Journal of Jane Hartford

May 22, 1861

I was contacted today by a man who called himself Sam - he instructed me to meet him in the alley behind the theater at midnight, and I have agreed. In the event of my potentially impeding death, Margaret instructed me to journal the experience so that, should anyone stumble upon my ill and dying body, they might find this journal in the pockets of my overcoat and know who was responsible.

In the simplest of terms, my name is Jane Hartford. I was born on the seventh of January in the year 1837 on the coast of North Carolina. When I was seven years old, my mother got pregnant with my little sister. Soon after, Eva was born.

Eva was a very sickly child. She caught a fever and debilitating cough, and very easily and very quickly her energy was drained. My mother and father were stricken and enlisted the help of all of the doctors around. But still, Eva was sick - until one of the slaves my father owned, an elderly woman named Missy, sneaked into Eva's quarters and administered medicine of her concoction. Early in the morning, Eva was as lively as ever. Missy, of course, was whipped and beaten by my father for even touching his precious little thing, but Eva didn't know any different. My mother and I were astonished - but that's a story for another day.

So far, I'm not in agreement with what the people around here are saying about this war. The way they treat their slaves - it's simply awful. That is why when I was approached, earlier today, by this man named Sam, I so readily agreed to his conditions. Here's wishing me luck.

A Spa. History Central, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.

June 14, 1861

I happened to overhear a conversation when passing through one of the camps today - and it was, perhaps, the most peculiar of conversations I have ever heard. I have relayed it below and hope any readers might find it as strangely colloquial as I.

Thomas: Gosh, my bread basket is growling at me.

Andrew: All the people in Top Rail #1 have probably got it good. But here, everyone’s fit to be tied ’cause we don’t got any decent food!

Thomas: They must be as snug as a bug, and all we get are these sheet iron crackers when we go to grab a root.

Andrew: If any hornets come in when I’m this hungry, I’m sure as heck gonna skedaddle mighty fast. I can hardly stand I’m so famished.

Thomas: I went through the mill today, and we don’t even get treated better than those fresh fish for all our hard work!

Andrew: Those possums over in the fifth regiment are probably fit as a fiddle. They got all the sawbones to take care of ’em and are stuffed to the brim with food. It’s probably hunky-dorey being injured in these times.

Thomas: Those uppity first-class snobs are probably getting quick-step from all the food they’re getting.

Andrew: I bet these skunks of ours are probably all wallpapered in their tents. They got their joy juice full and are just about as happy as can be. Here, some good ol’ nokum stiff is as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Thomas: All them buggers just love those Sunday soldiers who do all the big work.

Andrew: I’m all played out, old possum. I need to grab a root otherwise I’ll be mouthin’ off and get myself whipped.

Thomas: I bet the officers would nab all my stuff if I had more than this Arkansas toothpick and my trusty old pepperbox.

Andrew: Aw, bully! Here comes the food!

Thomas: Quick, or the jailbirds and fresh fish’ll get everythin’ worth munchin’!

Andrew: Mighty right, my friend. I hope all of these Graybacks are just as hungry as us.

Thomas: Boy, if I had enough greenbacks, I’d be a chief cook and bottle washer if I was in charge of this place!

Andrew: Same here. Man--all that’s left are these goobers! That’s it. Let’s skedaddle.

July 29, 1861

Dear Margaret,

I was wandering through the camp today - seventh North Carolina regiment - under the pretense of the delivery of an important document, when I noticed a young man with a bottle of liquor in hand. He was staggering about somewhat tipsily, and was quickly noticed by the commanding officer to whom I had to feed said information.

Suffice to say, he was punished, and heavily so. As I - along with the entire rest of the company - stood watching, the man was sat down and a barrel was conjured from one of the storage tents. Over his head the barrel went until a bit of his hair poked out a hole in the top, and then the rest of his face was visible. His entire body was soon encased in the barrel with his legs poking out the bottom and his arms out the side, and he was made to waddle around camp as such for the rest of the day. It was simply awful.

Below I have enclosed a photograph of something remarkably more pretty that I found whilst wandering the camp. It might very well be the last pretty thing in this grim, sullen world. If my botanic knowledge is correct, it is a daffodil - and its yellow petals reminded me, in this sea of dull gray uniforms, that there is still hope,. It reminded me of my cause.

"Daffodil Flowers." FanPop. Fanpop, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.



September 30, 1861

Below is an interview with Jeremiah Handley - though it might be considered more of an interrogation, judging by his position (prisoner) and location (Confederate camp for prisoners of war). At any rate, here is my transcription of the interview.

Jeremiah, when you chose to stay home and care for your mother, what caused you to make that choice?

I was worried for her, honest. She wasn't doin' too fine and James had already left us. I knew there was somethin' the matter and if she did pass, I knew I wanted ta be there for her. When she did pass on, it was hard, but I was glad I'd made that 'ar choice.  I loved my mother and wouldn't 'a wanted it any other way.

