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Civil War Memories from Both Sides of the Fence Posts

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BC: This book of journal entries has been collected by people that participated in some way during the Civil War. It is important to hold on to the memories of our ancestors. Our memories help us to keep people alive even after they are gone. From the soldier to the mother to the wife to the child, these memories will live on forever.

FC: The War from Both Sides of the Fence Posts

1: These posts of letters and journals were compiled from soldiers, family members of soldiers, and slaves during the time of the Civil War. Through these letters one will be able to grasp how people of this era struggled, triumphed, and dealt with adversities of war.

2: May 23, 1863 My name is Zion Jazaline Thompson. I am seventeen years old. My birthday is June 7. I never had a real birthday party since my father died. We have this war that's going on, and as crazy as this sounds, I am not scared at all. I believe that everyone has his or her time to go. I believe that my time is going to come one day, so there is no need to be scared because even angels can learn to fly. | May 27,1863 Today means that it is four days closer to my birthday. I am really dreading i though. I an remember when my daddy was alive. We used to have the best of times. I really do miss him, and I cannot wait until my Lord Jesus cames and takes me home to be with him. My daddy died January 13. It has only been a few months, yet my wound is slowly healing. My father died during the war. He was shot in the chest. When I sit and think about it, it makes me so confused. I lost my daddy.

3: May 31, 1863 My mother is now a nurse for soldiers during this war. I don't want her to do this since I have already lost one parent. My mom says that since Daddy is gone, she has to work to support us. I really hate this war and the effects that it has had on my family. I guess it must be necessary or it wouldn't be occurring. I just wonder if it will ever end. | June 3, 1863 Today was the worst day of my life. I thought that the day that my daddy died would be the hardest day. Now, I see that isn't the only hard day. My mother killed herself today. She couldn't take all of the stress that has been left since Daddy died. I don't know what to do now. I will have to make arrangements for her funeral. I loved my mother dearly. I promised myself today that I will do every single thing that I can to let my little brothers and sisters know that they were both good people.

4: June 7, 1863 Today is my birthday. I knew for some reason that this day would not be the same as all the other birthdays that I have had. Yesterday, someone set my house on fire. I have nowhere to go. I will have to find some means to support us all. I just hope that The Lord blesses me and helps me make the right decisions that will be safe for my family until I get us back on our feet. I am eighteen now. I am taking full responsibility.

5: July 21, 1861 My beautiful Carlee, Today was the big day. I fought for the first time. The regiment that I am a part of traveled to Manassas, Virginia. I really wanted to fight down in South Carolina instead. I fought near the front line and there was an unbelievable amount of dead bodies. It was a very scary sight to see my brothers and friends dead. We beat the Yanks so all of my soldiers died for a good cause. I am very tired from the fight so I must catch up on my sleep. John

6: July 22, 1861 My Love, Last night was crazy. The nets that were given to keep bugs away are useless. I woke up with bites everywhere. Not a pretty sight. I pray for you and hope you are doing well. The general is planning a charge to the North. We have a lot of fight and willpower, so we will show those Yanks. Take care of yourself and remember that I love you and think about you constantly. I cannot wait to come home. Fighting this war is not going like I thought it would. Just remember, I love you! John July 10,1862 It is getting so crazy here in the camp. People are hearing that the Yanks are going to continue to invade us. We haven't been winning many of our battles and our morale is down. We all just want to go home, and we all want an end to this battle. My heart aches because I miss you so much. I feel like my days are numbered. I hope that I get home before this letter does. John

7: August 29, 1862 My Dearest Carlee, Not so good news this time, love. We were invaded yesterday, and the outcome is not very good. I was shot in my right thigh and doctors had to amputate my leg. I am in the hospital, and all I can think about is getting in touch with you some way. Just writing to you makes my heart a little easier. I will die if they cannot cure the infection that is in my leg. I love you, and one way or the other I am coming home soon. Yours forever, John

