William's Journal

Belongs to William Henry Smith

This is me at the beginning of the war.

April 21st, 1861

The Civil War has just started. My name is William Henry Smith. I am 15 years old, I used to live in Gettysburg with my mother, father, and my younger sister. When the war started, my father and I got called to fight. I am just a private, but my father is a general.  My mother and sister, Elizabeth Smith, write to us frequently, I miss seeing them. I serve on the Union side because I believe slavery is wrong and so does my family. This war is very intense, but I  am willing to fight through it. I just hope I can stay alive to see the end. I just found my girlfriend Mary Jane Williams, she is disguised as a boy, I am nervous, I am fighting with her and I don't want her to get hurt, lets hope for the best.

This is the Union flag after the first few battles.

July 21st, 1861

Nurse: How did you get the cut in your leg, someone must have been really fit to be tied to give you a cut that deep

Me: Some grayback greenhorn bugger skunk cut me with an arkansas toothpick

Nurse: Man your a hardcase, you got whipped pretty badly

Me: Well I got shot with a pepperbox, but you look fit as a fiddle

Nurse: Im horse sense, I try to avoid the hard knocks, I'm an assistant for the sawbones on the camp.

Me: that job must make you snug as a bug, while everyone else is skedaddling along, taking hornets to the head.

Nurse: I don’t know about you but i’m, played out, lets go grab some joy juice and grab a root

Me: that sounds hunky dorey, as I was coming in here I saw a chef cook and bottle washer that was tight

Nurse: Well now you can come eat with me in top rail #1 instead of eating with the sunday soldiers.

Me: Lets go possum, my bread basket is rumbling!

August 1st, 1861

Dear Mother,

             How are you? I am doing well. Our camp is set up in the middle of the woods, it is very hard to find our way around but the generals seem to find it very easy to navigate through these woods. We are all set up in our companies, 2 privates to a tent. In the middle of the circle of tents are logs that we sit on and eat breakfast. Every morning we have to wake up from the sound of a trumpet. I have to get ready everyday, where a newly washed uniform and my hair parted. After I get read, I run outside and do multiple drills. They are very difficult, and our new general is very picky. We all have a hard time with the drill, but we get used to it because we do it every morning. Then, after the drills, half of the people stand outside the camp to protect it from the rebs, and the other half do chores. We have to clean the utensils, make the food, clean our tents and wash our clothes. This makes everyone very tired after they are done. Of course, a lot of us mess up. When we do our chores wrong or do something wrong during a drill, we have to do punishments. We have to march around with logs. If we steal something, we have ton shave our heads and wear a sign that says thief, and there are more worse ones but I do not wish to say them for if Elizabeth is reading this, it would not be good for a 13 year old girl to know these things. After that, if the fighting starts, some people go and some stay at the camp, and when we stay at the camp, we could play cards or write letters to home like I am to you. Wish us luck on the war, I miss you both dearly. Please, write back soon.


                               With lots of love,

                                                 William Henry Smith,

                                            Beloved son, and brave soldier

This is the sunrise I see every morning from our camp.

August 21st, 1861

Interview question 1

Jeremiah, when you chose to join the Union, what caused you to make that choice?

Even though slavery was apart of my life I believed it was still wrong and everyone is equal, so I fought for thee Union.

Interview question 2

Jeremiah, looking back what is something in your life that you are proud or happy about?

Staying with my mom and supporting her in her time of sickness, even though I really wanted to go with my brother James, I knew that I had to stay here and help my mother.

Interview question 3

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

I wish my brother stayed with me, of course the army could need all the help it can get, but I wish I could see him again.

Interview question 4 (Look back at the italicized section at your "ending")

Jeremiah,How do you and the Union troops, some of whom are African-American, react to slaves they meet? How do the hungry troops treat Southern farms? Will Jeremiah ever know what happened to his brother?

We help the African Americans. They are equal to us, we don’t treat them as if they were any different from us. In return, they help us in the war. We take advantage of the farms, and use them to grow food for everyone. It is not likely that I will find out what happened to my brother because we chose to be on opposing sides, so I may never see him again. I still hope that he is safe though.

Ask a question that makes Jeremiah talk about one of the issues broughtup at the end of the story you chose to create.

Do you plan to reenlist? Why?

This is the baseball we used when we played baseball at camp.

