Kurt Heinz Journal

Civil War Steps

I was a disciplined above average child and life was boring in Deutschland, München. I also recently moved from my parents house. I lived with my older brother for bit until I got really bored. I was bored at home when I heard that Germany was sending boats to the new world. I told my family I was going. As I arrived on the new land at a place named New York in 1861 and after a month of setting in first cannons of the south broke out at fort Sumter on April 1st 1861. I decided to sign up with the army to protect the democracy I came for! I wrote to mom and dad and they agreed I should. Next step, to the recruiting center!'

April 1st 1861

News broke out that Fort Sumter had been blown in Charleston, VA harbor. I thought they should have invaded Sumter, not blown it sky high! I have been here for only a month and slave talk is common also. Pour beings. I'd fight for their freedom for it is my freedom too. I knew that the south was going for slavery. Terrible. I must defend these men, these women, these children. They are the future no matter who you are. I must decide to defend them for I need the money and I need freedom for them. I am going to the recruiting station tomorrow!

April 2nd 1861

I came to the recruiting station today, it was strangely empty. I went to the desk. There stood a man that was young and with brown hair. He turned around, he was freckled and look like a person who wouldn't be in the army. “What are you here for?” he asked. “To ensign as a private.” I gently replied. “Sign here, here, and here.” I signed and I was in the military. He finalized it and told me here was training and meet up tomorrow! Next step, to the training!

April 3rd 1861

I came to training at 4:00 am in the morning. I heard that drilling was easy. It was. For the next month I drilled 4:00 or 5:00 am in the morning every day but Sunday. It was hard work. Every now and then of course. We were going to be shipped off in May 31st, just a few days until the march on Richmond. I drilled hard and it worked on me hard, I was the most disciplined so far. Constant bayonet drilling and firing practice casually every day. Until sundown I was allowed to go. I am ready for the army!

P.S. I saw this: Really dirty toothbrushes!

May 31st 1861

We were sent to the army today. We rode in trains all day, we aren’t even there yet! I am also writing on the train, 2 more days until we reach Washington. I was put in a fresh new group, the 88th New York German Brigade, almost all of us are pure German and we all are good with guns, like are grandpas who fought for Britain in the American Revolutionary war. I don’t know anyone yet, I’ll talk to them tomorrow

May 32nd 1861

I talked to my fellow soldiers all of them are from Germany but came to New York when a lad. They were nice. One of them came from the south because his boat came in Charleston on April 2nd and he had to flee to the north where the rest of his family was. But he picked up a confederate song on the journey home, Eatin’ Goober Peas. We sang all night. I’m awfully tired. Peas!\

May 33rd 1861 --12:00 A.M.

I made a new friend last night who convinced me into drinking. His name is Wilfried Veit. We talked a bit in the morning which is when I wrote this. I remembered the conversation so I wrote it down as a memoir as my first military friend. He was in a hangover though over last night, I had a glass of a drink by the way.

“Wak’ up, we arre going to ya’ know’ arive rile’ soon buddy!”

“I am lucky I learned English like you, otherwise it would be hard here.”

“Awful fun though?”

“Yes.”

“We betta’ get agoing’ now!”

“Let’s pack up!”

We are arriving soon.

May 33rd 1861 --3:00 P.M.

We arrived! I hear we are going to capture Richmond now that I hear the first arrivals talking. I guess this is going to be a quick war after all! We are off to battle. I wouldn’t have known this and told my allies if my mom and dad didn’t force me to know english language! Thank you mom and dad!

We are off to Richmond but we have to pass through a place called ‘Bull Run’.

















July 16th 1861

We marched all day yesterday and pitching up and getting ready for battle delayed my entries. While we walked yesterday people picked berries and broke ranks, it was mighty hot! We arrived not far from Manassas Junction and were ready to start are quick campaign for Richmond.

-later-

We battled hard all morning, so many dead wounded, blood everywhere, ears deaf from cannon fire and the thunder of a thousand muskets at a time. It was truly horrific. I couldn’t describe it verbally or by calligraphy. But aftermath graphically I can, I took some images from the newspaper.

It was mighty difficult to survive but me and 99% of the regiment did. We are hard fighters apparently. Back to camp.

July 21st 1861

I heard General Irvin McDowell was fired and Major General George McClellan replaced him, I also heard McClellan is starting up strict rules for the troops.












September 1st 1861

Two months since I wrote on these pages. I decided for this special return to my writing I would tell my friend I met in New York named John Smith, pretty generic huh?

September 1st 1861

Dear John, I see you haven’t yet bothered, yet of course, to send me a letter. I have recently survived the battle of Bull Run. Many spectators were there. Since we were very close to Richmond we ran into some rioteers from the Confederates. I was just crossing the little ol’ river when they started chucking stones at us. A man was struck and another went up in rage to avenge him. I was struck several times and I bled from my torso and somewhat my legs. I was fine I thought and I was. The officers finally gave orders to open fire. With pleasure almost all of us took care to slaughter the traitors. We killed two dozen and half wounded. On us we lost five or six a dozen and all injured. Many, if not all of us were raged with anger.

