the likly conditions of the jail I think it would be quit rare.

Deat journal,

Today I was having a talk with one of my patients after she came into my office with a cold and gave me a song she wrote...


I am a Union Soldier

I fight with the one I hold most dear

I am in disguise

This war is scary and long

No one can see who I really am

No one can see who I really am

I am brave and courageous

I fight for what is right

I drink and smoke

It is very cold

No one can see who I really am

No one can see who I really am

I am without my children

There will be freedom for all

I chew tobacco and swear

There is not enough food

No one can see who I really am

No one can see who I really am

Do you know who I am?

Did I make a difference in this war?

Will your remember me for all time?

No one can see who I really am

No one can see who I really am

Unless you look really hard, I am a woman.

Dear Journal,

Recently we have been having tons of free time and the nurses and soldiers when I first got there I called friends now I wouldn't hesitate  to hit them on the head with a rock. Pastimes have become boring because every time I get the chance to gamble kicked out because I am a girl or I have to leave in 30 minutes into playing because someone is throwing up all the awful food we have, I wouldn't even call it food more like dirt and mud would fit the description. I always have to be careful when eating my food because I know I cant have any hardtack with worms in it because if I get sick who would take care of the other careless soldiers? If I had to pick a 'food' that I somewhat didn't have to choke down  is hardtack and I'm lucky I have strong teeth because I have seen a solider lose 2 teeth just from biting it

Recipe for Hard tack

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ to ¾ cup water
  • Salt (5-6 pinches)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin [ Or a long from the forest]

Dear Journal,

As the months go on its time for battle and I was dreading those days. There would be hundreds  of soldiers coming in and needing media-cal help, legs and arms that needed to be amputated and deadly sicknesses. I would look around at the other nurses with lice swarming there long hair and it getting in the way during operation so I cut my hair short. While the wounded came the nurses would get less time to wash there supplies and would just wipe there hands on there cloths and continued. I couldn't stand doing that so I would always make sure I had a bucket of clean water next to me will I doing surgery. Since I couldn't stand Having my hands soaked in deseised blood I would often spill whiskey on my hands hoping the alcohol would clean the wounds. Before surgery I would always have to knock them out with chloroform. But others still wouldn't passe out so the nurses would just continue with the surgery. I couldn't stand doing that so if the chemical didn't work I would hit there head till they paced out. But now I'm starting to notice that i'm getting my own sickness and need frequent times to sit down and i'm always dizzy but I would convenient work and deal with the pain



Dear Journal,

It has been 3 years, 3 years since I have seen my family and friends. I'm so glad the Union won. Now I can come home with a victory. I had ridden a train home with someone I treated back at the second camp. He had a horrible case of food poisoning and stayed at my office for a while and we became friends and promised we would stay in touch. When I walked into my house I was greeted by my Mom, Dad, and my little brother. I could tell that it has been a long time because my mom had more grey hairs next to her fading black hair and my dads hair was thinning. The house looked exactly the same as I left it except for a banner saying " WELCOME HOME" in big letters. After my family gave me a bone crushing hug I noticed my older brother wasn't there. " Where is Andrew" I asked and I noticed there smiles fell and they pointed to his room. I quickly ran in there to see what I was scared of , he had small pox. I whispered " how do you even get small pox in a place that didn't have African Americans living in our house to spread the disease?" and I heard him grunt.  He looked horrible. But I knew that if I could save hundreds of men I could save my big brother

                                                                                       For the last time sincerely,

                                                                                           Sofia Williams

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