Civil War Journal

By: Charlotte Edmondson

Civil War Nurse selfie: Charlotte Edmondson

Journal Entry 1

July 2, 1863

Dear Dairy,                                                                                                                  

            My name is Charlotte Edmondson and I am 24 years of age. I was born on April 9, 1839 on a sunny, bright spring morning. I grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on a farm. I have always lived in a small house ever since I was a kid. My home was surrounded by fresh air, ponds, and long grass. I live with many good people against slavery like me. My grandparents live with us and they don’t mind, everyone just goes throughout their daily business like sewing, writing, or working on the farm. I grew up with my best friend Elizabeth Smith and we have been best friends ever since birth. Today, my occupation is nursing...for the Union army. I am located on a base a short while from the current battle field (we move locations often). I live, sleep and breathe there. Whenever they move I follow. About 11 days ago my home was used for battle ground. There is nothing left but ash. Watching your own house burn down is a tragic thing. I couldn't bear watching and knowing that my mother, father, and grandparents too stayed in the house to stand their ground. My 10 year old brother, Joseph and 4 year old sister, Elizabeth ran out as the first cannon fired, Joseph got shot along the way out. I have no one left anymore besides my Mother, sister Elizabeth and fiance Jacob Clark, a soldier in the Union Army. Along in my occupation is my friend Elizabeth Smith. Her and I decided on making an occupation together so we would be inseparable. She too witnessed the horrible catastrophe of our memories burning down in ash. We spent most of our childhood in my home and in the field. We laughed and played until the sunset every day. But, today we stay up with all the groans and moans of the wounded soldiers. It's terrible here, so cold and clammy.

Color Photo

Journal Entry 2

Confederate Vs. Union

Union: You darn wallpapered gray back! Always buffing your chances

Confederate: You fresh fish you can't even aim a pepperbox.

Union: Well at least I am toeing the mark and having my horse sense you sunday soldier

Confederate: You and your friends are all played out thinking you are hard cases when you skedaddle out of battle.

Union: You better watch your tone you grayback I am coming for you with my Arkansas toothpick you better skedaddle you uppity jailbird

Confederate: You been whipped in every battle you can't take one more horrible defeat.

Union: Well I got a chance to live I’ve been through the mill and I know what’s coming next

Confederate: You better grab a root and run because the hornets are coming.

Union: Bully! Bring it on you Parlor boy I'll be ready with my greenhorn and you will be hard knocked to the bone

Confederate: I'll round up my possum I aint afraid of you I’m as fit as a fiddle.

Union: You’re asking for it i am fit to be tied your chances are as scarce as hens teeth

Journal Entry 3

July 6, 1863

Dear Mother,

Today our troops travel to another battle at Fort Wagner. We have been traveling for a few days but my legs are tired and droopy. Carrying all the equipment is weighing me down. Some nursed patients died along the way, and they were buried in the ground. It's still quite nice outside. How are you? Are you doing well? How's Elizabeth? I hope the war ends soon so I may come home and speak with you. I'll stay safe! No signs of Jacob at the "hospital on wheels" which means he is most likely doing okay! I am doing just fine as well, fit as a fiddle! Sometimes the generals punish the soldiers for things like speaking out of turn, drinking, or goofing off when they should be training. Then some soldiers that have be punished severely come to me and other nurse to heal from the wounds. That's all I have to say so far. Write back soon!

Sincerely, Charlotte Edmondson

Morning picture of the nursing station

Journal Entry 4

Interview With Jeremiah Handley

1. Jeremiah, when you chose to stay, what caused you to make that choice? Well, I wanted to stay back and help my mother heal and become better again so she can go throughout her daily life.

2. Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or happy about? I am happy about staying with my mother to try and get her better. When she died I was upset, but at least I helped her try and get better. If I wouldn't have stayed and at least tried I would regret it for my whole life.

3. Jeremiah, what is one thing about your life you wish had been different? I wish I would have went East with Lee's troops. Then my outcome could have been better instead of being captured by the Confederate Army.

4. Jeremiah, what has become of your brother? Has he changed? Yes, most defiantly my brother has changed. I saw him when I was by the Confederate side I barely even recognized him. He has a different attitude towards everything. I remember once in battle as my side of the flank started to charge my brother was standing right in front of me. I didn't have the guts to shoot him down. But, he sure had the guts to take me as a prisoner. Also, as we were walking down to the Union holding cells (for me) my brother was standing guard. Didn't speak a word to me even as I pleaded for freedom. I totally despise of my brother now. I think it's safe to say I loath him.