While we quarreled at camp after battle we were assigned a new general. After McDowell, our first general failed Lincoln apparently fired him! He replaced McDowell with General George McClellan, He is very strict. Punishments ranged from logging (patrolling outside a tent with arms at guard without rifles and with logs all day!) to forced to wear a barrel for clothes! Astonishing. Our German regiment was very good and disciplined, We casually got drunk which is the only bad thing we did. We were set up at Washington (right outside) and were on guard duty for our capitol. We had chores on Saturday and Sunday and anywhere else with free time (at least). Our commanding officer thought we knew what we were doing (which we did and we fought before) and let us do less drills than the rest. We woke at the same time (at dawn) and went to bed at the same time (at dusk) as the others in the army. The only drills we did take seriously to improve on where marching in whole battalions and armies. We were good everywhere else.

Send me a letter back and I’ll detail the Bull Run battle! I got it written down already.

You’re sincere friend,

Kurt Heinz








October 14th 1861

Oh how another month has passed once again. Its the same as I described last time. Anyway I met a drummer boy named Jeremiah Handley.at camp. He is the drummer for the 23rd Vermont I believe. He was in gray though, suspicious. Well I learned about him and his story, I have it written down. He said he went with his brother to enlist as a Southern soldier as his brother was doing as well but was turned from being a soldier because of his age. He said he could be a drummer boy or go away. He had an opportunity to sneak with his brother, James to battle but he decided not to. He said he’d be a drummer boy. He thinks in the future he would survive and go home, with James still alive and a reunion of the family. I still remember how the conversation went, it was more of an interview really.

“Jeremiah, when you chose to go with your brother what caused you to make that choice?”

“I shall not let my brother out alone no matter where I am.”

“Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or

happy about?”

“I think its being good to my mother. I have left her to protect others rights but I did not leave so in vain and lonesome. I did it to help others as I do my mom so with care.”

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

“I wish this war never started in the first place!”

“Did your brother live the war as you have Jeremiah?”

“Yes, he figured out ways not to die and is going to become a corporal because of Bull Run.”

As I woke the next morning I knew there was much to do.






October 15th 1861

We got a lot of freetime today.

October 16th 1861

Sorry, yesterday drills were cut down a lot and we had much free time, I could not waste it! Anyway I sent my letter to John about Bull Run since he replied. I am going to send him a letter on recreation for him to study.

October 16th 1861

Dear John, at camp we had a mostly free day yesterday, we have much recreation since you asked last time. We play baseball (I think you heard) and we catch up on things and play jokes. Its a lot more fun than you think, army life can be boring. We also write letters since a lot of lads and men write home a lot, I spent little time for this letter since the drills are back and I want this free time now.

Until next time, for fun of course,

Kurt Heinz










November 21st 1861

Snow hit and drills are impossible. We built are huts recently. Its so cozy! Such fun now. While getting bored in the tent while the others go to the saloon I made my own song, its a bit goofy, I believe I’ve heard it somewhere before!

The Goofy Yankee Goober [Variation 9]

By: Kurt Heinz

Verse 1

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

Chorus-We are yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!









Verse 2

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

Chorus-We are yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

















Verse 3

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

Chorus-We are yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

















Verse 4

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

We’re all Yankee doodles, YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

Chorus-We are yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

We’re all Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee yankee yankee yankee yankee!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

We all eat goober peas

Chorus- Which makes us Goobers YEAH!

We are Yankees YEAH!

Chorus- We are Yankee goobers YEAH!

Yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober yankee goober!

It might be the same all verses but its a real time killer! One more time!














May 4th 1862

Diseases went around the camp like a wild fire. I couldn’t write since I was sick a long time over the winter. I got over it but its still haunts me. I got dysentery, measles, and pneumonia. I somehow survived. My allies weren’t as lucky. I heard 10-20 men from my regiment died over the winter from illness. I figured out that I should only drink clean water, I think the muddy water was the cause since thats the last thing I drink everyday, all day. The rest in the surrounding regiments lost more than we did, more than 100. I got better around now and we are going off to battle soon. I am preparing once more.

May 5th 1862

Another fun day, we met with the rebels outside camp and played some baseball. It was so fun! They won by two runs! In our rematch we tied. At 2:00pm about we finally got a win. We shared our hardtack with them. Good stuff. We played cards the rest of the day. What a free day!

May 6th 1862

Food at camp is terrible. I have things swimming in my coffee every morning I dip my hard tack! My hardtack, I preferably bake my own and I bake it in the swedish recipe of it. I like the salted beef but its too salty so I have to let it soak in water overnight. Rations are good but I wish I got more of the beef, I am good at cooking ya’ know!

May 7th 1862

Some blundering idiot and his friends got stuck after lightning hit a tree. Their legs were stuck! the doctors and surgeons had to go out into the woods to get them, their legs were permanently stuck though. They amputated them right there on the spot. We could hear screams from there and some went to look. I have a picture on how it was like, not the exact situation though.

Pour men!



May 31st 1862

I hear I will be sent home today. They said I had a 1 year enlistment and that I cannot be drafted or join again. Sad. I was getting ready for the rest of the war, I made it to Private third class at least. It was good eats to a point. I finally get to escape the terrible stench and disease of camp! I won’t forget my friends either. I think when I get home I will marry a beautiful young lady and get a place to live and eat some real food. I will get money to visit family. I’ll get a job as a GErman to English translator and keep working out and doing my own organized or personal variations off of the army drills, my workout. I still have a life to continue, it’s about time I did something about it. Keep moving forward!




The End!

P.S. I couldn't get the final pictures on here, copying and pasting, visit the document I had this on.

Journal with pictures: https://docs.google.com/a/bsd220.org/document/d/1x_OlN4k51Tqbift5LnhGLPVN9KW_cLrAqxrrYsr9zrk/edit#

(Only for Mrs. McCullough and picture 'essays')

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