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

Like I said, Miss Hartford, I'm proud of my choice to stay home with my dear old mother. It was the right decision, see, and I'm glad I did it. I was able to give her family and a lil bit of happiness in her dyin' days, and that's all that matters to me. Me old mother was a huge part of my life and did so much for me. Staying home won't've repayed that, but it coulda tried.

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

That there's a mighty personal question, see, but since my end is prob'ly near, I might as well have some record of my deepest secret somewhere. See, Miss Hartford, what I wish was that my old brother James would never have left our family. The only person I loved even half as much as my mom was James. It broke my heart when James left us and I know it broke hers even more. If James had stayed, mebbe my mother would've had a lil bit more happiness before she died.

What's your opinion of this camp, Jeremiah?

As my ol' brother would say "that's a bit of a subjective question, there, wee brother." As a Union soldier, I can't say nothn' that wont offend you. If I'm s'posed to be honest, then I guess I'm just gonna say that I hate it. I miss my home, and my family, and the peace from before the war. Everythin' here is so sad and glum and I'm forced through stuff I'd rather not be and it's just downright horrible. Sorry for any offense, ma'am, but...I just wanna go home.

Enclosed is this photograph I showed Jeremiah. As much as I am loathe to admit it, I showed him that this here is beauty. And if I can find beauty in a Confederate Camp, he should be able to find a little bit of hope in a gloomy situation.

Sunrise. Aanmamesa. Aanmamesa21, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.


November 19, 1861

I was seated in the parlor today when a chorus of rowdy soldiers paraded past the front of my house. My landlady was still bustling about and finalizing the sale, but she was letting me live there as a deal between two civilized Southern ladies, as she put it.

From the way that these men were moving about, it was evident that they didn't get this sort of opportunity. They act that every sliver of freedom is a means to exploit the army and escape its terrors. Had they not disturbed the peace of my new home so raucously, I might have felt sorry for them.

Anyway, to the point of the soldiers - they were singing a tune I haven't yet heard and while it may not be of note to "Sam," I have documented it as something of importance should it ever be of importance in the future.

From what I gathered, the title was "Sunrise on the Battlefield," and it went a little like this:

"We sit 'round our old campfire, watching as the sun grows old

when from the West we hear a noise that makes us rather bold.

'New troops,' we cry and run to greet them, hats askew and smiles on,

and up all night we stay to teach them - the ways of the battlefield, 'til dawn.

"Sunrise on the battlefield, sunrise is what we see

when we wake in the mornin' and enjoy our cups o' peachy tea.

We scream and shout and stamp our feet and yell without loss,

'Down with the Eagle, down with the North; up with the Southern cross!'

"We sit 'round some roasting cakes, our bellies growling loud

we're struck with such crippling hunger, our heads are grimly bowed.

We're drained of hope and valor, and stricken with regret

this isn't what we thought it'd be, we'd rather just forget.

"Sunrise on the battlefield, sunrise is what we see

when we wake in the mornin' and enjoy our cups o' peachy tea.

We scream and shout and stamp our feet and yell without loss,

'Down with the Eagle, down with the North; up with the Southern cross!'

"We sit 'round our injured friends, waiting for the news

our pals are dying and we're stricken with the blues.

It's no party being here and dealing with this stuff,

but we can make it through it - we Southerners are pretty tough!

"Sunrise on the battlefield, sunrise is what we see

when we wake in the mornin' and enjoy our cups o' peachy tea.

We scream and shout and stamp our feet and yell without loss,

'Down with the Eagle, down with the North; up with the Southern cross!'

"We sit 'round a burning flag; red, white, and blue go up in smoke,

the ash and soot and flames abound kind of make us choke.

It's worth it though, because we've struggled and been assailed

but at the end of this, you know it, we will have prevailed

"Sunrise on the battlefield, sunrise is what we see

when we wake in the mornin' and enjoy our cups o' peachy tea.

We scream and shout and stamp our feet and yell without loss,

'Down with the Eagle, down with the North; up with the Southern cross!'"

March 3, 1862

I found myself in the parlor again this morning when a food truck came rumbling into the town, loaded with supplies and makeshift meals to delegate to the troops a few miles away from our town. It must have been big news that the food was coming this day, for as soon as the dusty wheels rolled to a stop soldiers came piling into the camp in droves. They leaped for the truck and it sank beneath a mass of bone-thin, starving men. The truck was quickly emptied.

I suppose now that my sympathies are being drawn upon.

It seemed that the contents of this truck were not too savory, because the soldiers pulled away from the truck with happy faces, but discontented stomachs. I even saw a couple of men retching because of the quickly-devoured food and tasteless options.

If it came to me to find a favorite amongst the load, I should have to say that the so-called "Johnny Cake" would be the one I chose. Should any of my readers find it upon themselves to want to replicate this recipe, I have written it below.

