April 4, 1864. My name is John Marshall , I live in Aurora, Indiana. I live with my Mother and 3 sisters. My father and 2 brothers are stationed at Portsmouth, fighting for the Union.

April 5th, 1864.

Day 1....I woke up today at about 5 a.m. to go feed the dogs. After that, I did a little hunting. Got myself 3 squirrels and a rabbit. When I came home, mamma already had breakfast ready for me. After I ate, mamma had me do a little schoolwork. Schoolwork is very boring to me and I don't much like doing it, luckily, I don't do it for very long. Later on, I had to pick some stuff in the fields which got really tiring. I had to feed the dogs again. Then I had to go feed the other animals on the farm as well. My friend came over from a couple of farms down to talk and to play around for about an hour. But then he had to leave when the military showed up. They took a bunch of the food mamma made and even one of our rifles. They said we were "helping out the war effort."

April 6th, 1864.

Day 2..."Battle of Plymouth Proves to be a Tragic One." That's what the newspaper heading said this morning father and that is the same reason I am writing to you now. I wanted to make sure you are safe. I am trying to make this short because mamma needs my help out in the fields again. Write soon please father.

April 7th, 1864.

Day 3...I decided I wanted to help the war effort so I asked mother if I could skip my chores today and she allowed it! So I went hunting and gave all of my animals I got to the Union camp nearby. I also gave them some clothes, sheets, some ammunition, and even an old revolver I own. The soldiers say I might have just saved a sick man's life.

April 8th, 1864.

Day 4...Father wrote back! He is alive! I must go show mother right away! She nearly falls to her knees when she hears the news and she reads it allowed. He cannot tell us where he is stationed because apparently it is a secret. He did however tell us he was in the Battle of Fort Fisher and that he lost many close friends. He says he is constantly marching so he cannot talk much.

April 9th, 1864.

Day 5...My family is just now hearing about something President Lincoln did back in 1863 called the Emancipation Proclamation. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation warning that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state that did not end its rebellion against the Union by January 1, 1863. I am very relieved to hear this as it could mean an end to all this fighting. I think Lincoln is going to be the man to end this war and end slavery itself.

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