8: It is March 6, 1863. The south's Confederate soldiers have just issued a statement saying any Union soldiers that are slaves or the general over the regiment will be killed by lynching if caught. This really terrifies me because I am one of those this statement will affect because I am a slave fighting for the Union. My name is Joe Henry, a runaway slave looking for freedom. I am fighting so my children won't have to sneak and learn how to read and write like I had to do. I want better for them. They are my life. | It is now March 15, 1863. It has been two weeks since I joined this battle for my freedom. We haven't seen new uniforms, and the shoes that were given to blacks don't even have the toes covered. I have seen dead body after dead boy from both the North and South. I know that I am fighting for a cause, but with all of this fighting I sometimes lose focus. I wonder what will happen next?

9: March 16, 1863 - Today we fought another battle. Most of us had the pride of tigers as we fought for our people, bu not for the divided states. That's what the slaves are out here for. We shot our guns with hatred toward the enemy. I thought to myself and said that this is payback for all people that suffered at the hands of beasts. They could not be human if they wanted to. The payback that we are seeing is lifting spirits and killing our problems. | March 29, 1863 Today my friend was killed for fighting for what he believed in. He was a man that I respected. This terrible news reported late last night. Most of the soldiers in our regimen were sleeping when he arrived with the trumpet to alarm us. There was not much to ask because we could tell he was lynched. I don't know what will happen if this doesn't end soon.

10: April 29, 1861 I am Mary Lou-seal Walker. When I was just a newborn baby, my mother and father escaped to the North to become free slaves. They did not escape through the Underground Railroad. They escaped on their own because my father was light in color, and he could pass as a white man. My mother is dark skinned and she acted as his slave. This helped them travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln was elected president in 1860. South Carolina seceded from the Union and that is where the trouble began. I was only nineteen when this Civil War began.

11: July 21, 1861 Today the first battle began at Bull Run. I have not written in my diary in two months because my mother became ill and died. I began to see how the war really ks taking a toll on the lives of people around me. Since my mom died and my dad enlisted with the war I decided to help as well. I am now assisting wounded soldiers. I am not a nurse, but there are many other things that I can do to help. I just hope that this war ends soon. I don't want my father to die. I need him.

12: July22, 1861 I wish this war was over. The women are being affected more than people realize. We are having to take on the role of woman and man in our families. Most women are joining organizations that will help fighting men. The things that we are seeing are devastating us to the point of no return. Wounded soldiers are dieing, and for what? "I hope I am brave enough for this...Lord be with me."

13: May 7, 1863 It has been almost two years since I wrote in this diary, and that is all because the war and my association with the Christian Commission. Every day there is some one new and younger who came to help in this organization. Many did not last because of the horror they saw on the battlefield. They could not stand it anymore. There were so many bodies that these young men saw; both black and white. So I just ask, what is the purpose of this war?

14: Dear Diary, Today is January 5, 1861. I am 23 years old and I am still a slave. I haven't eaten anything today because my owner just got word that he has to go to war this year, and he is afraid because he will have to leave his family. He won't make any money for having us. The other slaves and I can tell that he is afraid of being killed. We say this because he is spending all of his time with his family. We hope that he will return to us. | Dear Diary, I thank God I have made it through another day and into a new one. We were issued clothes that are like rags. Today is January 10, 1861, and the owner issues us cotton clothes from the cotton that we picked. We really don't know much about why the owner is leaving, but we have a friend that is going to join the army. He keeps us updated on matters of the war and why our owner has to leave and go.

15: Dear Diary, Today is January 15, 1862. I am learning a little more every day about reading and writing. Earlier this morning we received papers that said that we have to eat cornmeal, salt herring, and pork. So that is the food that we eat all of the time We only have two meals a day. Our owner is leaving Christmas Day. He will be fighting on the Confederate side. Things seem to be pretty tense around here. The master doesn't let us enjoy the regular things that he once would. He treats us worse than ever. I imagine that he is scared. | Dear Diary, Today is January 1, 1863. Our owner left Christmas Day to be a part of the war. His wife and kids are so sad. We sort of knew what was going on. In a way, we didn't. All we know is that we have to go to "the barn" and stay until our owner comes back. We also have a new part time owner. We are praying very hard that we make it as time goes on.

