Life in the South during the Civil War .

My name is Samantha Elson , and I am 16 years old . I live in Charleston , South Carolina . The year is 1863 , and we are in the middle of our American Civil War . My father is somewhere stationed along the coast .

Journal entries : April 6th -  , 1863 .

Entry 1 : April 6th , 1863 .  

Not much has happened since the skirmish in Florida , here in Charleston we are just anticipating another battle against the Union . This morning I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. , and feed my younger brothers and sisters , I am the oldest of 6 . I have 2 brothers , 3 sisters , and then me . I had to go into our cellar to collect eggs from our makeshift chicken coops . Ever since the war started , mother said that we can't keep our chickens outside because they might get killed . After breakfast my siblings and I have to do chores , like picking up the house or washing clothes . Most days we need to tend to our garden , since the war started it's been harder to get fresh food . We are usually done with all of our morning chores by around 12:00 or 1:00 . After we are done with our chores we have some time to do fun things . My sisters usually play with dolls , while I read , and my brothers are off wrestling or playing board games . Our mother insists that even though a war is going on , we have to tend to our regular chores and routines . After we have some free time , I have to walk my siblings to school , they go to late school because they have things to tend to at our house . Because of the war I don't attend school now , I have to offer my mother help at home . After I make sure my brothers and sisters arrive at school , I start my walk home . When I arrive back home , me and my mother mend any clothes that need it . Soon after , we start to make dinner . By the time we are done , I have to go get my brothers and sisters from school to bring them home . We eat dinner , and then we help mother do all the dishes that were used to cook and eat dinner that night . After that I help my brothers and sisters do their homework . Then we all take baths , get ready for bed , and go to sleep . Today , me and my mother sewed some clothes and packaged some fresh and we sent this to our troops . They truly deserve some help from the women back home .

Entry 2 : April 7th , 1863 .

Dear Father ,

We all miss you dearly , and we wish that you could come home . Sorry I haven't written in a while , I'm very busy taking care of everything around the house . I don't quite know where you are , but I will just address this letter to the last place that I know you were , Florida . It's hard for me to write this letter , but I'm trying my hardest . Today there was a naval attack on our town , it's really hard right now . That's why I decided to write you today because it's nice to know that I have you to talk to sometimes . I know that you're trying hard to protect us . We heard about the skirmish that happened there in March , we hope and pray that you are alright. I want to know how the war is going from your side , please write back and tell me . The last big battle I have heard of was at Port Hudson . That battle lasted 48 days , it must've been hard and exhausting . "PORT HUDSON SIEGED , CONFEDERATES SURRENDER." , was what the newspaper read the morning after it happened . Please write soon . I love you.

Sincerely , Samantha .  

Entry 3 : April 8th , 1863 .

Today has been hard so far , our routine is completely different because of the attacks on our town yesterday . We're scared , and feeling very hopeless . Our town won't be the same after this . I didn't walk my brothers and sisters to school today because the school has been partially destroyed . We didn't get any sleep last night , especially me and mother . We spent our night trying to calm the younger ones . We're all exhausted . The children are still sleeping right now , it's 11 a.m. Mother is making breakfast for them , and I'm cleaning up the glass from shattered pictures and other fragile items . It's horrible seeing all of this mess leftover from the stupid war . I hate it . After cleaning it up and trying to salvage what was left of our stuff , I went to wake my brothers and sisters . They were groggy , but glad to know that they could wake up to a good breakfast from mother . The rest of my day consisted of keeping the young ones busy , they needed to be occupied from the horrible mess that was going on outside of our house . Keeping them busy is not a very easy task . When the children were fed dinner , and put to bed , mother and I went outside to see all the damage. We tried to help clean up , and help anyone who was hurt . We now have taken in a young , injured boy who was separated from his family . We are going to help him as much as we can .

Entry 4 : April 9th , 1863 .

"Dear Samantha ,

I'm sorry to tell you that I don't know who you are , or who your father is or was . I am stationed in Florida right now , where you addressed this letter to . I have asked other troops if you're their daughter , no one has came forward as your father yet . I wanted to send you this letter to let you know that wherever your father is ,  he will be safe . He will come home to you and your family . We are fighting hard out here for all of our families in the south , and we all wish to come home . I have to inform you that we have had many causalities , I wish for you that your father was not one of them . I will fight for you and your family ,  Samantha . If I find your father , I will be sure to write you , or have him write you . Bless you and your family .

Sincerely ,

John ."

This was the letter my family and I received today . We were not relieved . My mother started to cry , and we comforted her . I want her to feel okay , because we don't know for sure where father is right now . I appreciate John though , he has helped me . His letter was comforting . Maybe not for my family , but strangely for me it was . I hope John makes it home to his family after the war .

Entry 5 : April 10th , 1863 .

I didn't mention this before , but I don't have much more to write about so I'll mention it now , the emancipation proclamation was signed by President Lincoln in January . My mother and I felt indifferent about this . We don't own slaves , but we do support slavery .Slavery is good for our economy and we need it . Our economy will drop without slavery , it's necessary . I don't think we need the emancipation proclamation .

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