Civil War Journal
George Williams 1862
I am George L. Williams a forty five year old man from Danville, Virginia. I quit my job of a blacksmith to come to the war. My sister Ann lives in the war and she enlisted and joined the filthy patriots. I love her but I am furious that she didn't join the South. My son quit his apprentice as a printer. I have two twin seven year old girls and a fifteen year old boy who is fighting in the army, as am I. My wife is staying at home with my girls as an apothecary in New Orleans, so they can be far away from action.We threw away our future to fight for our rights. We have three slaves. I am fighting for the confederates as a private . My state succeeded and I was glad to join. My family has slaves, and I have had slaves all my life. These animals don’t need rights, they are not people. If we would have stayed united Lincoln would taken away slavery along with other state rights out of the few we have. If we lose this war we will also lose these rights. I am fighting for what is right, the North needs to open their eyes and stay out of our business.
I took a picture of the beautiful red white and blue confederate flag. I proudly saluted. I am somewhere in South Carolina waiting for action at a camp.
I miss you all with all my heart. Life at war is- well lets just say horrible is an understatement. I have no idea where our son is, I don't really want to know where he is. I know in my heart that he is less than a mile away from me. Winning the first battle was great! We proved that we can beat the powerful Union. But it was still horrifying. People plop down on the ground next to me, dead in a second. Cannon fired, multiple dead. I shoot and kill. I shot someone. Someone just like me, someone who has a family. I have ripped families apart. What are we doing? Molly, what am I doing. These are our people. We need to stay a united nation. I can't handle this. They aren't the bad guy. I am. I am shooting and killing them, they think we are the bad guys. But neither of us are. We both are fighting for what we believe. Everyone of these men are innocent. And hundreds die every battle. I need you. I wanna go home. I should never have enlisted in the war. Anyway,after we finished building camps we all spat, and stepped on the union flag dancing around and chanting. The flame still burns in my eyes when I try to sleep. 'This is our country' I think to myself. We even set the flag on fire. We started this unnecessary fight.Those were good times when we had a lot of free, but now we drill. All day and every day. And we get inspected, as if life wasn't hard enough. We have to clean our guns, comb our hair, wash our uniforms and even shine our shoes. I feel like a dress up doll. A fellow named Jim had to march all day with a log on his back for not combing his hair. He said he felt like he marched all the way around the world carrying a bolder when he was done. I am glad they didn't catch that I forgot to shine my shoes. There isn't much fun in the camps. Since I am a private I don't get a nice table to play cards on or have nice drinks to be served to me. Sometimes we play games, but most of the time we mess around, write letters, or drill. Most of all, I miss you. I love you all and although we may never see each other again I am fighting for what is right and I know that we will always be in each others hearts. Don't be afraid and don't be lost, because on a full moon we will be together, for it is never bigger than your thumb.
Was James one of the dead? I hope James isn't dead! He is my brother and he may be my only family left. I can't survive this war without him. I have already taken three big risks to be with him. He isn't dead, he can't be.
What will Jeremiah's reaction be if he is? I wanna go home! 'crying' If I don't go home soon she'll be gone too! If I can't stand the grief she definitely cant! I can't stay here for my three year enlistment. I can't survive. I am only 13! James I need you!
What if he isn't?
James and I are together. He keeps me strong. I trail behind him. He has made some friends, I have not. I have trouble talking, I choke up when I try to. I just do what I am told. He whispers to me at night and tries to sooth me. We right to mom together. He is the reason I am still sane.
Does seeing men die in battle change Jeremiah?
I see people dropping all around me, begging for mercy. Begging for me to help them. People with limbs blown off! This is not child play. My ears are piercing my body weak and floppy. I cry all night haunted by the memories of the day. I rock my self back in forth. I can't take it. I am permanently scarred.
CIVIL WAR SLANG
Hornets fly by my face all day long. I'm played out and my possums are dying around me. Hunky dory! No one is as fit as a fiddle. And everyone is fit to be tied. The skunks are all snug as a bug, when we are hard knocks. Food is scarce as hens teeth. Life is hard.
I was chosen to fetch a cannon with a big group of men. This is a dangerous journey with rebels on the way. It was the most beautiful thing I have seen in months. It is uncontrollable and beautiful leaving me gawking and filled with warmth. The soft yellow glowing light reflects in my eyes. All I normally see is dull and grey. I cried that day missing home.