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil (of the vegetable variety)
  • 2 teaspoons rising powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all of the ingredients and knead the dough, and then put it over the fire and let it cook until it seems ready. There truly is no other estimation.

In other news, as the food craze petered out, I discovered the soldiers to be passing the time with other activities. Some drank and fought between themselves, and others gambled away the few possessions they had. Still others chose to swap cards and some wrote home. My own personal favorite is chess, chance I come across a decent set and have a worthy partner. Below I have enclosed a photograph of some soldiers playing chess.

"Prisoners Playing Chess." Loyal Regiment. Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, n.d. Web.        24 Apr. 2014. <>.

May 29, 1862

Today was a very gruesome day.

There was a battle, and one not far from here at that. My help was even enlisted, and after the culmination of said work I rushed back to my home to write a letter to Sam, and now I sit in my parlor in the dying sun three days after the battle writing this entry.

At any rate, it was awful. I could hear the gunshots and cannons from my kitchen and as each explosion shook our small town, I found myself cowering by the door to the cellar. I had second thoughts about this employment, doubts that only increased when I was called from the apparently cozy confines of my house to help with the wounded and dying.

I worked at a nearby hospital a couple of minutes' wagon ride from here, with some other ladies from the town. Mary, who works in the general store down the road, was there helping a surgeon, and Elizabeth, whose mother is a Northerner that sends her cotton and clothes to sew, was passing out water. I joined Elizabeth in tending to those who had been living at the hospital for days previously.

Even so, it as not enough to drown out the moans and screams from the other room. While I dealt with dysentery, and typhoid fever, and even a man with a ruptured lung, Elizabeth and I became the victims as well as we heard the amputations and surgeries going on across the hospital. They made me nearly sick to my stomach.

There was a fellow with malaria, whom we could only treat with some water on his forehead and a couple of shots of whiskey. A soldier who'd just come in from the battle with a hip surgery needed some water, which Elizabeth quickly fetched as I tried to clean and reapply bandages to his wound. I then set off to tend to a man with a raging fever, passing out some of the water (which had taken on somewhat of a cloudy disposition, but the soldiers accepted it just fine) when the soldier with the hurt hip let out a scream. Elizabeth, a qualified nurse by the name of Cora, and I rushed to his side, but it was to find him burning hot and mumbling incoherently. Cora told us to leave, but we heard her mournful tone and knew hope was lost.

Below I have enclosed a painting that was available for purchase of the battle at the General Store. I found it earlier, and there were many copies the size of a postcard being sold. The entirety and horror of the battle cannot be encompassed in its entirety from such a minute photo, but it gives you the gist of it, I hope.

Kurz, and Allison. "Lot 9: 9: Kurz & Allison Civil War Battle Scene (Fort Sanders)

    Case Antiques. Case Antiques, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.                                     



April 30, 1862

There was a gunpowder incident in my old town. The Union realized that there was a weapons base here, and exploited that knowledge. I believe without a doubt that the generals who commanded this maneuver were aware of my existence, but I have no suspicions that they didn't quite care.

I'm in the hospital ow. My right hand is burned almost to lack of recognition, and the same has come of my face. One of my legs was injured in the process and the beginnings of an infection is brewing, but my doctor is unworried. He is a Northern fellow, and one much more practiced in medicine and medical care than those in Southern "hospitals".

I'm arriving home tomorrow, but I have been visited by Eva and my mother. Eva is sixteen, same as she was when I left, but both she and my mother look years older. My mother has streaks of gray in her hair and even little Eva's face has aged her years past her age. My father has not yet returned from the war that continues to rage on in the South.

As a Union spy, I am greeted with a fair amount of acclaim. I've had numerous visitors congratulating me on my escape and rewarding me for my bravery. I still can't help thinking of my landlady, and the soldiers in the camps nearby that didn't make it out and every minute I spend thinking about them is a minute I find myself stricken with sadness and regret.

I was told that my mother and Eva soon moved out of our home. They live now in Maryland, helping the soldiers that are sent home recover from injuries. The war has only been raging a year, and still we suffer.

I want this to be over.

Below I have included the fragmented flag by which I have stood these past months. I hope it never wavers, and I hope our army prevails. To me, this flag has always been a symbol of my home and my journey, but now I am not so sure.

It has transpired as such that I found myself enticed by this so-called "Sam"'s offer and have agreed to be a part of his cause. Ever since little Eva was stricken with sickness and nursed back to health by Missy - who was, in turn, punished for so much as laying a finger on her - I have been struck by the indecency with which slaves are treated, and Sam's offer has only rekindled that spark.

I know identify myself as an intelligence agent, as he was so kind to phrase it. I will be stationed in my home in North Carolina. All arrangements will be made by him.

I can only hope I will be able to provide valuable enough information to keep Sam - and his employers - satiated.

Aged flag used at Fort Sumter. Wikipedia. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.


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