Civil War Journal
by Kristina Lymperis
My name is Charles Smith and I am 19 years old. I live on a small plantation in Alabama and own a few slaves. My wife and I don’t believe in harsh punishment, but I still support the idea of slavery because it largely increases the efficiency of my plantation. I am kind enough to give my slaves nice living conditions, and I allow them to do whatever pleases them during the night, despite the fact that I make them pick cotton during the day. My wife and I decided to enroll me as a soldier in the Civil War so that I could protect our way of life and fight for the spread of slavery. I grew up living in a family that owned slaves and I have continued to follow this tradition in my own life. I think it is unfair that the Union wants to take away my way of life. I have developed a strong and respected relationship with my slaves and I hate to ruin that just because some Yankees stereotype slave owners as cruel people. I also have a wife and two young children. I think my children would benefit from growing up with slaves so this is why I am fighting to protect slavery. My children also enjoy assisting the slaves in reading and writing, and it would be cruel to deprive my children of their happiness. I will serve the Confederates in Company 26 as a private.
Charles: I am played out from all of that training. Let’s go grab a root.
Jon: Food here is scarce as hen’s teeth. We better skedaddle before everyone else fills up their breadbaskets before us.
Charles: I agree lets get going possum. We must eat to be fit as a fiddle.
Jon: It will cost a couple greenbacks to get extra food.
Charles: Yes but maybe we could pay extra for some goobers.
Jon: That food filled up my breadbasket. I must go quick step.
Charles: While you do that, I better go hit the sack. I'm whipped.
I am currently stationed in Richmond, Virginia. We are camping in a forest and are sleeping in uncomfortable tents. During the day, we spend most of our time training for battle with constant drills. We are forced to clean our uniforms, guns, and shoes because the general wants us to look presentable. The General is very strict and makes sure to keep us all in line. If we get into trouble, we could be severely punished and humiliated at camp. Punishments include wearing a barrel, and "bucking and gagging." Thankfully, I haven't gotten in trouble yet. I hope to see you soon!
From my tent, I can see the blue sky and green grass of the forest.
Question 1- Jeremiah, when you chose to stay with your mother instead of fight in the war, what caused you to make that choice?
A- Well my mother was sick and I couldn't bear to leave her at home with no one to take care of her. I hoped that my brother could take care of himself and decided that my mom needed me for company.
Question 2- Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or happy about?
A- I am proud of myself for making the decision to join the Union army and fight to stop slavery. I believe slavery is wrong and I am happy that I had enough courage to go against the beliefs of my family.
Question 3- Jeremiah, what is one thing about your life you wish had been different?
A- I wish my mother hadn't died. She was a big part of my life and it made me really sad to see her die and not be able to do anything about it.
Question 4- Jeremiah, what was a Confederate prison like?
A- Prison was terrible. We were given little food and treated terribly. They treated my wounds, but I was still suffering from loneliness. I haven't been able to search for my brother yet because of my imprisonment, but I hope that one day I shall find him.
When I wake up at camp in Virginia, I can see the many trees of the forest surrounding the entire camp. Behind the trees, I can see the sun slowly rising in the sky.
We have lived with slaves all our lives.
And we must not give that up now.
We must fight for tradition.
Fight for efficiency.
Black men are slaves.
The north can not change that.
So we must fight, fight, fight!
We can not lose this battle.
Our families at home are counting on us
They are waiting for our arrival.
But we will not return home until we have won.
So we must fight, fight, fight!
We can not lose this battle.
Slavery is our tradition and always will be.
To pass time at Confederate camp, I like to read books, make loaf bread, go to religious sessions, and tell stories with my fellow soldiers. We also enjoy singing songs at camp to express our feelings. I also attend theater productions put on by other soldiers to pass time as well. I try not to get too involved in gambling because it is technically against the rules, but I do enjoy playing cards and baseball for the fun of it. All of the food here is REVOLTING, but my favorite is the corn bread. Although it often gets hard and moldy, it is better than eating raw meat or hardtack with beetles and worms in it. Here is the recipe for Confederate cornbread...
1 TB butter
2 Cups white cornmeal (not self-rising)
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Cups milk
1/4 cup oil
This is a picture of some generals playing cards at camp.
At camp, I have seen many illnesses, injuries, and casualties. Illnesses include diarrhea, typhoid fever, lung inflammation, dysentery, and childhood diseases. 66.7% of Civil War soldiers are dying because of these diseases. People are often injured in battle and are treated by amputation. Amputation has caused 20,000 deaths. Since the doctors here are not very experienced, they basically give a sick or injured person medication and send them home.
The Civil War has ended and we, the Confederates, have lost. Now President Abraham Lincoln has abolished slavery, but it will still take some time for slavery to be completely gone. I am disgusted by the fact that we have lost. Slavery was an important part of my life and I am infuriated that it has to end. I have not yet freed my slaves at home yet, but I will surely be forced to in no time. My slaves will not be able to survive without me, I know it. This idea of Lincoln's is stupid and I can not believe that we have lost the war. Not only have I lost the war, I have lost my way of life. My wife and children are unharmed and they are over joyed that I am home again. I hope that they can still get on with life without slavery.
This is a picture of my house on my plantation in Alabama.
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