Fun: piano playing/musical performance

Journal Entry 5

Civil War Song: Marching Through the Field

Verse one: Marching through the field,

Carrying our swords and weapons,

Ready to fight the enemy,

Not knowing what will soon happen,

Pre-Chorus: Tired but hopeful,

Strong and bold,

Here’s the time to shoot and scold,

Chorus: Ohhhhhhhh

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Hurrah Hurrah,

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Verse Two: Soon they too will be marching on,

In their flanks two by two,

The drummers will be drumming,

To the sound of their guns,

Bridge: BANG BOOM,

Knocking them down like domino's,


All of the soldiers dead,

Chorus: Ohhhhhhhh

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Hurrah Hurrah,

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Verse Three: Goodbye battle field,

We’ve won again,

The Union triumphs in victory,

Hunkey Dorey! Bully!

Chorus: Ohhhhhhhh

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Hurrah Hurrah,

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Verse Four: Skedaddle graybacks,

For we've won again,

Were all played out,

It’s time to grab a root,

Chorus: Ohhhhhhhh

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Hurrah Hurrah,

Here we go marching on and on,

Here we go marching,

Journal Entry 6

July 20, 1863

Dear Diary,

Camp life has been tough. We are scarce on food and water. The nurses are left nothing but the scraps and ditch water of the soldiers. How unfair! We are the ones who need to be alive for their care. So why don't we get good food and good water. We have received mostly dirt and have found many strange bugs in our raw meat and water. My favorite food was the corn bread. Well, when it didn't smell like mold and have cobwebs on it.

Camp Corn Bread Recipe:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package corn bread muffin mix
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (8 ounce) can canned cream corn
  • 1/2 cup white sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. Place the muffin mix a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk and egg. Mix in the cream corn and sugar. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of pan comes out clean.

Other than eating all the time we keep busy by playing games of ball, telling stories, watching plays or musicals, and even playing the piano, or passing notes to the near by camps. My favorite thing to do was watch the musicals or play the piano and write a few songs. Me and my nursing friends would all come up with a nice song for the soldiers to sing to as they march. Sometimes we see the soldiers play a game of baseball or play practical jokes on one another while sleeping! Overall, camp isn't so bad once you get past the worms and bugs in your food.

Cannon mmoving to the battle field

Journal Entry 7

July 23, 1863

Dear Diary,

Today I experience a gross medical disease called pneumonia. The treatment is quite grotesque. I first had to make the patient sweat and bleed. Then I had to rub burning alcohol on a sick soldier's chest, and apply hot bricks to his feet to make them sweat. Sometimes I had to cut their wrists to make them bleed. If the soldier has stomach pains I would recommend him to wear a stomach belt or body bandage. Every once in awhile I would have to help sawbones cut off some soldiers body parts. Overall, the experience is very gruesome.   

Home: Family got a new house/barn after the war broke out at our original house

Journal Entry 8

August 3, 1863

My dearest Jacob,

It is now my time to tell you that my term is up from my duty as a Civil War nurse. I am heading home now and I hope to see you soon. I missed you very much and I am glad I didn't see you in my headquarters, wounded. Hope all is well! Come over when your term is up. We could have some potato soup and corn bread. It's about time you get a regular meal. Love you write back soon.

Your loving fiance, Charlotte

August 10, 1863

Dear Diary,

I am home now all settled in. After a few days of settling down I was expecting a letter from my fiance Jacob. I never got one...until today. It unfortunately wasn't from him. It was from the Army general. The letter said...

"Dear Charlotte Edmondson,

We thank you for your time with us during the war. Sadly...Jacob didn't make it"

Then I shivered away in pain to the sounding of the words. I didn't believe what I was hearing. How could he die! I never would have thought. I continued to read...

"He died two days after you left to go home. We are very sorry for your loss. Recoup soon. Once you are available we would like to plan a veterans funeral including your fiance. Write us soon.

Sincerely, General Grant"

I haven't' recouped yet. I don't think I ever will.


Citation: Civil War Selfie

"Jenifer Fink." Nursing Link. nursing link, n.d. Web. 15 May 2014.


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