Belongs to: Kieth Hayes
May 24th, 1861
My name is Keith Hayes, I'm 21, and I come from a large family residing in Little Rock, South Carolina. I'm the third child of seven. Got one older brother, two older sisters and two younger brothers with another little sister. I worked on a farm with my family before joining the Confederate army. When we first succeeded and the war was declared, my father and many others had urged my brothers and I to join the army and fight. My brothers and I all decided to join the war and fight for the cause we believed in. But the problem was, we didn't all believe in the same cause. My older brother, John, decided he wanted to join the Union. Of course, my father didn't approve and he kicked my brother out of the house faster than a bullet out of a fired rifle. Now he's up north fighting for the Union, and I rue the day where I end up fighting my very own brother. I can only pray that doesn't happen. The war started only a mere few weeks ago, but I'm already missing home. I think about my wife and our expecting child often, and I can't wait until I can finally go home to them and meet my baby... That is, if I live through the war. We haven't gotten in any major conflicts with the Union yet, only a few skirmishes here and there. We've spent the last few days mainly training and traveling up North. I can only hope this war will be short and the Union will just let us Rebels go our own way and succeed. Though, I have an odd feeling this war is going to be one bloody affair.
- Keith Hayes
Journal Entry #2:
Edwin: Hey Possum!
Edwin: Wanna glass of Joy Joyce? I got some extra.
Kelly: Oh yeah, I could really use a glass after all those hornets I was dodging today.
Edwin: We sure got hard knocked in that battle today.
Kelly: I must agree, we got whipped. Must've been because of all of those fresh fish in our regiment.
Edwin: They sure weren’t toeing the mark.
Kelly: All of them new recruits are just Sunday soldiers. Don’t have an idea what they’re doing.
Edwin: We need more first class buggers out there on the field, less of them parlor soldiers.
Kelly: They sure do get me fit to be tied. I can only hope that they work harder and get themselves fit as a fiddle, or else they’re bound to get the Arkansas toothpick to the heart.
Edwin: This has been a hard case for all of us. Well I gotta go grab a root and fill my bread basket.
Kelly: See you later pal.
Journal Entry #3
I know I haven't written to you in some time. But I'm doing well, but it has been a long past few months. My regiment and I are currently residing in a camp in the southern half of Virginia somewhere in the woods. Its okay here, we've got tents set up all along the trees with a few campfires here and there. Nothing fancy, but it works well enough. Shifts paroling and guarding the camp perimeter are divided up among the soldiers, and it was my shift yesterday. Had to stay up all night paroling the outskirts of the camp, and by the end of it I was exhausted. Still couldn't go to sleep though because as soon as my shift ended, it was right into drills and training for me. Our instructor works us like horses and makes us do drill after drill after drill. Teaching us how to kill. Sunrise to sundown, training for the battles to come. Although the training is brutal and restless, it sure has paid off. Our regiment of what used to be Sunday soldiers is slowly transforming into a well organized group of soldiers. We still have a long way to go though, but we'll just keep improving as everyday passes. But as for the limited time I'm not doing drills, I typically spend it either eating, sleeping or doing one of my many chores. Chores here on the camp range from cleaning the tents, preparing the small rations of food for the soldiers, all the way to just feeding and taking care of the horses. Sometimes I don't want to do my chores, But it know to not skip them as the punishments here at the camp for not doing your chores are brutal and humiliating, so I'd rather just do my chores and save myself the embarrassment. Its rare that I actually have time to sit down, relax and just have a good old card game, but when I do have that kind of time, I savor every second of it., I best be on my way now. getting late. I miss you, and I promise I'll be home when the war ends. I know you're worried for me, and I wanna be strong and say I've got this. That you shouldn't worry. That I'm not scared. But I'm gonna be truthful here. I am scared. Very scared. But I'll fight through this to the very end. Remember that I'm fighting for you, my wife, and my son.
Sincerely Your Son,
Journal Entry #4:
Read pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 14
Interview Question 1:
Jeremiah, when you chose to leave your Mother behind and leave with your Brother to join the army, what caused you to make that decision?
