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Monday, April 30

Journal Entry: Gettysburg

July 3, 1863

         It was Day 3 of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Union army was spread out on Cemetery Ridge. Meade had ordered us to stop firing back at the Confederates as they made their way up the hill. I immediately understood the plan. The Confederates would be totally bombarded once they got to the top of the hill. We also wanted to preserve ammunition. No use trying to push them down if we want them to come up. The Rebels probably thought that they were firing right at us, but their artillery was actually  flying over our heads. I then realized the true value of holding the high ground. The Rebels couldn't see us, but we could see them. I had my rifle by my side, loaded and ready to fire. We did not wait long. The Confederates must have thought that we were all dead. They were bounding up the hill at a brisk pace. As soon as they came into view, mass chaos broke out on both sides. I was ready for whatever was to come in the next few hours that followed. The last part of the battle lasted all day, with casualties on both sides very high.  I was glad that we won, it was an important victory for the Union. Lee should have learned his lesson by now. I doubt that he will try something as foolish as invading the North for a third time.

Civil War Poems

Ol’ General Lee

There once was a fellow named Ol’ General Lee

Who for five years led Rebel infantry

But a little degree

He didn’t foresee

Is the fact the Union had control of the sea!

Gettysburg Address

Well, four score and seven years ago

Our founding fathers made this land a country, you know

They wrote down all that they wanted,

They said everything they believed

That every made is born with equal rights

And this land in liberty, was conceived

Now we fight a civil war

A war against each other

A test if our nation can prevail

When we quarrel brother to brother

Our ancestors won’t recall

What I have said today

But the memory of the lives lost here

Will never fade away

So honor the ones who died for you here

Carry their dying request,

That this one nation, flowing with freedom

Stays that way in the best

George McClellan

Some leaders will fight

Some will run. But George did nothing;

His career went “Poof!”

Doctor Doctor

Chop chop chop! Clipity knockity knit!

You in pain? I don’t give an ironclad ship!

Hey you! Yeah you! Take this leg and throw it in that stack!

What? No more chloroform? Well let ‘em chew on hard tac!

Your worst day ever, huh. Well isn’t that just swell!!!

Look at it this way; you could be having your Wirz day ever in Andersonville!

Stop moaning and groaning!

It’s only your left arm.

Here; bite on this bullet.

Just stop sounding your alarms!

Wow, is this uneventful; I am darn tired of this lame job!

I sit all day long tending to every Bill and Bob,

I don’t get any private time; the “me” in medic is a trick

Your puncture wounds are boring and your dysentery makes me sick!

Out in the field is where I’d be better fit

Forget all you losers, I’ll win this, I quit!

Friday, April 13

Journal Entry: Antietam

September 17, 1862
            I do not think I can be a soldier in the Civil War anymore. After witnessing that many corpses in a day, I think that I would simply run away the next time I was deployed to some general. How gruesome this war had turned out to be. In fact, I think there has never been a bloodier day in American History. I hope a day like this doesn't happen again.
            I was in General Ambrose Burnside's army that day. We were trying to cross Antietam Creek by going on a bridge. The rebels had surrounded that area and were easily shooting men down. Bodies quickly cluttered the bridge and I was starting to see piles forming. I tried to fight back shooting my rifle when I could, but the minie balls never seemed to meet their target. I was starting too fight in vain. General Burnside made it across with enough men after three hours of fighting. We screamed "To Sharpspur! To Sharpspur!" Everybody was cheering as we fought up the slope to reach Sharpspur. Union victory seemed like something I could touch when more rebels came charging at us. I only had time to see them 50 yards away before I learned that General McClellan wouldn't be sending us reinforcements like he promised Burnside. This news brought me back to my normal self. I would help the Union defeat the opposing army in any way I could. I gritted my teeth, loaded my rifle and was ready to fight.

Thursday, April 12

Blog #3: After Antietam

                The young man didn’t cry as the Jared began to saw off his arm. He’s in a shock of sorts, unable to feel or process what is going on, Jared noted. Well, give him some rest and then he’ll be fine. “It’s over, sir. I’m going to wrap a tourniquet around the stub now, ok?” Jared Melbourne hated his job in the army. He hated blood. He hated the tortured, horrendous banshee screams and despondent moans his patients made while he helped them depart with their various body parts. But most of all, he hated the fact that he had to deal with these things until the war ended. Jared had been drafted out of Maine towards the start of this year, but was too overweight to fight in the war. Consequently, he was now stuck in the position that some came out of crazy. He had gotten used to the agony, in a sense. Even so, Jared seemed to be able to feel the pain of the patient with a fresh sting every time he operated.

