Civil War Digital Scrapbook

Abigail Kidd

February 1, 1860

Dear Diary,

Today is February 1, 1860. I am writing from Savannah, Georgia. It is a very pretty place with lots of land to grow crops and plenty of field work. I am a slave and I live with my mom, dad, and my four siblings. My dad is a carpenter, my mom is a cook in the slave owner's home, and all of my siblings and I work in the fields together. I learned to read and write illegally, but my family thought it would be a good idea if I knew how to read and write as well as the other members of my family. Life is very tough for us and I barely see my parents because they work in different places than I do. I see my siblings a lot since we all work in the fields together. I have many things I would like to do, but what I really love to do is draw pictures of my life and hope that people can see them one day. I drew this picture of my house.

April 15, 1862

Dear Diary,

Today is April 15, 1862. The Battle of Shiloh has taken place. Me and the rest of my family are scared of what is going to happen. My siblings and I are so frightened because my dad died from working so hard, being treated harshly, and not having enough food. One of the most important things that has happened in my life was the Emancipation Proclamation. This was written to free slaves. I am so happy that people are realizing that this is awful and that we need to be freed. Why would these people who enslaved us, now write something to free us? We are finally getting more information on what was going on and what it all means. We were so excited that we were going to be freed. My mom was working in the house and overheard the master talking about how upset he was that we were going to be freed. All day was work, work, work, and more work, and then we got sleep, but it wasn’t enough sleep to get us energy for the next day. We will have to do that all over again tomorrow. I can't wait for the day when we are free to do whatever we want . This is a picture I drew in my free time.

May 2, 1862

Dear Diary,

Today is May 2, 1862. We don’t really know what is happening in the war now we only know a little from what the owners say. President Lincoln is trying to make slavery go away, but according to the owners that isn’t going to happen. This news makes me and my family sad. Our family is still working hard everyday without the sleep and food required for us to have enough energy or rest. This is a picture I drew of us working in the fields. Our life is awful, I think that my siblings are beginning to get older and are understanding more of what is happening. My oldest sibling is losing hope of our lives changing, which makes everyone lose hope. I still have a little bit of hope that something will turn our lives around hopefully in a good way.

May 5, 1862

Dear Diary,

Today is May 5, 1862. The Battle of Williamsburg has begun. The battle is still going on, but for some reason we haven’t heard a lot about what is happening. Maybe this war is less violent than the other wars. I don’t understand why there has to be war and why we have to be slaves. I asked my oldest brother Ben and he said that the North was fighting for us and that they are trying to get rid of slavery. He explained that the South is fighting to keep us as slaves and that the North needs to win in order for us to be free. I have now gotten moved into the master's house for cleaning and cooking which I personally like a lot better than the fields. My mom died of old age so I took her spot. Now we have no parents and are living on our own which is hard but at least I am not the oldest so I don’t have to make decisions. I found this newspaper while working in the house.

March 5, 1863

Dear Diary,

Today is a sad day for me and my siblings it’s March 5, 1863. We have just found out that we are not really going to be freed. Lincoln tried to make it happen, but it didn’t work and now we are stuck as slaves probably until we die. Lincoln setup amendments or rules that people have to follow. We don’t know what any of the rules are, but I hope they are good rules. We are working hard with still very little respect from anyone. I am hungry most of the time and am getting little rest. I am still working in the house, but now I just clean because the owner didn’t like me cooking. My siblings work in the field except for my oldest, Ben, who is now a blacksmith. I drew this picture when I thought we were going to be freed.

April 15, 1865

Dear Diary,

It is April 15, 1865. It is one of the happiest days of my life. We are free! The Confederates surrendered and the Union was victorious. We have been freed. There was a Confederate surrender, we didn’t hear about it until the Union soldiers came and told us the news. Once we were set free, we didn’t know where to go or what to do. There was a lot of chaos and confusion among everyone. I was scared of what was going to happen, but at the same time I was full of joy and excitement. I wondered if me and my siblings would be able to stay together, but as long as we are free that doesn't matter. I drew this picture because I was happy to be finally free!