Civil War Journal

By: Julia Stegvik

Journal entry 1, May 10, 1863: All we know is that we are preparing to go into battle. News of any strategy has yet to be delivered. My first week in this regiment has gone by without incident. I met a promising young man today that seems to have some what of an education. His name is William. We talked for quite a while and he claims that he is from Dixon, Illinois, the town next to Dayton. His wife and mine were in a book club together and our kids were classmates. Apart from my new acquaintance, I was appointed the blacksmith  of our camp. You could say the only reason was because that is my vocation is a blacksmith, but it was actually how I met William. He was attempting to repair the trigger on his rifle with had managed to snap off. I lent him a hand, since it was a simple task and one of our generals saw me repair it with ease. I know I should be relieved that there has been no action yet, but I am getting quite bored muddling around camp and I wish see my 13 year old and 10 children.

Journal 2, Alex: Hey Possum how are you doing?

Julia: Fit as a fiddle!! Man these hornets are playing me out though.

Alex: Yeah, we’re gettin whipped. My breadbasket is grumblin.I’ve been put through the mill!

Julia: These graybacks be bluffin

Alex: We need some fresh fish. All of our men have been played out.

Julia : Yeah, some of them even have quick step. Our sawbones are workin double.

Alex : Some of the greenhorns are having too much joy juice. Look at them, they are so tight.

Julia: Yeah, they are only doing this for some greenback.

Alex: Better skedaddle, I best be toeing the mark

Julia: Hunkey dorey!! Go get top rail!!

 

  

Playing baseball that were used to entertain ourselves. We fought boredom more than the enemy.

Dear Elizabeth,

I have not dreaded camp but now I do. You know I have always been very meticulous with my schedules, so you can imagine that I do not mind the tight schedule that we must obey, but it is the drills and punishments that are ever so irksome. The day starts out with the trumpet call at dawn waking up every soldier. We are to feed ourselves with the rations we get and be ready by sunrise. Then, we drill. From when the sun is on the horizon in the east till it is low in the west. We do not stop for meals, in fear that we will run out of food. We are incredibly low on supplies, except for ammunition; we have an abundance of ammunition. The drills we do are treacherous. How I wish that I was with you and the children. I love you so much.

Best wishes, John

Day 3: Madeline Lunn, Julia Stegvik and Luke Goodwin.

We read pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12

Interviewer: Jeremiah, what made you join the army instead of take care of your mother?

Jeremiah:  I wanted to see the world and stay with my brother.

Interviewer: Looking back at your life what are you proud about?

Jeremiah: Looking back,    I was very proud when I saved my brother's life, for I knew my mother would be proud. It all happened when I wandered onto the battle field, lifelessly lying there. He had a bullet in his arm and I knew he would die of lead poisoning. I grabbed and cut off his arm.

Interviewer: What is one thing that you wish had been different in you life.

Jeremiah: I would have wished that war never happens. After I saved my brother he was kicked out of the army because he could not function properly or shoot a gun.

Jeremiah: I knew that they would not let me fight because I am so young.

Interviewer: What happend to your mentally after the war?

Jeremiah: I was mentally scared for the most part. I had nightmares from the gruesome deaths I saw and I could not stand all of the blood and carnage. I was never the same.

Interviewer: Thank you for your opinion.

Trumpet calls woke up all of the soldiers in camp. A trumpet is often a familiar sound in the morning.

Journal Entry 5:

We are  marching one by one, Hurrah! Hurrah!

We are marching one by one Hurrah! Hurrah!

Chorus:

We are marching one by one, we are going to kill someone and we all go marching down to the war to win back the shore.

We are  marching two by two, Hurrah! Hurrah!

We are marching two by two, Hurrah! Hurrah!

Chorus:

We are marching two by two we are going to beat you and we all go marching down to the war to win back the shore.

(back to chorus)

First attack at the battle of Resaca

Journal entry 6:

Dear Elizabeth,

Yet another update on camp. I truly believe that we will never see battle. Boredom has conquered us all and there is absolute nothing to engage ourselves in. I never thought it would have to come to this but William and I are now betting on lice races. I am proud to say that my louse has won nearly every race. One thing that I am not willing to publicly admit is that I have been contacting a fellow from the confederate base. I have acquired many new possessions from him including the stationary I am contacting you with. Stationary is one of the many things that are scarce in the camp. Food is also. We are now eating worm infested hard tack and salted beef. Even though the food is revolting, some camps are starving. I hope the kids are doing well, I love you.

                                                        Best wishes,

                                                                                 John

Playing cards was a popular way to have fun.  Interesting, fun conversations were often started over a good game of cards.

Journal entry 7:

800 men have died in our camp. Only two were from bullets. Disease rages through camp and I have been infected. Luckily, it is only a minor fever but I am not very comfortable. I should not complain though. I can hear men moaning and vomiting from the symptoms of their disease. The most common one is diarrhea. Since I am one the the healthier men, I am recruited to build latrines; which are only two feet away from our water supply. 

Journal Entry 8:

Dear Elizabeth,

I am coming home. I feel overwhelmed with emotion. I cannot describe the scenes that have played out before me. My term is over and only 245 of our 800 men remain. I have watched my friends die beside me in a hail of gun fire and fell asleep to the screams of my comrades. I cannot wait to see your and our children. I feel I have missed a part of their lives. I have seen men sawed in half by canisters and limbs sawed off and rotting in the sun. I have starved, drilled until I have passed out and nearly died. I wish to never experience the horrors of war and I would never wish it upon even my worst enemy. How I dream to be home. How could such a war tear apart this counrty?

I love you,

                         John

My family's house. Located in Dayton, Illinois.


"America's Pastime at Fort Pulaski." National Park Service. U.S. Department of
Interior, n.d. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/
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<http://www.thousandislandslife.com/BackIssues/Archive/tabid/393/articleType/
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