Well, I really wanted to stay with my Mother and take care for her, but at the same time, I also wanted to go and join the army to fight for what I believed in. I believe that leaving my Mother and fighting in the war was the right choice to make because even though I want to take care of my Mother and I am worried for her well being, I also know that by joining the army I would be taking care of her in a different extent. By joining the war, I would be fighting for the protection of our rights and the way we, the Southerners, choose to live. Also, I knew that there were a few family friends that would take care of her and look after her while I was away, so I knew she was in good hands and I could join the army and fight for our rights without having to worry about her health.
Interview Question 2:
Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or happy about?
I am proud that I joined the Confederate army and fought for my way of living and what I believe in. I am proud of this because I believe it is important to stand up for what you want and to never let other people try and tell you what to do. I am also proud I joined the army because unlike quite a few people who were too scared to join the army, I was willing to fight for my rights myself and not just stand back and let other people do it for me.
Interview Question 3:
Jeremiah, what is one thing about your life you wish had been different?
I wish that the Northerners would have never gotten involved in slavery and trying to forbid it. If the North had just let us Southerners do our thing and use slaves for the harvesting of cotton and such, we never would have succeeded and the whole war never would have happened. If the war never happened, I wouldn’t have had to have left my Mother and go fight in the war for my rights. But because the Northerners had to just interfere with the slaves down South, this whole war did happen and I just wish that it never had for I could’ve just stayed at home taking care of my Mother and the farm lands.
Interview Question 4:
Jeremiah, did you realize the dangers of lying about your age, and then sneaking off to join the troops with your Brother?
Yes, I did know that there were many dangers of what I did. I knew that if I was caught for lying about my age that I would be kicked out of the army and potentially sent to jail. I knew there were risks, but I believe that taking those risks is what I needed to do if I wanted to fight for my rights, and fight alongside my Brother while doing that. Sure, I could have gotten on the train, but I had already left my Mother, and the least I would want to do would be to leave my Brother as well and be alone. I would lose all courage to fight if I was alone. So I knew that I had to sneak off and fight with my Brother so I could be a true soldier and fight at my full potential.
Journal Entry #5:
We the Soldiers
We left our homes to fight with the foe
To save the South, although,
There is nothing we could possible do
To save this land from misery and woe
We march in peril and danger,
With bullet shells raining down, from the guns of a stranger
We fight in columns, in formations like waves
Only to end up in lone and shallow Graves
We soldiers are courageous and strong
And fight for what we believe is the right and the wrong
We soldiers are the men who are brave
But end up as forgotten men in an unknown grave
We are the men who fight for our belie
Only to end up in sorrow and grief
We walk miles in gray and tattered clothes
For as long as who knows or until our toes froze
We march as the guns bang and the cannons boom
Sit around the the campfire while we gloom
We ration our wheat and rye
But we argue on exactly why
But on one thing we never seem to disagree
We are the soldiers who live and die to stay free
Journal entry #6
Letter To Friend/Family member
Dear Mary (My Wife),
Now that the winter moths are approaching, and the battles are coming to an end for the season I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands. But don't worry, unlike many of the soldiers who spend their time drinking, getting into mischief, or even as going as far as gambling on the stupidest of things, like bug races, I spend my free time mainly playing a friendly game of cards. I've gotten quite good at it actually. Rarely lose. Be ready for me to beat you when I get back home. I spend the rest of my free time sleeping, or trying to stomach the awful food they try to feed us. The rations here are quite bad. Most of the bread is so hard that I can't chew it without soaking it in water, and it isn't rare to find a few maggots, or 20, in your bread. We also get this weird dried out vegetable cake that I think contains more leaves than it does vegetables. But the worst has to be the meat, that is so salty, that I can't even dare put it in my mouth without soaking it in water for a few hours to make it bearable to consume. My favorite food here at the camp has to be hardtack because the taste is at least bearable, but its not nearly as good as you're home cooking. You make it by mixing flour, water and salt and then baking it into a hard bread and cutting it into 3' by 3' squares. Fairly simple. But onto a more serious point, I must admit, this war has been hard on me, and though I try to distance myself from the other soldiers as much as I can, for it won't hurt me too much to watch them die. But its hard not not to become partial to some of these guys. It's hard enough watching a fellow soldier die, even harder to watch a friend die. But I'm working through this. I have so much more to tell you, but I'm working the perimeter of the camp tonight and I can't be late. Take care of our son for me. I'm fighting through everyday, and counting down the days till' I return home. I'll be home soon, I promise. This war can't last forever.
