Civil War Digital Scrapbook

March 14, 1861

It has been a while since I attempted to make an effort at maintaining a diary, but my father gave me this journal so I might as well make use of it. I hope I have enough time to write, for I am usually quite busy with homework and chores. My mother gifted me with pencils to use for sketching, so I will likely include some drawings as well. We have recently moved to a new home on the busier side of Philadelphia. It is very nice, but I miss our other home, for it was larger. My brother Gerald’s 15th birthday will be very soon, and I can not for the life of me think of something to get for him. I suppose I will think of something. I have started reading a new book. I think it will be quite interesting. It is a shame no one in my family shares my love of reading. My father is often too busy with his job as a tailor, and my brother thinks it is dumb. I think he is being ridiculous. It would have been nice to be able to get him a book for his birthday. Perhaps I could sketch a portrait for him instead? I think I will include a rough sketch in this entry.

August 2, 1861

I take no joy in writing this, but our country is now split in war. The south has seen it necessary to leave the union, and the union is quite angry about it. The second battle, Bull Run, has taken place recently. It is ridiculous how people still think the war will be over so soon. I heard there were even people spectating the battle! I envy their optimism, but not their stupidity. I am glad my father remains uninjured. His letter arrived today, and he said he is perfectly fine, if a bit bored. He sent me a drawing as well. I have been worrying about him every day since he was drafted. It is such a shame we can not afford to pay for him to stay with us. Thank goodness my brother did not need to leave us as well. I have no idea how my mother and I would cope with two family members off to war, as she is worried enough with just one! Besides, we need all the help we can get around the house and to make money. A lot more families are less fortunate, and we should be thankful.

September 24, 1862

We just received news of antietam, but I am more sad about the deaths than happy about the union’s victory. I also received word from father, and apparently he was shot in the arm! I really hope he will be okay. I can not imagine what it would be like to go through that much pain. At least it was not in vain. I miss him and hate the extra work I have to do because of the war, but I know there are many who have it much worse. I have been thinking about all the lives that were lost a lot recently. They probably all had families they wanted to return to just like father does. The war is tough, but it is not the end of the world. The best thing we can do is keep our spirits up and help each other through these trying times.

January 8. 1863

The emancipation proclamation was last week, and my mother was very mad about it. She does not think the slaves should be freed, and dislikes the idea of blacks in the north. I disagree, of course. I highly doubt that the slaves are fine with being treated the way most of them are treated. If I had the chance to help them I would, but I doubt I ever will. My father has returned from the war since I last wrote, minus an arm. He might have to get a new job if his work is too difficult to do with one hand. None of us are complaining however, since he could have been shot somewhere more lethal. I’m very glad I get to see him again.

December 1, 1864

I heard about Sherman’s march and how he is stealing from and destroying homes in the south, and I’m not all that happy about it. I feel bad for those in the south suffering from it, but this is war, and if this is necessary for the north to win than so be it. Besides, it is not as if I can do anything about it. No one can wait for this dreadful war to be over, and at leased Sherman’s march might allow us to win sooner. But there is more to life than just the war, of course. My favorite holiday, Christmas, is this month! Of course, we will not be able to have gifts, but we should still celebrate nonetheless.

May 12, 1865

Thank goodness we finally won the war! It would have been a shame to see our beloved country split forever. Of course, just because the war ended does not mean we do not still suffer the repercussions. Maybe it would have been better for the union if we let the south split from us? Maybe not, but this war seems to have brought everyone nothing but grief and unhappiness. Most people were not as lucky to have a family member who left for the war return. I suppose we should just count our blessings and try to recover.