CIVIL WAR SONG
My sibling enlisted in the war
but they’re fighting against me
I tried to tell them they were wrong
but they didn’t bother listen
Mom said eat your ham
Dad said you go scram
We continued to argue
George chose the south
Ann chose the North
We said im gonna kill you
George- I SHOT HER LIKE THERE NO TOMORROW
Ann- DON’T YOU EVER SAY IM NOT GONNA WIN
George- I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY SISTER
Ann- WELL I JUST WANT SLAVERY TO E- E- END
Just another day
from all of the bullets
We chose to be wise
and I would advise
to keep your eyes on the target
George- I SHOT HER LIKE THERE NO TOMORROW
Ann- DON’T YOU EVER SAY I'M NOT GONNA WIN
George- I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY SISTER
Ann- WELL I JUST WANTED SLAVERY TO E- E- END
We had fun gambling:
Favorite food: hardtack-crackers made of flour and water. It was gross but it was the best out of everything.
To pass time: Gambling. We weren't aloud to gamble at first but the officers don't really care. They do it too but they get alcohol. Not fair.
My friend Jim was shot in the arm during a battle. I tried to accompany him but I had to stay outside the tent. I watched through a large opening clenching my hat in my hands and biting my lip, praying he'll be alright. I see a man pin down his shoulders and he cuts off his arm from the elbow down! Without even trying to gibe him medicine first. He said it felt like he was dying, that it hurt more than being shot. It was gross! They covered the wound with a moist towel and threw his arm into a pit. I vomited and nearly passed out. The once sandy white towel was now white.
This is a picture some by-stander took when Jim got shot:
Home: Today we set off to the trains the war over. We're done. We lost. I don't even care. I am coming home. Home seems like a distant place to me. I don't know what everyone is going to look like, Molly, the twins Susie and Maddy, and Thomas. Oh I am not even sure Thomas is alive. I haven't seen him since enlistment. I didn't get to say goodbye. And now, we are marching through an abolished town. Innocent people killed, memories torn away by us. Torn away from people like me, in a town like my family is in. Homes destroyed people killed. Home.
This war has changed my life. We lost, and maybe that was for a reason. Maybe African Americans are just like us. Life may run better now. When I saw my family they ran in through the parade and I picked up Molly and spun her around. We were together at last crying and hugging. Susie and Maddy being young when I left look so different to me now. But they both jump on top of me hugging and kissing me, giggling and screaming "Daddy! Daddy! You're home!" over and over. I asked Molly where Thomas was and she turned away. I turned and went to go get my bag. My throat stings I can't breath! I am choking and gasping for air. My breaths are shuttering. I fall to my knees and my heart beats faster and harder until it's beating through my ears. I cry out in pain and tears flood down my face. Others are around me know but I can't breath see or hear. All I can do is moan and cry and scream. It feels like my throat is full of blood, there is no where to breath. I clench my hands on the side of my head practically ripping off me ears and I stay there screaming as all the horrible memories of war flashing before me. Each and every casualty every cannon fire. Bullets fly by my cheeks. Everywhere around me snaps and cracks roar killing and harming. I throw my arms and kick and scream. I come back to reality and see my family huddled together scared. Horror permanently painted across Molly's face. An expression I have never seen before and then I pass out, permanently. Just like their horror.
Name: George L. Williams
Death Cause: Stroke
May he rest in peace along with his son Thomas Williams who died fighting in the war.
Civil War Canon And Limber In The Early Morning Mist. Photograph - Civil War Canon. Fine Art America. N.p., 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http://10.20.2.75:81/cgi/ block.cgi?URL=http://fineartamerica.com/featured/ civil-war-canon-and-limber-in-the-early-morning-mist-dick-wood.html&IP=10.20.94.108&CAT=EXART&USER=IP GROUP&CE=0>. Confederate Flag. Tumblr. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://37.media.tumblr.com/ tumblr_lngf314Igf1qjimibo1_500.jpg>. Confederate soldier: Enoch Hooper Cook, Jr., Pvt., 38th Alabama Infantry. Shmoop. Shoop University, 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. <http://www.shmoop.com/civil-war/ photo-confederate-soldier-1.html>. Courtesy Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa. Perhaps more than anything else, what shocked most observers was the scope of the destruction in Tulsa. Practically the entire African-American district, stretching for more than a mile from Archer Street to the section line, had been reduced to a wasteland of burned out buildings, empty lots, and blackened trees. Minority Perspective. Minority Perspective, 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.minorityperspective.co.uk/2011/10/02/ the-black-wall-street-how-white-supremacy-destroyed-a-successful-african-american-town/>. Library of Congress. "Playing Dominoes." Kidport. Kidport, 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.kidport.com/reflib/usahistory/civilwar/life.htm>. Solion, Diana. by Text-Enhance" style="background-color: transparent !important; border: none !important; display: inline-block !important; float: none !important; font-size: 13px !important; font-family: monospace !important; height: auto !important; margin: 0px !important; min-height: 0px !important; min-width: 0px !important; padding: 0px !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important;">dead people in war. US News. Us News and World Report, 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/07/03/ photos-battle-of-gettysburgs-150th-anniversary-relives-civil-war-carnage>.