“Sir, the procedure is over. Sir?” The boy showed no signs of comprehension; he just stared up into the top of the tent. Jared shivered at the plain, inhuman expression on the man’s unblinking eyes. “Aaron. Come look at this.” His newfound friend lugged over. “Looks our bud here is dig’no-esed with a usual case of a thousand-mile stare,” Aaron indicated in his deep, unique Yankee accent. A thousand-mile stare. Whatever the kid had, it wasn’t a disease Jared had ever heard about. “Get someone to take ‘em back to his quarters an’ lay ‘em down all nice and dandy.” Jared called over the 2 soldiers who had brought him back from Antietam and passed the “starer” onto them. Something about that man had hit him hard. He seemed so at peace in his unnatural silence…huh, Jared pondered. He began to wipe up the blood that had splattered against his uniform.
September 18, 1862

The putrid smell of death and pain invades my nostrils.

I am here, helping out in the makeshift hospital, as I have proven myself a good helper here. The only good thing about being here fighting is that I'm not just a negro, I am a soldier for the Union. Here in this tent, it is hard to make out those who are dead, and those who have not yet passed, but are surely doomed to do so. The dead piled in mounds all wear a similar expression, glassy-eyed, staring into a nothingness that only the dead can see, the look of pure terror and agonizing pain as they knew death was not far off still etched on their features.
Every once in a while, I hear a scream, from amputation or just because it is too hard to hold in the pain. It is hot, and the whole camp gives off a feeling of despair. Only a day ago, we fought a battle. We were given the victory, but at a price; many are wounded and others didn't live to see another day.
I often look at a dead man and wonder why or how he died. I think about if he had moved just so in a different direction, he might still be alive. I think about his family, how they will never see him again. I think about the dreams he had, if he had children who he loved dearly. I stare into his eyes and try to find the answers to my questions, but I only get an empty stare, the soldier and his soul is gone, all that remains is an empty shell. I sure hope I don't end up like him.
Jimmy has gone mad. Won't even look at anyone. He keeps talking 'bout how the Rebs are hiding behind the trees, waiting for the right moment to gut him. He almost stabbed another fellow last night, he sleeps with his knife, and the man startled him. I don't know what's wrong with him, but it sure scared me. I want Jimmy to be okay, he is a good soldier, never gotten injured. I pray for him.
Everybody is so hungry, and tired and shocked. We didn't even have time to relish the fact we won, because there were so many soldiers to attend to. Within two hours after the battle there was already a pile of legs, feet, hands, arms and other amputated parts as big as me!
At night, I look up into the stars and think of Mamma. How I miss her and all the things she does for me. I miss her warm smile that always cheered me up, no matter how awful a mood I was in. Mamma is my only family, I want to make it back to tell her I love her.

Pvt. Freeman.

Tuesday, April 10

Union Navy Questions

1. Name two of the important generals and their biggest accomplishments. 2. What new naval vessel was becoming common in the Civil War? 3. What was the main idea of the Anaconda Plan? 4. What was the name of the most famous ironclad ship from the Union side?

Wednesday, April 4

Hospital Gingerbread

     Gingerbread was often given as a comfort food to soldiers in the army hospitals. One Civil War nurse says that after spending the day tending to the wounded she found a sutler's stand and bought a some gingerbread for the wounded soldiers.
     It wasn't always a source of happiness though. This item itself caused many fights. Documents say that soldiers were court martialed, beaten almost to death, and even shot over the food they were foraging. These were desperate times were the majority of the soldiers lived right on the edge of starvation.


  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsulfured (light) molasses

  • 1 large egg

  • Preparation:

    Sift flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat shortening and butter in large bowl into light. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in molasses, then egg. Add dry ingredients. Using spoon, stir until mixture forms dough (dough will be very soft). Divide dough into thirds. Gather each third into ball; flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
    Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, lemon peel and tangerine peel in large bowl until light. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients. Using spoon, stir until mixture forms dough (dough will be soft). Divide dough into thirds. Gather each third into ball; flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let soften slightly, if necessary, before rolling out.)

