Journal of a Random Weirdo
My name is Henry Hendrickson. I am a 32-year-old man from Richmond, Virginia serving for the Confederates in this growing war. I have a wife named Henrietta and two boys named Henrik and Henry II, and we own a successful plantation with plenty of slaves. We are all well fed and happy and my boys go to school, but I decided to serve in this war because I want to defend slavery, and also because I have nothing better to do with my life. I currently serve as a private, but I'm sure I will advance in ranks because of my amazing skill, leadership, and awesomeness.
P.S. If you are reading this, please excuse the abnormally excessive number of flower pictures in this journal. Because that kind of photography totally existed in my day.
This was a conversation I had with my fellow soldier Andrew today:
Thomas: Gosh, my bread basket is growling at me.
Andrew: All the people in Top Rail #1 have probably got it good. But here, everyone’s fit to be tied ’cause we don’t got any decent food!
Thomas: They must be as snug as a bug, and all we get are these sheet iron crackers when we go to grab a root.
Andrew: If any hornets come in when I’m this hungry, I’m sure as heck gonna skedaddle mighty fast. I can hardly stand I’m so famished.
Thomas: I went through the mill today, and we don’t even get treated better than those fresh fish for all our hard work!
Andrew: Those possums over in the fifth regiment are probably fit as a fiddle. They got all the sawbones to take care of ’em and are stuffed to the brim with food. It’s probably hunky-dorey being injured in these times.
Thomas: Those uppity first-class snobs are probably getting quick-step from all the food they’re eating.
Andrew: I bet these skunks of ours are probably all wallpapered in their tents. They got their joy juice full and are just about as happy as can be. Here, some good ol’ nokum stiff is as scarce as hen’s teeth.
Thomas: All them buggers just love those Sunday soldiers who do all the big work.
Andrew: I’m all played out, old possum. I need to grab a root otherwise I’ll be mouthin’ off and get myself whipped.
Thomas: I bet the officers would nab all my stuff if I had more than this Arkansas toothpick and my trusty old pepperbox.
Andrew: Aw, bully! Here comes the food!
Thomas: Quick, or the jailbirds and fresh fish’ll get everythin’ worth munchin’!
Andrew: Mighty right, my friend. I hope all of these Graybacks are just as hungry as us.
Thomas: Boy, if I had enough greenbacks, I’d be a chief cook and bottle washer if I was in charge of this place!
Andrew: Same here. Man--all that’s left are these goobers! That’s it. Let’s skedaddle.
I have but one word to describe this place - awful. I live in a cramped tent with several other soldiers. Because of my low rank, I get little food and clothes. Another complaint I have is that our day is filled with drills. We are forced to get up early in the morning and drill. Because of our soldiers' terrible cooperation and teamwork, we often go to sleep late at night after a whole day of drilling. Even worse, the officers inflict horrible punishments on anyone who disobeys orders. One such punishments was the barrel shirt. The offender had to wear a barrel with their arms and head sticking through hole in the barrel and walk around camp. However, the one most feared by us soldiers is the bucking and gagging. In this humiliating punishment, the soldier was gagged with a stick in his mouth and his hands tied in front of him. His knees were then forced between his arms, with more sticks in between to keep it tight so that the position was painful yet inescapable. Please send some food and clothes to me; I am suffering here.
A colorful flower I saw today in my few minutes of free time:
Citation for all pictures: MY AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS
Interview with boy named Jeremiah Handley:
Names: Rishi Narayanan, Christopher Varghese, Emma Sullivan, Thomas Huang
Interview question 1
Jeremiah, when you chose to stay and care for your mother, what caused you to make that choice?
JEREMIAH: "I thought the war would be a small conflict and and that it would end before I could get into any of the action. Besides, I valued my mother’s health. Who wouldn't?
Interview question 2
INTERVIEWER: Jeremiah, looking back, what is something in your life that you are proud or happy about?
JEREMIAH:“I am proud of my decision of helping runaway slaves escape.”
Interview question 3
INTERVIEWER: Jeremiah, what is one thing about your life you wish had been different?
JEREMIAH: “I wish that my mother had not gotten sick. I also wish I could have stayed together with my brother and fought alongside him.”
Interview question 4
INTERVIEWER: How did you and the Union troops, some of whom are African-
American, react to slaves they meet? How do the hungry troops treat Southern farms? Will
you ever know what happened to his brother?
JEREMIAH: I would let the slaves I meet on the way get by. I would convince (or try to convince) my commanding officers to let them either go free or join the army. We would take food from the Southern farms, but give them fair price. I probably will never know what happened to my brother…
Here's a flower I saw in the morning:
This is a little song my friends and I wrote today after drilling:
With gun and goober peas in hand,
We’ll end this war in our command.
I’ll fight for slavery, I’ll take my stand;
For Dixie, my sweet homeland.
If Union soldiers block the way
We’ll join the clash of blue and gray
We’ll never cower, we’ll never sway,
We’ll hold our ground and fire away.
From sea to ever shining sea
We’ll defeat you and watch you flee.
We’ll never let these slaves go free
You just can’t beat us - can’t you see?
When we wage our last attack
When we prevail and journey back,
I’ll get myself a little snack
Of goober peas and pepper jack!
Oh, Dixieland, don’t you fret
The Johnnys will win this war yet.
When Union shouts, we will reply
With Rebel yell and battle cry!
During these hard days, we soldiers have a few pastimes. I frequently play cards with the other men, and occasionally I write a letter to my family or wrestle for fun. However, the other men seem to go to extreme measures to win money, or more often than not, lose it in the process. Even worse, though, is the food rations here. What little food we have is sometimes even detrimental to our health. The best of the "food" here is probably iron sheets with fried lice. In other words, hard, moldy wheat crackers infested with worms and other disgusting critters. Yes, that's all there is in it. I can't wait until the war is over.
This is a flower I saw today while having fun playing cards with my friends:
For some reason, it seems that more of us soldiers are suffering and even dying from disease than actual battle injuries. Mosquitoes, lice, and dirty water are all causes of our illness. Dysentery is a common disease that is causing sever diarrhea among the soldiers; some have even died from dehydration because of it. The treatments of the doctors here are sometimes even worse than the diseases. They ranged from something like a belt for stomach pain to anything as ridiculous as cutting off a person's wrist to treat pneumonia. I don't know much about these things, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to do much to heal the soldiers...People are dying every day now; at times it is as often as one death every 11 minutes.
Anyway, we went to battle today, and this is a flower I saw while I was marching onto the battlefield:
This war is terrible. The horrors I've seen, the death, the pain - it's like hell. However, I only signed up for this for three months, so I will be going home tomorrow morning! I can't wait to see my wife and boys standing on our porch waving with our beautiful corn field in the background. #HOMESWEETHOME
Flower at home:
Thanks for reading the incredibly interesting journal of Henry Hendrickson!
-The Real Author :P