Civil War Digital Scrapbook
By: Ginger Vernon
March 4th 1861
Entry 1I just heard my father talking about how Texas has seceded, that is seven states! We are really pounding the north hard, but they deserve it. I try to talk to my dad daily, but I usually do not get a chance. He is always at work. Francis Wilkinson Pickens, the governor of South Carolina needs his help with making new laws for South Carolina. He used to only work a couple hours a day. Now he rides Loopy, our horse into town every day. My Ma has to take care of me (Virginea), Suzy (my 10 year old little sister), Mary-Mae (my 8 year old little sister) and Nathan (he is 18) all by herself. Not to mention the plantation and our slaves. My slave Jalilah loves to play with me. But her ma, Lola will not let her. Lola is the person who cooks and cleans around the house, and Jalilah always helps her. We have a couple more slaves that work on our plantation. They help harvest the rice and corn. They also take care of our cows, chickens, horses and other animals. I do not know how they do it. We own over 75 acres. I never see them out in the fields. I am always watching my little sisters, at school, sewing or reading. The only time I get to see them in action is when Ma lets me go play outside. I love going outside more than anything! Whether it is riding Jolly, our other horse. Or playing with the ball that my father got me for my birthday. The plantation is just so pretty. I drew a picture of it for my arts class and decided to put it in here.
April 18, 1861
Entry 2Everyone is in such a happy mood. The morning paper reads that the South has taken over one of the Yankee’s battle stations, right outside of Charleston, South Carolina. I saw an article on the second page of the Anderson Intelligence, one of the many many papers that my father has subscribed to. He let me cut it out and put it in my scrapbook, it looks magnificent. Word has it that Beauregard and Gustave went in there and took it over. Even with the union fighting back! The arrogant northerners do not consider it a victory for us, but they just do not want to admit that they lost. Why do they care anyway? We just want to live by our way of life. This whole skirmish with the northerners has kept my Pa at work all week. He is not even coming home for the night sometimes. Everything is so confusing with the southern state. Oh wait I forgot, we are the Confederate States of America now. Anyway, we trying to find a president and deal with the north all at the same time. Hopefully the north will realize that they a fighting a pointless battle, and let us go. Then maybe my Pa can come back home. My Ma and Nathan have been directing things around the plantation and the house. Leaving me to deal with my sisters.
November 20, 1862
November 20, 1862It is very slow down here in the south. Just me, my Ma, and my sisters. Nathan is off at war and everyone is so worried. We do not even know if he is alive, especially after the battle of Antietam. The death toll for the south was over 30,000. The last letter we got from him arrived in early June talking about Shiloh and that he was ok. With Nathan gone we must rely our slaves to do much of the labor which is not working out. Abraham Lincoln just sent out a proclamation that says if we do not stop fighting he will set all of the slaves free. But it will not work, he can not tell us what to do. We are a separate country. Though Ma says we do not have to worry, I can see it on pa’s face that he is stressed out. Even though we got a new president (Jefferson Davis). My Pa and Mr. Pickens are still doing most of the work here in South Carolina, because most of the people do not want a strong government. And the headaches just continue. When I went into town this Sunday for Sunday service, the buzz was that the European countries said that they are not going to help us. Things are really going downhill. I saw a drawing on Harper's Weekly. It was a drawing by Frank Bellew of Lincoln cutting down a tree with the word slavery on it. The northerners just do not get it, slavery is our way of life. And they are trying to take it away.
September 20, 1863
September 20, 1863I can not believe those terrible northerners and their tactics. They have taken over the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, it is right on the river so it is used for shipping and transportation. They are starving the poor people to death. I asked Ma to show me a map of the Confederate States to see how far away Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana (the states on the other side of the Mississippi) really are. They are so far, I do not know how they will get information quickly. I sketched a map down below to show my friend Kay. General Grant is just relentless, people are dying because of him. The Union just comes on so hard. Things have not gotten any better since my last entry. Apparently the slaves thought Lincoln’s proclamation actually applied. Buba, one of our slaves ran away. Nathan sent us a letter after Antietam but it did not get here quickly. He is fine but there is a huge lack of food. With all of the farmers gone fighting there is no one besides slaves to do the work. There is also a cloths, blanket and weapons shortages. The things that the factories in the north produced were very helpful in the long run. Some thought that we would not have to worry, that this will be a short war. But this “short war” has left so many dead. It is just terrible.
September 30th, 1864
Entry 5:I had to stop my daily lessons with mother today, when I heard a terrible cry from Mary-Mae. There was an general for the Yankees named William Tecumseh Sherman out on our plantation. He had a huge army, and they did the most horrendous things. They burned our entire plantation! It is in pieces, all of our crops, the slaves quarters, even our house. When the soldiers went into our house, they took our silver and gold. They also took all of father's papers, mothers fine china, my books and sketchpads, and Mary-Mae and Suzy’s favorite blankets. Father was of course at work and Nathan is at war so ma, my sisters and I could not do anything. It is absolutely crazy to think of what people will do to other people. And to think we were all one nation banned together along the premise of liberty. This country used to be great, but that was before the North decided to hang onto a lost cause. And there is nothing they will not do to get us back. We had such hope that President Lincoln would not get elected again, so he would stop getting all up in our business. But he did. He has done such terrible things to us in the South, and you would think people would see what a bad person he is. I drew this picture to help keep my mind off of all of the damage, but I guess it doesn’t really help considering it’s a picture of the damage to our house.
May 17, 1865
Entry 6:This war did not go not as expected, Lee ended up surrendering at the Appomattox Courthouse just a while back, and now my father has lost his job. It is not enough for us to have lost our only way of living, but now we have to do all of these crazy things to get back into The Union. If the North wants us back so bad why are they making it even a little difficult to re-admit. I would like to forget the politics for now because today is my birthday. But it will not be spent opening beautiful new presents, it will be spent outside, working in the hot sun. We only have a few people left to help us. Those are the slaves who now work for my father with pay, only we do not have crops to harvest so we have no money to pay them. On the bright side Nathan is home from Richmond, and he is recovering, he was practically starved. I am trying to see the good side of my situation but I just can not, our situation is so bad. I guess we will just have to start rebuilding, one brick at a time. I hope we can rebuild quickly because we are forced to live in the remains of the house. All burnt and broken, at least the roof is still in-tact in most places. A newspaper man from the Columbia Daily Phoenix Newspaper who wanted to write an article about what this war has done to the south, came to our house and took pictures of our land. He let me keep one, maybe one day it will not be like this.