    Shaping and Baking Cookies:

    If you're making both kinds of cookies, work with one type of dough at a time.
    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously flour work surface and rolling pin. Place 1 dough disk on work surface (keep remaining 2 dough disks refrigerated). Press rolling pin into dough several times to flatten slightly for easier rolling. Roll out dough to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness, frequently lifting and turning dough to prevent sticking. Using assorted cookie cutters dipped into flour, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to ungreased nonstick baking sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Gather dough scraps together and reserve.
    Bake until cookies turn brown on edges, about 15 minutes. Let cookies stand on sheets 1 minute. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.
    Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining 2 dough disks as described above, being sure to cool cookie sheets before making each batch. Combine all reserved dough scraps and shape into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disk in plastic and freeze until firm enough to roll, about 30 minutes. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking as described above. Store cooled cookies in airtight container at room temperature until ready to decorate.

    After the Lives Were Lost

    July 21, 1861

    I can't believe how much pain and death surrounded me just a few hours ago. I saw brothers kill each other. I saw men's eyes go dark as the life escaped out of them. I saw soldier's having to leave they fellow comrads to die on the field 'cause there was nothin' them doctors could do about it. Our first battle, the Battle of Bull Run, some folks are calling it, could make the toughest man bawl. I don't know how some of us are keepin sane. I saw the enough gore and suffering to last me three lifetimes. And it's only the beggining. There were so many dead men, and they were all piled up, It was a terrible sight, for anyone. This boy, Junior, I helped the doctors amputate his arm cause he was going to bleed to death if it hadn't been done. His face was full of pure agony, I tell you. He had a bullet in his mouth to keep from biting his tongue off. One man, I don't know his name, was going crazy, talking about things that sound quite crazy, nobody knew what to do, and he woudn't listen to nodody anyhow.
    I'm as scared as anyone, I don't want to know if this can go on like it just did, or worse.

    Pvt. Freeman

    Journal Entry: Bull Run

    July 20, 1861    

       The amount of blood and and death today was so big that I thought my head would explode. When the Union army came onto the battlefield, I thought that the first battle of the Civil War would be an easy win. We outnumbered the Confederate with such ease that nobody took the battle seroiusly. I remember lounging around, daydreaming about life back home, when I heard the first shots go off. I was so utterly surprised, I dropped my rifle. While I was scrambling to pick it up, I saw the person right in front of me drop to the ground, no sign of life left in him. Only then did I see how far the Confederate troops had advanced on us. I was a mere 30 feet away from the general leading the troops. I was up on my feet and running for my life in 2 seconds flat. All around me, the field was turning red with the blood of the soldiers. I thought I was hallucinating until I came across more corpses. I saw more and more every way I turned. I began stumbling through them, trying to get away from the horrible sights I was seeing. When I was finally able to get away from the battlefield, I didn't dare look back. I started to relax a bit when I saw other soldiers like me start to slow down, finally far away from the Rebs. I wondered if I could survive another battle after what I just went through. With that thought, my body gave out on me and I collapsed to the ground.

    Blog #2: Bull Run

    Patrick Greer

    Blog #2: The Battle of Bull Run

    18 year-old Harold Sanders was running for his life.

    The Confederacy’s comeback had risen out of nothing. A few minutes ago, he had been wandering around, dazed from the “completed” battle. His fellow combatants were shaking each other’s hands, picking up rifle shells and even snacking on bread. Amongst all of the hubbub, no one had noticed the Rebels advancing once again…and now he was running through an unfamiliar forest. He didn’t care about desertion or how infuriated his commander would become when he heard of Harold’s crime.

    But Harold didn’t care. It was a bloodbath back there, and he was not a child fit for war. He was only a simple city boy, born and raised in a rich family. He didn’t belong there. Harold halted, thinking he had been running for an exceptional time and it was getting dark, so sat down to get a drink of water. I will run back to Mother and Father and get them to protect me, Harold thought. He didn’t see his conscription as fair; how could the government even-


                “Who’s that?” Harold involuntarily screamed. “Who’s out there…” He surveyed the area around him, but saw nothing. “Hearing things again…,” he muttered to himself, assuring his mind there was no one watching him. Surely the Confederates couldn’t have taken the time to follow him, could they? But even so…Harold wasn’t going to take any chances. He rose up and began speed-walking out of the small clearing. The walk broke into a jog. The jog turned into a wild, uncontrolled sprint. I don’t want to die, Harold screamed in his head. He couldn’t die. He wanted to live his life. “Don’t kill me! Don’t shoot!” he cried to the darkness. “Go away!” Harold had seen what death was like in the past few hours, and he had had enough blood. No more death, no more, please, God save me, he thought. He abruptly fell flat to the ground and quieted down. Maybe if I use the darkness as a blanket, the Rebels will give up and go away, he reassured himself. He held his breath and listened.


