Civil War journal

By: William John

My name is William John, I am from Springfield, Illinois. Before I became a soldier, I am an assistant at a blacksmith shop, I clean the scraps after each day, but I also fix rifles and dented swords. I spend most of my time practicing aim, firing and loading a gun. During the war, I will serve for the confederates because since they are in south, they have more open field to practice shooting and loading a gun, allowing them to be more familiar with the weapons. I am a private and 22 years old.Lastly, I have a wife Mary who writes to me everyday, a daughter Elizabeth who gets food and helps prepare dinner, and a son who follows in my footsteps, practicing with me in the field and hoping to grow up like me.

Photo prompt: color (apple tree)

This is where I get my snack after a long day of drilling and practicing aim and firing.

Journal entry #2

John: Hey James, I need food in my bread basket

James: yes, me too I'm played out

John: I hope its not the hard case sheet iron crackers, ew

James: You ready for the battle possum

John: we are top rail and have great horse sense

James: Those hornets will sure get them to skedaddle

John: What do you think of the greenhorn?

James: he sure gets fit to be tied quick and is fit as a fiddle

John: we sure be getting back to work, I don't want to get whipped

James: me neither, good thing we are chief cook and battle washer

John: goodbye

Journal entry #3

Dear wife,

We finally arrived to our camp site, it is well wooded with trees all around and not too much sun. The camp was set up by the tents getting pinned up and the pots and firewood getting ready for our evening meal. The following day brings new experiences to me, we do so many drills I cannot name. Conditioning and exercise is important for the upcoming war, we jump over walls, and go through obstacle courses rain or shine, with practice aim and firing muskets and reloading them as fast as we can. The chores are important to keep the camp clean, men are in charge to gather firewood and clean the pots. The punishments are harsh and cruel, the soldiers getting screamed at, hit at and making them go through the obstacle course again and do 20 pushups. I am in charge of preparing the food, we usually eat cooked carrot and peas.


Photo prompt: Morning (sunrise)

This is what I see when I wake up in the morning.


Journal entry #4


Question 1: Jeremiah, when you chose to stay at home and care for your mother. What caused you to do that?

I wanted to stay home with my mom because since she was sick, I would want to stay with here as long as I could until she died.

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

I am happy that I took cover behind trees and set up a defensive line which lets the confederates drive the Union back, chasing them from the area.

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

I wish that I would have been older to enlist in the army.

Question 4: Jeremiah, how has things changed since you have been an officer?

Journal entry 6:


lets crush the rebs

lets kill the rebs

and gain all the glory

they don't deserve a chance again

we deserve a chance  to win

we  deserve a chance to win

We'll march with pride

We'll march with victory

The cannons will fire

And the prize we will aquire

The clash and bangs of guns and bayonets

The battle cries from the fighting soldiers


When the battle is done

The field will tell the story

The cheers and smiles of the victorious soldiers

We'll walk away with our heads held high

the trail of blood behind us

And gain all the glory

Photo promt- battle

a line of soldiers ready for battle

Journal entry #6

Dear family,

Camp life is difficult, but there are fun past times to do. I like to play chess with my fellow soldiers and I like to sit around a campfire and sing songs, The food is horrible, the biscuits they call Hard tack are as hard as rock, and there is no flavor at all. The pork and beef we eat is raw and so salty it mad me cry, we have o wait hours for it to be ready to eat. The ditch water we find is dirty and filled with bugs. But it isn't that bad, my favorite food that I actually get some sort of vitamins, is the dried cakes with beans, onions, turnips, carrots, and beets, you just have to take out the leaves in them. The plays are fun to watch for 25 cents and can get crazy when the men have too much to drink. The most surprising past time I have seen the soldiers do, is talk with the other side of yelling distance. The men here will do anything here to live, even if it is eating or drinking little bugs.

Journal entry #7

As the war drags on, the illnesses spread like a wildfire. Soldiers everywhere laying on the ground from the wounds and crying for water. As I see one soldier get surgery on, it is almost too horrid to watch. No chloroform to hold in their screams, and the limbs all piled in a hole. Coughs and wheezes surround me as the soldiers wait to get medical help from the nurses. I see all the soldiers filled up in each bed lined up against the wall. The bumpy roads make it hard to block out the noise of men yelping with pain and men groaning. The stench from all the soldiers is horrific, with soldiers covered in dirt and the obvious smell of men not bathing for days wafting in the air. Ladies pushing their way through the dead bodies to get to the next soldier to hand them a spoonful of food, to keep them alive. My fellow friends saying their last goodbyes one by one. 

Photo prompt: home

It is so good to come home from after the war and see my loving family.

Journal entry #8 Home

I am home at last, after the long and intense war that will stick in my memory forever, I am so glad to finally see my family again. It seems that time flew so fast, looks like my children are four years older. Oh how I missed them dearly, the experiences I had were brutal, all the men dying around me and the Sargent yelling at us to do drills in the hot sun for hours a day. I come home safely unwounded, but scars and scratches reminding me of the battles I fought. As I walk to my family, I can see the happy tears rolling down my wife's cheek and the shouts of happiness coming from my children, running and hugging me. I still remember the goodbye of the Sargent, giving me a well done salute and sending me off to my family. I did a good thing for this country, risked my life for thousands of people just like me. The dust and gunpowder flying all around me. My home is where I am finally safe.

Works Cited
"Apple Tree." The Interpretation of Dreams. Interpretation of Dreams, n.d. Web. 8 May 2014. <>.
"Family Homes." N.p., 5 Oct. 2004. Web. 14 May 2014. <>.
"File: Sunrise Thailand Ko Samui. Jpg." Wikimedia Commons. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 8 May 2014. <>.
Glazer, Steven D. "Henry R. Heath: Union Soldier, Thousand Island Pioneer." Thousand Island magazine, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 1 May 2014. <>.
Orton, Mark C. "The Civil War Centennial Handbook." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2014. <>.

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