Civil War Digital Scrapbook

By: Mary Ann Ranken

January 21, 1861

Father had come home from the Ross General Hospital and I ran out of the kitchen with a glass of water for him. Mother was cooking dinner, and I told her that father was home. Samuel came from the barn. Lucy and William came and hugged dad. Alice walked out of her room from reading. I it was good to write about this because it is the first time we were all here to greet father that week. He had been coming home really late and only Mother or Samuel would be there to greet him not all of us. At dinner my father told me that he remembers building this house, just him and grandpa, right here in Mobile, Alabama. He said he built the house when the population started to grow and there was a school very close to the house, it is the one me and my siblings go to now. Dad asked us what we did today. So Lucy, William and I told him we walked on the trails outside, because I love to walk, and I drew the trails where we walk so if any thing happens to them I will always know what they look like. Then I came in and read like I do every night before I would go to bed.

February 11, 1862

Father walked into the house very frustrated that the civil war has started so his hospital will be homing to wounded soldiers and healing soldiers. Then he started ranting angrily because the North had won the battle of Fort Henry plus they had called a draft for any men age 18 to 50. I was just happy that the whole family was together for dinner again. Until he brought up the draft because right when he said the ages I knew that he and Samuel will have to go into the army. Then Father said that he will not go into the army because the hospital is going to help the confederate army so they need him to work, and Samuel said nothing just sat there thinking. After thinking Samuel said he wants to go into the army and fight for our country. Mother was so upset because she does not want Samuel to go to the war and if he does we will need someone to help us with the work around the house. She is in no condition to do manual labor, Alice, Lucy, William and I are too young as well. She wants to pay a yeomen to do the work. But father wants to save the money and just get a slave. Our family does not have slaves, because we believe that if we do not need slaves that we should not have them. So we will get a slave to help with the barn that I drew above and other things that Samuel would have done.

January 2, 1863

Our slave, Joe, had been with us for almost a year now. We really liked him. He did everything we told him to do. He slept in the loft in the barn I drew, but he was not up in the morning so I went into the barn to see if he was there and he wasn’t. I ran into the house to tell Mother and Father because he had the day off. Father told us why and that it was because of the Emancipation Proclamation written by Abraham Lincoln. We were so upset and did not think that Lincoln had the right to do that. Joe apparently thought he did. Joe he never complained, I just assumed he liked us. Father said if he knew ahead of time he would have stopped Joe from leaving. Mother said that Alice and I will have to share the work in the barn plus our own chores. I was so upset because that meant less reading and less writing. I wish Samuel had not gone to the army, I miss him, I am worried and I have to do a lot of work. Tonight I read a lot because I know that I might not have that much time for reading. William and Lucy asked me at dinner if I will be able to go on walks with them. I told them I will whenever I have time.

January 18, 1863

Father walked in complaining about the shortage of food because all of the farmers are in the war from the draft. Mother argued and saying it is okay and we can manage. They are fighting for a good cause. I thought that is was okay as long as we were safe. I wrote a letter to my brother, and I am so glad I wrote it two times so that I could put it in this scrapbook and keep it forever. I asked him if he could tell me what life was like and if he could draw me a picture. Also I wrote about what was going on at home. I told him that we got a 17 year old slave named Joe and how he left because of the Emancipation Proclamation, and that Alice and I have to share the work. I really hope he writes back soon because our whole family needs some cheering up. Mom worries that he is going to get hurt. Dad has been working a lot and getting little slept. Alice is upset that she has to do the work that Joe did plus her other chores. Lucy and William are upset that there is less walking and they are worried about Samuel. I just hope. Samuel did not regret going into the war because I am doing a lot of work at home. We are all doing a lot of work at home.

May 15, 1863

Father told me about the victory at Chancellorsville. He said even with our army being out numbered Robert E. Lee still knew what to do, and Jackson died in the fight of this battle. I was glad that we won but sad that Thomas J. Jackson, or Stonewall Jackson, the southern general lost his life. Then Mother handed me a letter from my brother, and said that she went to the post office which I drew today to pick up the letter. The letter said that life in the Confederate military is hard but worth it. He wrote that he had attacked the Union in the battle of Fredericksburg while the Union was waiting for supplies. It also said to tell Mother that he is total okay. Father said that he is just glad that he wants to be doing it and that he is not being forced to do it. Mother thinks it is so dangerous but there was a big smile on her face the whole time I read the letter because she is so glad that her baby is okay.

April 29, 1865

Samuel came back home and told us about the surrender. I am so upset because, us as Confederates have worked so hard to win. My brother worked so hard. My mother is just happy that my brother is back and that he is safe and alive, I am too but we have all worked so hard. Father hates it, and he can not believe what he hears. He thought we had great intentions for our country, but he knew Robert E. Lee was a great general and if he could not fight back against the Union than no one could. Father told us that things will be very different sense we have surrendered. Many people in the North do not believe in what we were fighting for. I thought that was horrible because they did the same thing. They fought for what they believed in. Everyone has different opinions but that is what makes us all human. My brother said that all does not matter. I drew a picture of the whole family back together again.