                Harold waited for a couple minutes more, and finally decided he was imagining all these things. The horrors of earlier that day were just popping back into his head and playing with his consciousness. He slowly began creeping along the ground and looked up…to the barrel of a rifle.


    Monday, April 2

    The Baltimore Riots of 1861

    On Sunday, April 1st, the Jeffersonian Institute of Washington D.C. received an anonymous phone call reporting them of a painting for their new exhibit on the Civil War. The painting was painted during the Baltimore Riots of 1861, and you can clearly see the fire, the rage on citizen's faces,  and barely in the back, the troops slowly coming to control them. The state of unrest in the White House sparked this riot, and the fact that Lincoln as openly opposed to slavery. Many died, and some historians call it the first blood shed in the Civil War itself. Carbon Spectrum analysis confirms the given age of painting, but unfortuantley identity of the painter is not given.

    My Enlistment--Private Parsons

            Today my family reached a unanimous agreement. I was to go enlist in the Union army to fight in the Civil War. Everybody in my family agreed that it was the only right thing to do when the U.S.A. is having such a hard time in the war. I told my family I would send as much money home as I could. I felt so happy! I could finally be of a use to the country! After saying goodbye to my mama and papa, I gave each one of my 3 brothers a big hug, saying that I would be back in no time at all. I hurried on down to the the fort in my hometown of Manchester, Vermont far away from my home to enlist. I proudly told the leader that my name was Clarence Parsons, and I was 19 years old. I got assigned a rifle and uniform, and then for the rest of the day, the other soldiers and I started training. We had a gun drill where we would practice loading, shooting, and cleaning out our guns. It was difficult, but I was finally able to get through the drill once.
           I had another reason for joining the Union army: to end slavery once and for all. When I went to school, I had heard many times how the Blacks would be treated in the South. The very thought of being treated like that scared me to death. I decided right there and then that slavery was morally wrong. I knew that I would have to help the Union army in any way I could to defeat the South. The North will win, and we will treat the Blacks fairly as well.
    August 3, 1861

    Precious “Manly Account of Events”,

                    Today sign-ups for the new Wilmington, Delaware militia commenced to prepare for the imminent inter-nation war at hand. Being one of the only soldiers in town with a rank of Captain or higher, I took charge of the event. Registration drew in quite the…a…peculiar crowd from about the region. In total, we had less than 30 people come to sign up, and about 5 we turned away for various reasons. This was usually because the persons were underage, but man one came in but women’s undergarments speaking in the voice of a demon…nevertheless, today we had a slightly average intake of recruits.

     One man, whom I take favor in, can load and shoot a rifle an astounding 4 times on a good day. I plan to promote him, if he fares well in training, to be my lieutenant. I believe we may end up having quite the…interesting regiment after all. The one predicament with this day is that truly, I am not as “hardcore” as many in this town are about abolition. I do despise slavery, and I do believe there is a better way. Yet to go to a blood-shedding war over this is not the civil approach to do things whatsoever, much less the American approach.

    Let us all hope that the Rebellion is crushed as quickly and safely as possible.

    Genuinely Your Writer,

    Captain Bruce U. Stanton


    I finally got the courage to enlist. Or more like mama got the courage to let me enlist. Well, It's done now! I will be put to a good use, them army men say to me. I really only enlisted because me and mama are free slaves, and not much wok comes a-lookin for us, so I took to a good thinkin', and I thought, I say to myself, "What better way to help mama put food on the table, even if it really only will be eaten by her."
    I been writing gooder these days, i had to put myself to learnin of I wanted to make a real man outta me. I ain't got much brains, but Anyone who knows me can tell you I got an arm made of the finest steel they ever saw! I can lift and work like nobody's buisness!
    Well, tomorrow I start with my training. I can't say when I'll be back, but we're sure to beat them rebels!