January 2, 1860
Today is Ruth’s birthday! Today she will be turning six and we are going to surprise her with cake and presents. She is at her friend’s house right now and my dad and brother were told to get her a present. I am glad that they got back in time for my mom and I to wrap the presents. I was worried that dad was not going to be able to leave his printing shop on time and then be late because Richmond gets very busy around this time. My mom and I just finished baking a cake for her. I did my best to draw it but it looks better in person. Me and my mom will wrap her presents in a minute once my mom finishes reading the newspaper. My dad and brother got her a new winter coat that I think she will enjoy. For another one of Ruth’s presents I made her a knitted doll, I am very proud of my work and I think it is one of the best dolls I've made and I had fun making it too. I love to knit. I am currently knitting myself a winter hat since it is very cold outside right now. Ruth will be home shortly so I am going to go wrap presents now.
April 21, 1861
Now that the battle of Fort Sumter is over my dad and brother have made the decision to fight in the Civil War. I drew a quick sketch when I was thinking about them leaving to fight. I am very worried for them but it is also relieving to know that the Confederates won Fort Sumter. I am nervous for my dad and my brother but I am also nervous for my Mom, Ruth, and I. I am worried that our family will never be the same again. My mom is going to take over my dads printing shop while he is fighting. That means that I will be babysitting Ruth until the war is over and Dad and Henry come back, and that is if they come back. I won’t have any help babysitting Ruth and at the same time I will have to find food to feed both of us.
July 24, 1861
The battle of Manassas ended recently and my dad and brother fought in it. My brother recently sent us a letter saying that it was a Confederate victory and I am very happy for them. I am also very worried though. The Union has been putting constant pressure on Richmond and I don’t know what they are planning. Later tonight when my Mom gets home from the printery we are going to knit socks for soldiers. Ruth doesn’t know how to knit yet so she won’t be knitting socks. She is only six, I learned to knit when I was eight. I think they will enjoy our gift even though it is summer time. The soldiers are always willing to accept donations. I am praying that the Confederates can continue to win and that my dad and brother will be ok.
September 21, 1862
Today I received a letter from dad and Henry that said the Confederates lost the battle of Antietam. Even though they were able to get to Virginia they still lost. It is very sad that they lost but one thing that I am glad that the letter said was that they were healthy. I am glad that they are ok because in the letter they mentioned it was a very bloody battle. I pray for all of the people who lost loved ones during this battle, I even pray for the Union soldiers who lost loved ones because no body should have to go through that. It is devastating that many people lost friends or family members they loved but I am glad that dad and Henry were ok, and I hope that they still are now since the mail service takes a long time. This is the letter.
January 3, 1863
Recently Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He threatened to free our slaves if we did not surrender by January first. Even though he did not successfully free our slaves lots and lots of slaves still snuck out and ran away to the north. I drew a quick sketch of a slave sneaking out at night.
We do not have any slaves but I have heard neighbors yelling about their slaves running off. A good thing is that I have received another letter from my dad and Henry. It said that they are good and healthy. Later this afternoon I have to go out and find some food for Ruth and I. I hope I can find something at a reasonable price so we don’t have to keep living off of one pound of rice. Luckily we can still buy rice at a fairly low price which is seven cents.
April 20, 1865
The war has ended. It was like listening to nails on a chalk board when I heard that Lee surrendered. The city of Richmond was burnt to the ground. Therefore we have no home, food, or money. I don’t know how we are going to make money either becease we are all girls and it's hard for us to find jobs. We walked a long, long, long way and now we are living on the side of the street in Lynchburg, Virginia with a small hut built out of scraps. I drew a quick picture of it.
I don’t know how we will get food and water. I don’t know how Dad and Henry plan to find us and if they find us they have a long way to walk. Even though we don’t have much I am very thankful that we are still alive.