Civil War Project

Samuel Smith

Journal #1

The name is Samuel Smith! My home belongs in Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania. The beautiful wife named Elizabeth-Ann Smith. I was a blacksmith before the war and enjoyed spending the hours around the warm fire sculpting beautiful pieces of metal. I wouldn't have joined if it weren't for my elderly father. He was an abolitionist ever since slavery began and he wanted me and him to fight together in what we thought was destroying this country. My fathers dead now. For myself and a majority of others, I have joined to fight side by side with the union because I want to fight to save the country. The south's secession was an illegal rebellion that needs to stop right away. I take this fighting as a sense of my own duty. Not only am I fighting for myself and my own liberty I am fighting for the freedom of others. Blacks, whites, any American there is. I believe along with my wife and daughter that the segregation between the blacks and whites should end and should not carry on any further than it already has. I hope to fulfill my position as a private throughout the war. Although, I will miss the family. I have a mother living with the wife and the daughter and my father passed away on the way to war. My sister and brother have abandoned me and my family to fight what they believe is right. I pray to God that me along with my family is protected throughout the war.

Journal #2

Mariah: I used to grab a root with my family on friday nights. Oh how I miss that.

Beka: My friend was a great chief cook and bottle washer.

Emily: our family has been through the mill. I miss them so much and I hope to be home soon,

Mariah: After dinner we went home to play some dandy games. Oh how it was as snug as a bug

Beka: We played dandy games as well. We played so long that our bread baskets were empty.

Emily: What a hunky dorey time!

Journal #3

Dear Mary,

Been here two weeks and already seeing what I was hoping to avoid in this darn war. I have been following all of the rules that the sergeant has told me to do. I've been doing each drill with a high respect towards my peers. Indeed, I have made a friend. Billy is his name. He was alone much like me and had family back at home. Making friends  with his was not such a good idea. This meant that I created such feelings toward him. Feelings of empathy. He was a respectful fellow but often misbehaved and received punishments in return. I hated watching him travel out of the camp with a sign placed all around him stating his disabilities and mistakes that he had made. He was forced to march around the camp, bald scalp and sign. Seeing the worse punishments take place made me rethink about the actions that I had towards my elders. Not only do I have to be treated in a terrible matter by the Confederates, I get treated the same way from my own side. Its always every man for himself. One day about a week ago was really bad. The others bombed our camp. The bomb nearly hit me but I still laid there, no one there helping me when I was hit, lying on the ground in agonizing pain. It gets worse and worse each and every day. Not only is it disgusting in what we have to live in and/or on, its disgusting on the way we risk our lives to save a country when we are treated in a disgusting way back. Oh god, help me survive in this depressing, terrifying place. Missing you each and every day.


                                                                                                        Your loving Father

Photo Prompt: Color

Beautiful day at the camp grounds. Praying that today will be a good day

Journal #4

Jeremiah Handley Interview

Jeremiah, when you chose to enlist in the army, what caused you to make that choice?

Jeremiah: I chose to enlist in the army rather than staying home with my mother to care for her because I knew that in order to make a difference in our country, I would have to fight. Also, I believe that slavery should be allowed and it should spread farther throughout the North. My brother is also joining the Confederate army to fight for what he thinks is right about slavery. I want to make a difference throughout the civil war and show the country that the Union is/was wrong.

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

Jeremiah: I am proud of my accomplishments that I have made throughout the civil war. Although I miss my sickly mother terribly, I knew that this journey was a good cause. It showed my integrity and bravery to fight for my freedom. I hope that my mother stayed safe through it all and that I am provided with care, I am proud that I have followed my brothers footsteps. I am proud of the accomplishments I have made.

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

Jeremiah: I wish that I would have stayed home with my mother who is now passed on . I regret the sacrifices I made for myself. And I believe that if I had been less selfish towards myself, I could have saved my family along with our crops. Now, after I spend my time here, I will be traveling home hopefully with my brother and I will return to nothing. No crops, no mother, no happiness.

Jeremiah, does seeing men die in battle change Jeremiah?

Jeremiah: I am completely changed after seeing the depressing casualties and deaths throughout the war. I now know how thankful I can be that me nor my brother had died and we can return home. Although, I can't be with my mother and that we lost the war,  I'm with my brother and we are going to finally be filled with calmness and niceness again.