16: March 5, 1862 My name is Joseph Johnson, but my friends call me Johnny. I ran away from my slave master in Alabama three years ago. I decided to join the Union Army a few weeks ago, and I hope that I will get to serve soon. They just sent out the letters to assign regiments. I was assigned to the Second Massachusetts Cavalry. I am very excited to prove to people that black people are a part of this great country. I also want to prove that we are good for more than just picking cotton. | August 13, 1862 I am still waiting for the opportunity to fight in this war. I don't know why they would let black people join the army if they won't let us fight in the war. We have not received our guns or uniforms. We have not even gotten a good pair of shoes since the first week that I joined the army. Some of the other blacks and I have been working as grave diggers for the past few weeks. I did not imagine when I signed up that I would be a grave digger.

17: March 5, 1863 The last time that I wrote, I was hopeful that I would get to fight. I did not know that my opportunity would come so soon. We got called to battle two days ago, and we started to fight two hours after we were called. Battle was not as glorified as I thought it would be. My friend Dudley died in my arms. I did not like having another person's blood all over me, but I had to deal with it. I wanted to prove to the white soldiers that black people were just as good as they were. I think I killed two of the Rebels. I was shot twice, once in | the flet arm and once in my right leg. I passed out right after I was shot. The doctors do not want me to write while I am injured, but for my own sake I will write as soon as possible. I cannot wait to go home after this war. I hope that I am not fighting without a purpose. I want to see a difference in my life and the lives o other black people.

18: May 12, 1861 I look out to the whey fields. I no longer see whey. I see scrambling women dazed. No men are in sight. I see pure destruction. Why did people turn mad when Abraham Lincoln became president? Lincoln just didn't want slavery to continue throughout our states. The south strongly disagreed. I wonder why? Why now? Why this? This has become war, and it is gradually worsening. I wish it could be over, but I have a prominent feeling this is only the beginning. I overheard Cindy saying they had become the Confederates an the Union. They attacked the Union. Southerners were so mad because the Union didn't want slavery. Why? Once again, I have a feeling this is not going to end without vicious attacks.

19: June 30, 1861 I woke up this morning with a terrible pain in my stomach. Hunger! I did not go out and pick what berries I could find before having to get to work. I saw a woman today. She was sobbing in agony. Women surrounded her as if she became very ill. I knew what happened. She lost her loved one. I knew she was brokenhearted. It broke my heart. I cannot let her pain drag me down. I have to realize it is no my fault. I cannot o anything about tis.All I can do is pray for this madness to end. I will support the Union all the way.

20: August 17, 1861 I am not sure if this will ever calm down. Every day I see another wealthy women in pure sorrow. I hear of new battles time to time.What are my people thinking? once again, I begin to think howI thought I had it rough...Well, deep down, I do not. No one that I love is in this destruction. I may never fin someone to love or to love me. I try to stay positive. I hear a woman sobbing outside of my door. This must mean that she has lost someone that she loves. All I can do is hope this war between the states will end soon. It is beginning to bring down my soul. It hurts even though I don't have loved ones fighting in battle

21: Unknown Date Dear Diary, My name is Sarah Elaine Whitaker. I am the wife of Johnnie Lee Whitaker. My husband is a Union soldier which means we are Northerners. We live in Gettysburg. My husband is leaving. He is going to fight in the war. I feel really bad because he will be without his family. I will miss him with all of my heart. I worry about this fight, but I don't want to tell him that I fear his death. I fear that he will leave and never return. I fear that we will never be at the status we are at right now. We cannot be if we do not have any income. I know this is selfish. I would never tell a soul.

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Melissa Roberson
  • By: Melissa R.
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  • Title: Civil War Memories from Both Sides of the Fence Posts
  • Civil War Diaries
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  • Published: about 8 years ago