Civil War Journal

By: Philip Johnson

Journal Entry #1

April 30, 1861

My name is Phillip Johnson. I am 16 years old and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have one sister(5), one brother(13), a mother(45), and a father(47). I have just joined the Union army. I know I shouldn't have left home to fight in the war but I felt is was the right thing to do. I miss my job as a cobblers assistant. The tents we sleep do not tend my needs. I am restless when I am sleeping. It gets very cold at night and blankets are limited. I miss my siblings and parents. I hope I will live to come home and see them once again.

Sincerely,

Phillip Johnson

Journal Entry #2

May 2, 1861

Phillip- Hi possum, nice to see you again !

Elizabeth- Hello there I’ve been played out toeing the mark. How have you been?

Phillip- Hunkey dorey! But I’ve gotten some hard knocks because I’ve been wallpapered on joy juice.

Elizabeth- Sounds like you're fit as a fiddle.My bread basket has been empty because I'm low on greenbacks.

Phillip- Thats a hard case. I’ve been going to the sawbone one too many times. Those Arkansas toothpicks make me fit to be tied.

Elizabeth- Lots of hornet wounds? I hate those pesky pepperboxes.

Phillip- And it doesn’t help that I’ve got a bad case of quick step. Gotta skedaddle, my quick step is acting up!

Elizabeth- Okie dokie see ya possum.

Sincerely,

Phillip Johnson  

Journal Entry #3

Dear mother and father,

I am now located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are many tents each tent holds ten soldiers. We are crammed in the tents.  Having many soldiers in one tent does help in the cold nights. We are awoken at 5:00 am. Our day starts off with marching exercises, then rifle instruction and lastly bayonet practice. When done with that it is 11:00 am. After that there is drill. Then more and more drill. When breaks were taken we would be given chores to occupy ourselves. Behavior is key. Every solider hates being punished including me. Punishments were cruel too. Many punishments consisted of humiliation. For example, guarding the camp with a log instead of a gun. Carrying a log for hours is awful. Or the funniest, wearing a barrel around your body so you would have to waddle around the camp. But some were painful.  Like being gagged with a stick while you sit with your knees in between your elbows. Civil war life is tough, wish me luck.

Yours Truly,

Phillip Johnson

These are deck of a Union soldiers playing cards.
This is a set of silverware that a solider would use for daily meals.

Journal Entry #4

When we read the Jeremiah Story we read pages 1,2,3,5,6,10,and 18.

1. Jeremiah, when you chose to join the Union army, what caused you to make that choice?

I joined the Union army because I think slavery is wrong.

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

I am happy about choosing to stay with my mother because I got to spend time with her before she died.

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

I wish I would have not gotten captured by the enemy.

4. Jeremiah, would you have chose to fight in the East if you had known you would get captured?

I would have not chosen to fight in the East. I would have fought Lee's troops like a real solider, instead of being a coward.

Journal Entry #5

We are the Yankees marching strong and proud

We stand for slaves freedom, strong and proud

We march from dawn to dusk

We fight as one, and then for fun we divvy up the cards

Here we are the Yankees, wiping up blood with hankies

Mourning all of the dead, look that one doesn't have a head

It seems like it should be May, but alas t'was only a day

We are the Yankees marching strong and proud

We stand for slaves freedom, strong and proud

We march from dawn to dusk

We fight as one, and then for fun we divvy up the cards

At the end of the day the last of us pray

We never knew it was going to be this bad or any of us would be this sad

We are the Yankees marching strong and proud

We stand for slaves freedom, strong and proud

We march from dawn to dusk

We fight as one, and then for fun we divvy up the cards

When night comes about we are too worn out to shout

We hop in our tents and hope to get some sleep

But all we do is dread and weep

We hope for our lives to keep

We are the Yankees marching strong and proud

We stand for slaves freedom, strong and proud

We march from dawn to dusk

We fight as one, and then for fun we divvy up the cards

The morning we dread, we hop out of bed and do the next days work

As the rooster crows we count all of our lows and into battle we leap

We are afraid and scared and we thought the confederates cared

But we love them so

We are the Yankees marching strong and proud

We stand for slaves freedom, strong and proud

We march from dawn to dusk

We fight as one, and then for fun we divvy up the cards

This is a photo of the Union army getting ready to fight in a battle.

