Civil War Journal

Dear Journal,

My name is Emily Ann O'Hara. I was born in Springfield, Illinois, but I live in Chicago, Illinois now. A couple weeks ago I volunteered as an on site nurse in the border state of Maryland. I had to support my family. We don't have much money on our family farm. Most of the time in the war we receive poor living conditions. On good days our quarters may be descent. I hope sometime I will be able to return home to my husband, George, and my daughter, Catherine.

Emily Ann O'Hara

A photograph of me in uniform.

Dear Journal,

Our Civil War Slang Skit

Kyle: Hello old possum I feel as fit as a fiddle.

Kelly :Glad to hear it! I turned into a bottle washer from a jailbird.

Kyle: Our meal tonight was finally hunkey dorey!

Kelly: Bully!

Kyle! Now lets go drink some bark juice!

Kelly: I can’t, I feel like I’ve been through the mill today.

Kyle: Well I better skedattle.

Kelly: Bye.

Emily Ann O'Hara

The sky was a gorgeous blue when I woke up this morning

Dear Journal,

In Maryland I don't have a permanent "house" like some of the soldiers. Since everyday consists of helping injured soldiers, performing surgeries, and setting aside the dead I don't have much time to think about building a shelter. Instead of a permanent house I sleep in a tent with 2 of the other nurses. I have never seen a nurse get punished, but I have heard of the soldiers getting punished with humiliating ideas from the Generals. Though I never get enough information on the topic.

Emily Ann O'Hara

Dear Journal,

My Interview with Jeremiah Handley

Q. Jeremiah, when you chose to stay with your mother what caused you to make this choice?

A. I knew in my gut that my mother was potentially deathly ill. I had to help her keep up the farm and take care of things after she finally passed on.

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

A. I am happy that I was brave enough to choose a different side than my brother in the Civil War and that I followed my heart.

Q. Jeremiah, what is one thing in your life that you wished you did differently?

A. I wish I didn't go south and west to divide the Confederates, overall it was a mistake.

Q. Jeremiah, how serious was your injury when you went south and west?

A. I got shot in the thigh. When I was in prison they were nice enough to heal me. If they didn't help me I would probably be dead.

Emily Ann O'Hara

When I wake I see an old wooden fence in front of a field.

Dear Journal,

Our Marching Song

March to the enemy

March to the battle

March to the Confederates in the South

OOOOOOOOH

March march march

March march march

March march march

March for us

March for you

March for the United States

OOOOOOOOH

March march march

March march march

March march march

March on the war

March on the road

March on the battle field

OOOOOOOOH

March march march

March march march

March march march

March in love

March in freedom

March in belief for the Union

Emily Ann O'Hara

Dear Journal,

Nurses in camp do many things for fun. My two favorite things to do are to sing around a fire or dance with others on a wood floor. Doing both these things makes everyone seem like a real family. My favorite food is Johnny Cakes (below). They are very popular and fairly tasty.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup water

- 1 1/2 cups ground yellow cornmeal

- 1/2 tsp. salt

- 1/2 cup milk

- 2 TB butter

- syrup, molasses, or preserves for topping

Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Combine the cornmeal, salt, boiled water, and milk in a medium bowl. Stir well. Melt the 2 TB butter in a skillet or a cast iron griddle over medium heat. Pour 1 TB of batter into the skillet, pancake style to cook. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until edges are lacy and lightly browned using a spatula to turn. Serve hot with molasses, maple syrup and butter.

Emily Ann O'Hara

One of our dances

Dear Journal,

The camp was often swarmed with men infected by illness or ghastly injuries. On drill days we had many people with illnesses. For example, measles, mumps, and chicken pox were a few illnesses we encountered. Most nurses think that you should draw out the illness by sweating or bleeding. But on battle days many of the injured came into our quarters. For example, bullet or cannon wounds in the hip, knee, and thigh joints are most common. Amputations were common as a treatment to these wounds. These were hard to watch and even hard to do.

Emily Ann O'Hara

The end of a brutal battle

Dear Journal,

I do not know how long I have been in the war. I know it was long because my daughter, Catherine, has grown so much since I last saw her. It took a very long time to travel home in a horse drawn cart. Our farm has been successful while I was gone. That night my family rejoiced. We told stories from when I left and sat around a fire. I realize my side, the Union won, but it almost doesn't matter. I'm most happy to be home with my family. It's what matters most in the world to me.

Emily Ann O'Hara

Our farm when I returned from war

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