John's Journal

Made by Jessie O'Byrn (Period 1)

Journal Entry #1   4/21/1861

Dear Journal,

My name is John Smith. My hometown is on a farm in California.  I live with my parents and my four brothers, Stephen, William, James, and Charles. At home, I work from morning to night on my family's farm.  I tend to the crops to make sure they are healthy and are ready to be harvested in time. My brothers and I are all Privates in the Union Army.  We believe that slavery is unfair to African Americans in the South, so we are going to fight with the Union for our beliefs.

-John Smith

Noodle tools Citation: Chris. "The Common Soldier of the Civil War Webcast." Civil War Voices. Civil
War Voices, 2014. Web. 1 May 2014. <

Civil War Slang Conversation:  May 28, 1861

Stephen: Today is the day we go into our first battle.

John: I am carrying an Arkansas toothpick and a pepper box. What about you?

Stephen: I have my possum right next to me, and I am carrying hornets.

John: I have butterflies in my bread basket.

Stephen: These people will be hard case to beat.


John: We are both very played out right now.

Stephen: I’m very hungry, do you have any goobers?

John: Why don’t we just grab a root?

Stephen: Sure, we were whipped pretty badly.

John: Yes we were.

Stephen: Our general has no horse sense.

John: Yes, he shouldn't have made us charge into the battlefield.

Stephen: Let’s go to sleep.

John: Yes, we need to be fit as fiddle for tomorrow’s battle.

Stephen: Goodnight.

John: Goodnight to you too.

-John Smith

Journal Entry #3: January 25, 1862

Dear Mother,

The soldier camp that I am currently in is strict, hard, and painful.  I wake up early in the morning, around 5:00 AM.  Soldiers receive five minutes to eat breakfast and arive at the campsite where we work for the rest of the day.  All day long is drills, drills, and more drills.  We get brief breaks from drills, but even during the breaks we are assigned chores to complete, such as guarding the camp or organizing things for battle.  At the end of the day, everybody is much more tired.  We receive lunch at noon and dinner is served at 7:00 PM.

Yours truly,


"Civil War Soldiers Fair to be held in Ridgefield." Hearst Media
Services, 2014. Web. 6 May 2014. <

5-6-14  Prompt: Morning

This is me eating breakfast with my fellow soldiers.

Avey, Tori. "Civil War Cooking: What the Union Soldiers Ate." Food. Public
Broadcasting Service, 1995. Web. 6 May 2014. <

Journal Entry =4:

1. Jeremiah, when you chose to stay at home and care for your mother, what caused you to make that choice?

Jeremiah: My mother was very sick.  I knew my brother was strong enough to go out and join the army on his own.  I knew I would be missing out on a great adventure, but my mother needs my care, and I need to be here for her.  

2. Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or

happy about?

Jeremiah: Something in my life that I am proud about is being able to care for my mother as much as possible before she died.  Even though she never recovered, I still loved being able to spend all of my time with her before I lost her.  After she died, I was proud to go and join the war to help fight for my beliefs.

Jeremiah, what is one thing about your life you wish had been different?

Jeremiah: I wish my mother would have been able to recover.  That would have made it easier to leave and join the war sooner.

Jeremiah, overall, what do you think aboiut your experience during the civil war?

Jeremiah: I am happy with what happened during the war.  I was able to spend lots of time with my mother after James left to fight in the war.  I also loved that after my mother died, I was able to go into the war and fight with the confederacy.  I felt proud do be able to help so many people, by helping my mother in her sickness and fighting for my country.

Journal Entry #6: September 2, 1862

Dear journal,

The soldier camp is terrible.  It's gross and boring.  There is nothing to do but play cards every once in a while and sometimes (but not often) we gather around the campfire to sing songs.  Other than that, it's mainly just preparing for battle or sitting around and watching the clouds.  The food here is horrible.  There are no edible fruits veggies, or meat.  Basically, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we eat discusting foods such as unsanitary meat with bugs in it, or other foods that had dirty leaves and worms in it.  My favorite food in camp is the hardtack, a treat that we receive once in a while. It's made up of flour, salt, water, and lard.  It doesn't have the strongest taste, or the best taste, but at least it doesn't have insects or dirt in it.  Because of our poor diet options, many soldiers get sick in camp and die before we even go into battle. 


John Smith

"Civil War Food." Civil War Civil War, 2013. Web. 13
May 2014. <>.

Journal Entry #5: Civil War Song

A victory on the battle field

Captured the land of the south

Men cheering, Hurrah! Hurrah!

One win closer to the end.


Can't wait to get back home

Home to my loved ones.

Home to LA

Verse 2:

I saw bullets flying through the air

Soldiers falling everywhere

People shouting "Move! Move!"

Striving to defeat the South


Can't wait to get back home

Home to my loved ones.

Home to LA

Verse 3:

Life at camp is not like at home

Home was peaceful and comfy

Here it's busy and hard

Hopefully this was ends soon.


Can't wait to get back home

Home to my loved ones.

Home to LA

Verse 4:

The hard battle has reached the end.

Great win against the Rebels

Marching back to our camp

To get ready for the next fight


Can't wait to get back home

Home to my loved ones.

Home to LA

Home Sweet Home!

Journal Entry #7: Photo Prompt/ Letter describing diseases witnessed.  December 27, 1862

Here is a picture of my friends and I playing cards in camp.

University of Kentucky Libraries. U of Kentucky Libraries, 2014. Web. 13 May
2014. <>.

Dear journal,

We just finished another battle with a great victory against the Confederates.  But, it was probably the  bloodiest battle of the war.  Many people came out of battle with wounds on their arms or legs.  Luckily, my brothers and I survived the battle with no injuries.  However, there is one friend I made in camp who got shot and died in battle.  We weren't that close, but I'm still going to miss him.  I witnessed a nurse trying to calm down a soldiers who had a wound on his thigh.  My brothers and i visited the hospital the other day, and it was amazing how many soldiers were wincing in pain or had their arms or legs covered with layers of bandages.   



Journal Entry #6 (cont.)Some soldiers and I at camp.  Some are wounded, some are not.

Heiser, John. "The Life of a Civil War Soldier." Learn NC. Learn NC, 2014. Web.
13 May 2014. <


Journal Entry #8:  June 30, 1863

Dear Mother,

Tomorrow starts the Battle of Gettysburg.  I really did not think becoming a volunteer in the war would be so bad.  I was wrong.  Every moment, I an dodging bullets, expecting one to hit me in the arm or leg and kill me.  My brothers and I all made it through every battle safely, but each of us has bruises or scratches from a good whip from the Rebels.  But, I won't be gone much longer.  My volunteering session ends on July 15th.  I will then return home on the 16th or 17th.  I'll see you then.



This is my home, which I will be returning to soon.

"Civil War: Stone House." Allen Matheson,
matthews-stone-house-1.html. Web. 14 May 2014. <


Comment Stream