November 29, 1863
My name is Emma Florence. I am from Ripley, Ohio. I have a husband, William, who is serving in the Union Army. He is stationed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I live with my 3 children. The oldest is Helen, who is 16. Next is Charles, who is 14. The youngest is Lucy, who is 10.
Everyone hears about the Civil War. They hear of the brave, courageous soldiers who are fighting. Newspapers are filled with all of the different battles happening throughout the country. Rewards are posted all over towns for runaway slaves. What people don't hear about so much is the women who contribute to the War. Even though we are not on the battlefields, it can still be very scary. You worry about your loved one. You have to take care of your family all by yourself. Also, you have to take care of all of the work that the men would usually do. I have many things that I must take care of since William has gone to fight for the Union Army in the Civil War. My mornings are very busy, along with my afternoons. First thing I did this morning was tend the garden. In our garden, we grow corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and lettuce. Next, I took care of our livestock. We have two oxen, a dairy cow, chickens, and four horses. I am teaching Lucy how to milk the cow correctly. After the livestock was all taken care of, I went into town to mail out some items to my husband. I sent him some recent pictures of the family. The next thing I send to him will be a letter. When I got home, I began to cook lunch. After we all ate, I began to cook dinner. I prepared extra dinner in case some soldiers decided to stop for a meal. I like to help in the War as much as I can.
I also did a lot in the afternoon. The first thing I did in the afternoon was the laundry. Luckily, it wasn't too hot outside, so I was able to get much more laundry done. I often invite soldiers in for a meal, usually at dinner time. Tonight we had three soldiers who ate dinner with us. It is just one way of showing how we appreciate what they are doing. Another way I contribute to the Civil War is by helping slaves get to Canada. I live right by the Ohio River, which means I am very close to a Southern state, Kentucky. I bring any slave in to my home and hide them in a little room underneath the floor. Nobody knows that it is there. There is no sound when you walk over it, and there is a large rug over it to help hide it better. When I am done with everything for the day, I get ready for bed. When I am ready fro bed, I sit by the fireplace to try and sew as much of a Union Soldier's uniform as I can. This is very time consuming, so it takes a long time to get one done.
November 30, 1863
It is November 30. It is starting to get quite chilly here. Since my last letter we have helped 8 more slaves. We are still hiding them in the same place as usual. It is great to see how much they appreciate my help. There is still a lot going on here. The kids are helping a lot, though. A couple weeks ago, we celebrated Lucy's birthday. She had some of her friends come over to celebrate it. I am still keeping the post office open. There is a lot of mail going through now, more than normal. Everyone wants to know if they have received a letter from their loved one. There is news spreading around about The Battle of Chattanooga. I know that you were stationed there, unless you have moved. It is hard to know where all the troops are. It seems to take days before we hear new information, such as different battles that have took place. I hope that you are doing well. I hope the War ends very soon. We miss you very much and we love you.
December 1, 1863
Today I spent most of my time at our family's post office. I have to spend a lot of time there in order to keep up with all of the mail going trough it. Every two to three days, new mail arrives from all around the country. Everyday I am sending new mail out. Most of the mail includes letters and pictures. The rest is packages with clothes, blankets, etc. Even though the War is going on right now, we are still getting some normal mail. After I left the post office, I went to our church, where they are holding some of the wounded soldiers, to help in any way I could. I left Lucy to do the laundry. Charles was left to take care of the livestock and the garden. Helen was left to cook lunch and start on dinner. When I got home, I continued to cook dinner from where Helen left off. After dinner, I began to organize a fundraiser that some women and I are going to hold to help raise money to help support our troops. Before bed, I began to work on a flag for the Union Army.
December 2, 1863
I received a letter from William today.
I am very tired. We have marched so far in the past few days. We just recently left Chattanooga for Atlanta. The generals are saying that they are planning on destroying Atlanta. The sights of the battlefield are horrible. Surely this War will end soon. I am glad that the post office is still doing good. Also, it makes me, along with the other soldiers, very excited to hear that more slaves are becoming free. That is what we are fighting for after all. I love and miss you and the kids very much.
April 15, 1865
Our town has received some horrible news today! President Lincoln was in Ford's Theater, where he was assassinated. He was shot in the back of the head. They still have not found who has killed him, but I hope they do soon. Lincoln was one of the best Presidents our country has ever had! This is a horrible time for us. He was against slavery, which is something the abolitionist liked a lot about him. He also has been able to keep our country together, even during this War, where people are fighting against other family members.