Photo Prompt: Morning

Woke up to the sound of the bugle blaring in my ears.

Journal #5

Verse 1:

Deep in the forest

Dead bodies all around

Bullets fly

People die

You need to watch your back

And protect your soul

When again its morning

You need to live on


Here is war

And here its poor

Here the soldiers guard the country from its harm

Home your dreams are sweet

And here your dreams are crushed

Here is the place

Where soldiers fight

(Extra- Here is the place

Where lives are erased)

Verse 2:

Deep in the forest

Hidden from the enemy

A bed of red

A shovel lay

Forget them now,

we have to go away

Cause when we wake tomorrow

Your death may lay


Verse 3:

Deep in the forest

Hidden in the trees

The tents are up

The generals pleased

The soldiers cry

In their privacy

The three month soldiers leave happily


Verse 4:

Deep in the Forest

Tucked away in shame

The suffering side

Comes home from a hard day

They know they’ll win

They will prevail

But now in this moment

They have failed


Journal #6

My Dearest Mary,

Camp life although can be very hard to pass by, it definitely beats fighting throughout the war. When fighting, I know that I'm not only fighting for myself but I'm fighting for my country. Although, it can be a satisfactory feeling, it can be a troubling threat to my life. I spend my days running around with my fellas and playing rounds of cards. My favorite card game would have to be whist. Although it is hard to resist sometimes, I don't hang out with the people who turn to whiskey and bug juice for fun. Time off isn't the only hard thing but finding a good source of food is even harder. If a choice is given, I usually turn to hardtack.  Hard “crackers”made with flour, salt,and water. Although, they are nicknamed "jawbreakers," they have a savoring flavor that stays at the roof of my mouth. Although the food is barely helping me survive, I am thankful for the food that I am provided.


                                   Your loving husband, Samuel

Photo Prompt: Battle

What has our country become?

Journal #7

I have seen many illnesses throughout the war. As sad as it is, I am thankful that I have only had been sickened once and am now healthy as I can be. I try to stay away from polluted water because I see the pain and horror from the men as they are ignored by the nurses. Many common diseases that I see fill the men that I'm constantly surround by include typhoid. This disease is a result from contaminated food and water. 1 out of every 3 people that got it dies from it. TO halt diseases, doctors use many cures. Whiskey and other forms of alcohol also were used to treat wounds and disease and camp itch could be treated by ridding the body of the pests. Although many of the cures did not succeed, the doctors tried their hardest Tuberculosis was another common disease that spread around our camps. Throughout the war, the doctors have discovered that there is no cure to this killing disease. Although, it can be treated, but never can it be cured. Once you get the disease, you have it for life. Unfortunately, one fellow of mine that I was very fond of recently died in the mass of the sick patients. I will dearly miss him although I am happy to say that I am still alive today fighting for my freedom. Camp itch could be treated by ridding the body of the pests

Photo Prompt: Fun

Fun, but disappointing day playing cards. I LOST

Journal #8

Dearest Elizabeth-Ann,

How I miss you. Every day being away from you, knowing that you may be in danger, leaves me in agonizing pain. I have recently arrived here at the last camp, before coming home last night at 9 o clock. I am likely to be initiated into the mysteries and miseries of war upon my very first debut; sleeping upon the ground, wrapped in my rubber coat. I have taken my baggage to the camp. There was nothing there to eat, the Quartermaster was sick and everyone was in confusion, including myself and so I come back to the campgrounds to first write a letter, and then sleep through the night. If I go out to the field tomorrow or next day I may not have an opportunity to write for several days but will again as soon as possible. There is nothing here but soldiers and Blacks. I think this is the 22nd letter that I have written although I never know if you ever will receive them. I have received no letter from you since date Oct. 5th informing me of your safe arrival, but haven't heard past. I plan on seeing you soon and I can't wait to embrace you. As I was saying about my journey throughout the civil war, I...

Private Samuel Smith

Dead of shot to head from trespassing Confederates

March 1, 1832-July 23 1865

Rest in peace Samuel Smith; you will be remembered forever

Photo Prompt: Home

Missing the home where I belong

Comment Stream