Journal Entry #6

Dear mother and father,

Camp life is boring and tough. Drills take up most of our day. But between battles when we have nothing to occupy us there are many things we do to kill time. My favorite is playing chess. Other soldiers play cards, practice cooking or sing songs. Singing songs is another one of my favorites. I'm not that good of a singer but I try to sound good. Chess is a long game when you have hours of time. It gets boring at times but there is really nothing else to do. The food that we are served is awful. Hardtack isn't that bad is you learn to eat around the worms. On the other hand, the raw beef is the worst. It is so salty, one cannot describe. At times it is almost like eating a spoonful of salt. I have a pretty smart method of making the beef taste much better. First, I soak the beef in a bucket of water for eight hours, changing the water every two hours. Then I fry it in grease and fat to give it some flavor. Although, this may cause health issues it is much better than eating the raw, salty beef. Other foods aren't that bad. Fresh vegetables are rare to none. Camp life isn't amazing, but I will find a way to get through it.

Yours Truly,

Phillip Johnson

Journal Entry #7

Many illnesses and injures occurred at the camps. Witnessing these poor soldiers was the worst. Groaning and bellowing  was the sounds we heard recently after each battle. Diarrhea, drinking dirty water, typhoid fever, and infected bullet wounds. I ran into a hospital once to get help, and as I was wondering the hospital, I see things that I wish I could take back. Doctors were holding a soldier down as they amputated his leg. Another bullet in his arm was so bad the doctor couldn't get it out with his tools, he had to use his finger to pull it out. His bloody fingers were so gross it was hard to watch. Sticking his fingers into his arm was so disturbing. No body bothered to worry about their hygiene. People would drink dirty contaminated water because they were so desperate. I hate seeing this happen but with the war carrying on, food and other important needs are starting to become scarce.

This is a pile of amputated limbs from one of the Civil War hospitals.

Journal Entry #8

Going home was finally here I couldn't wait any longer for this day to come. I am happy to see my family, but most of feelings cannot describe how delighted I am to finally see my girlfriend Roseann. She has been so supportive of me. She hated seeing me go but new it was what I really wanted to do. When I came home I was showered with great love.  It felt so nice to finally be treated nicely. Although it is great to be with my family, I miss my fellow soldiers and the fun times we had when we weren't dodging bullets. I am so fortunate to be coming out of this dreadful war with only a missing finger. My pinky finger to be precise, I didn't find it very useful anyway.

Sincerely,

Phillip Johnson

This is a photo of an average Civil War solider's home.

Citations:

"Amputated Limbs." The University of North Carolina. School of Education, 2014.
Web. 13 May 2014. <http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-civilwar/
4694>.

"Average Soldier." Civil War Voices. Soldier Studies, 2008. Web. 1 May 2014.
<http://www.soldierstudies.org/index.php?action=webquest_1>.

"Civil War Flatware." icollector. Live Auction Group, 2014. Web. 6 May 2014.
<http://www.icollector.com/Sheffield-Hammer-Civil-War-Flatware_i10002166>.

"Civil War Photos." National Archives. USA Government, 2014. Web. 14 May 2014.
<http://www.archives.gov/research/military/civil-war/photos/>.

"Civil War Soldiers." The Daily Banter. Wordpress, 2014. Web. 12 May 2014.
<http://t0.gstatic.com/
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSX8PWPpW5FhnArndctsp7soOYCJ56Cru9D0slmgQeQVY81puKe>.

"Deck of Union Playing Cards." The Civil War in Missouri. History Museum of
Missouri, 2011. Web. 5 May 2014. <http://www.civilwarmo.org/gallery/item/
CWMO-69?nojs=1>.

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