Journal entry # 7:
January 9th 1863:
I have seen many illnesses break out in the past few months I've been here. Men plagued by diseases from unknown causes being rushed into the hospital tents isn't a rare occurrence. In fact, a few weeks ago I myself had to spend a few nights in the hospital tent. I had came down with the worst fever I've ever had. The doc told me its a common occurrence among the soldiers, and it goes by the name of Thyroid fever. I'm better now though, fully recovered. But not all men are so lucky to recover as fast and as easily as I did. Many men actually die when they come down with this fever. But I was lucky enough to recover and to live another day. Many men are also dying from lead poisoning because they didn't get their limb amputated fast enough and the lead poisoning from the bullet spread. Other men are dying because they bleed to death when being amputated. It seems as though everyone has something wrong with them. More men die from the diseases spreading around camp than in the actual battles. There's also a terrible outbreak of diarrhea in the camp. Not particularly deadly, but definitely not enjoyable. I suppose the dirty drinking water we drink is probably the cause of this outbreak of diarrhea. And lastly may I add another common reason many men are dying in this camp is from the pure lack of nutrition. Food is very scarce, the rations small. They give us just enough to survive. Not even actually. Many men are dying from starvation in the cam. I myself am very hungry indeed, and I can only wish we will receive more rations sometime very soon. And may I add, rations that haven't gone rotten this time. I doubt that will happen, but a man can dream right?
Journal entry #8: Going Home
May 28th, 1865
I just arrived back home a few days ago. I must say, I'm happy to be back, but its a bitter sweet return. Everyday I was away I dreamed about coming home, but at the same time, I was apprehensive about returning home. I was worried about what might have happened to my family while I was away, and how my brothers were fairing in the other regiments. I remember my Father had said that my older brother John was never allowed to return home, as he was a disgrace to our family for joining the Northerners and fighting for the Union. But upon my return, I learned that my brother didn't have to worry about returning home, as a few weeks prior to my return, my Mother had received a letter that had said he was presumed to have died in battle. They never found his body, but he never returned to his regiment or home, so it is safe to say he died in battle. I miss him much, as he was good man, and an even better brother. On a better note though, my two younger brothers also somehow managed to survive the war. My brother Henry returned without a scratch, though, my youngest brother Adam had gotten hit in the left forearm with a bullet and he had to have his arm amputated. At least he isn't left handed. Also, I'm happy to add that my son Caleb was also born while I was away and he is in very good health. He's already talking up a storm and about to turn three years of age soon. I have high expectations for this boy and I bet he will grow into a fine young man. Overall, things are relatively good. I'm glad there is regular food on the table once again, and that I no longer have to live in fear. Although I am still quite irate about the outcome of the war and the Confederates' loss, I am just grateful to finally be home again and for all this to be over. I will never forget those few years I spent fighting in the war. I have grown a lot as a man and have endured hardships that have made me a stronger person. Though this war has also scarred me. I often have nightmares of where I'm back in battle, watching over my fellow soldiers dying right before my eyes. Where I can't do anything to help them. I just have to watch them scream in agony until they breathe their final breath. I don't think I'll ever be able to explain exactly what I've seen and been through, or ever get passed it. All I know, is that war is horrible thing, and I never wanna go back.
- Kieth Hayes
Photo Prompts and Citations:
For Color Photo Prompt:
Forest. Orange County Federation of Sportsman's Club. Orange County Federation
of Sportsmen's Clubs, n.d. Web. 7 May 2014. <http://www.ocfsc.org/site/
For Morning Photo Prompt:
"Camp Near Wolf Run Shoals, Va. February, 1863." Daily Observations from the
Civil War. Wordpress, 14 July 2013. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://dotcw.com/
For Fun Photo Prompt:
"Soldiers Playing Cards." Old Pictures. Old-Picture, n.d. Web. 14 May 2014.
For Battle Photo Prompt:
"Battle During the Civil War." Image 3D. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2014.
My hometown of Little Rock, South Carolina. I lived in the more rural area of town on a farm, but this is the heart and center of the town. I'm finally able to return back now that the war has come to an end. Can't wait to be home. I hope the small town fared well while I was away.
For Home Photo Prompt:
Town From the 1860's. The American Civil War. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2014.
- For Soldier Selfie:
Confederate Soldier. Historic Columbus Indiana. Historic Columbus Indiana, n.d.
Web. 1 May 2014. <http://www.historiccolumbusindiana.org/crump/