August 28th 1861

Today most of my fellow soldiers have gone to fight the Battle of Hatteras Inlet Batteries. I am stuck here in camp. Not that I like to fight and almost die, but camp life is the worst. We don't get many rations and when we do we get hardtack (that has a nickname "teeth dullers") or baled hay, which had roots and leaves. Most of our food had creatures like worms and bugs in it, but we barely get any food so we take what we get. While we are waiting for the troops to come back, when we are not doing drills, we play baseball and cards. Baseball is a really fun game, we get to hit balls of extra fabrics and run around a square. I would love to write more about this but I have to do more drills now, bye.

The Escape to Freedom

Chorus: We’ve been marching marching marching

for ever so long

we never thought it end

until this day came along

its is April 16th, 1865

The day was so long I felt I had to flee

Then in the quiet of the night

the sky suddenly lit up

and it gave me a warning

That this bloody affair would soon be



I never thought Id make but I guess i did

I was freeeee

Yes so freeeee it so good

Because I was freeeee


When I saw home I my I felt something that I haven't felt in such a long time

I ran up and huge my sister

she screamed and yelped with joy

We have been so happy to see each other

They never thought that I would come back alive!


I love that the war is over,

although I feel kind of glum

for the parents who don't have their child

so glad this war is finally over

I love the freedom I feel aliveeeeeeee

This is a picture of the Battle of Kessler's Cross Lanes

August 30 1861

Today has been probably the saddest day of my life so far. My buddy came back from the war dead, my tent mate died from diarrhea, and my old slave, who now fought with me, died from getting his toe get cut off. Of course, this is no surprise. Most people die from sickness and amputations rather than gun fire. I was waiting in the hospital to talk to the nurse who tried to save my best buddy, but sadly could not. I was talking to the nurse and I asked why so many people die all the time. She took time and explained everything to me. The doctors have to cut of parts that they can't fix. Most people die from diarrhea and fever because we do not know how to cure them. This sickness is getting out of hand, I wonder how we cure them?

This is a picture of my house back in Gettysburg

September 30 1861

Dear Elizabeth,

I haven't talked to you in a while. It breaks my heart how old and mature you've gotten without your big brothers help. I turned 16 a few days ago, and I wish I was with you to celebrate this day, instead of doing drills and walking through dangerous fog to fight. Of course, we won't be away for much longer, for I am coming home my dear. My war time is up, although I've only lasted 3 months, it is done and I shall come home. Father is choosing to reenlist, as an important general to this war, he has to stay, and he wanted me to come back and take care of you and Mother. I have finished packing, I will be home in a few days. Elizabeth, I only wrote to you this time because I want you to tell Mother that Father is not coming home, it is better if she hears it from her daughter than from a letter. Well, aside from that, when I reach home, I will teach you all the new games I learned like baseball (but we have to keep it a secret), and you, Mary Jane and I can do all these fun things together! I miss you dearly and I am so happy to be coming home.  

Works Cited

“Antietam Sunrise.” John Banks’ Civil War Blog. N.p., 7 May 2011. Web. 6 May 2014. <http://john-banks.blogspot.com/2011/05/antietam-sunrise.html>.

“Civil War Union Flag.” American Civil War Story. AmericanCivilWarStory.com, 2012. Web. 6 May 2014. <http://www.americancivilwarstory.com/civil-war-union-flag.html>.

“Gratz during the Civil War – Rebecca Alspach Buffington House.” Civil War Blog. N.p., 2013. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://civilwar.gratzpa.org/2011/09/gratz-during-the-civil-war-rebecca-alspach-buffington-house/>.

“List of Civil War Battles.” American Civil War History. AmericanCivilWarStory.com, 2014. Web. 12 May 2014. <http://www.americancivilwarstory.com/list-of-civil-war-battles.html>.

“News: Play Ball! Again!----First Annual 19th Century Baseball Tournament in Gettyburg.” Civil War Librarian. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. <http://civilwarlibrarian.blogspot.com/2010/07/news-play-ball-again-first-annual-19th.html>.

“William H. Burgwyn Diary (August 1862-March 1863).” North Carolina Civil War 150. N.p., 26 Aug. 2011. Web. 5 May 2014. <http://civilwar150nc.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/william-h-burgwyn-diary-august-1862-march-1863/>.

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