Civil War Diaries

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by teamrose, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. teamrose

    teamrose Member

    Do you find it interesting to read the war diaries of soldiers. When you think they are just like you, but dealing with incredible stress, it makes your life seem dull. Here's a passage from one such diary:

    July 30, 1862
    The past 22 days have been busy and eventful ones to me. Thursday, July 10th, enlisted as a volunteer in the service of the U.S. Soon after the President’s call for the 300,000 volunteers felt it my duty to be one of them, feel it as much a Christian as a political duty, and feel that every citizen ought to feel it so. And certainly have never felt more peace of mind as flowing from a sense of duty done, as in this matter of enlistment into the service of our country. In most of the towns of our state volunteering goes on rapidly. In others, however, there seems to be but little true patriotism. All towns are offering liberal bounties, varying from one to three hundred dollars. I fear that some of our volunteers go more from motives founded in dollars and cents than from those drawn from true patriotism. May God bless our land and help us as a people to have that true patriotism which is founded in true Christian and political principles. I have been at home all day or nearly so, having left Mr. Boyden’s Monday night. I have been busy packing my effects and preparing my camp equipage. Tomorrow go to camp at Lynnfield. May Thy blessing, My Heavenly father, be with me, and aid me to have thy love and service first and foremost upon the affections of my heart, and be the foundation motives of each thought, word and act, for Christ’s sake.

    August 1,1862.Camp Stanton, Lynnfield, Massachusetts.
    Came into camp yesterday. Found things pleasanter than I had expected. Everything new and novel and affording much amusement. Towards night was examined by the surgeon, pronounced fit for and sworn into U.S. Service for the term of three years or sooner discharge. Wrote letter to folks at home. Had a very heavy thundershower in afternoon. We enjoyed it much, snugly ensconced in our tents, a new and novel shelter to us. Had fish chowder for dinner.

    August 2nd.
    Had our first season of battalion drill. Enjoyed it much, though quite a severe tax to me physically. Already feel that my daily drill in the open air is improving me in my mental and physical health, and that if watchful against needless exposure need have no fears but that I can endure the hardships of soldier life.
  2. RcNu

    RcNu Member

    Yes I do and I very much enjoyed this post.
  3. Adlai

    Adlai New Member

    An interesting start, although I wonder how his mood changes later on. Here he's only just begun to experience the hardships of the Civil War... do you have the continuation of this diary?
  4. teamrose

    teamrose Member

    I do have the continuation of this diary. The entire diary is on the web, but I'll be posting it over the days to come.

    August 3rd.
    It is saddening to see the regard paid by the majority of soldiers for this day, Sabbath, making it but a day of pleasure and frolic. Crowds of visitors are about the camp, most of them seem to have come for mere pleasure. May God help me to be watchful and so strengthen my faith that I may even in the army, grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, and exert an influence for good. I wrote a letter to William. H. Cheney. today and attended the church in the village in forenoon. But few were in attendance in proportion to the place and number of people about the camps. In the evening had services in the camp, quite impressive. It was interesting to notice the difference aspects of character exhibited by the men in their tents as shown in their manner of spending the evening. Some singing comic and lewd songs, others patriotic and sentimental, others sweet Christian hymns which did one’s soul good to hear and affording a pleasing contrast to the almost continual profanity heard about camp.

    August 4th.
    Had my first experience in guard duty today. Found it easier than I had expected an indeed find all of my experiences of soldier life more agreeable than I had imagined. God, help me to be spiritually and not carnally minded.

    August 5th.
    Had to sleep on ground last night and in the open air for the first time, with a blanket for my bed and billet of wood for my pillow. Felt most sick this forenoon, but better in afternoon. Woke with splitting headache.

    August 8th.
    Nothing of note the past three days. Left camp for home today on three day furlough. Enjoyed the change very much. Already has my short experience of camp life led me to feel more than ever blessings of a quiet home and the peaceful pursuits of industry. May the blessings of our God rest upon our armies and soon give us a righteous peace, so that there may be no war in our land for our Saviour’s sake, Amen.

    August 11th.
    Came back to camp, felt rather sober in resuming soldier duties, and at the near prospect of bidding goodbye to home and loved ones, perhaps to meet no more on earth. Brought some papers and tracts from the American Tract Society. and distributed about camp. Need to pray for a deeper measure of faith to work for Christ aggressively.

    August 14th.
    Have been very busy the past three days. Have been appointed Sergeant and have been busy in drill and in study of the “tactics.” Feel I need more decision and promptness, and to learn to be dependant upon myself. Had a very hard day’s work today. The 33rd Regiment left for the front. Changed our camp spot and now occupy the tents and grounds vacated by them. Are in Sibley tents, sixteen men to a tent. Have good rations. Camp not kept so cleanly as it should be, seems to me.

    August 16th.
    Received our guns and equipment today and formally sworn into the U.S. service as a Regiment, the 35th Massachusetts. Colonel Edward A.Wilde commanding.
  5. Kiamoko

    Kiamoko Member

    These posts are amazing! Thank you so much. It is always interesting to read about a war from a soldiers perspective. It is always easy looking in from the outside. Sometime looking from the inside out can change a mind all together.
  6. teamrose

    teamrose Member

    August 17th.
    Sabbath. A strange way of spending it has been my lot. On guard last night, until 9 AM, this morning. Then busy cleaning up tent and camp for inspection so did not get through work and duty until ten AM. A most beautiful day, and all are mature smiling with the love of God to man. The pond bordering our camp is calm and still, with scarce a ripple upon its surface. My thoughts flew toward home, thinking of the quiet peace and freedom from labor and opportunities there open to learn of God and His truth. Here all turmoil and confusion. Felt a little homesick as I contrasted the difference. Reflecting, however, I felt that the true sources of happiness are from within, and not dependant upon earthly surroundings or circumstances. That with the love of God and Christ in my heart, I can be happy and content anywhere when in the path of duty, even if that path be amid much that is far from God and uncongenial to the heart. Last Sabbath was in Dedham. It was communion Sabbath and now today I realize more than ever the preciousness of that service and that perhaps I have participated in it for the last time on earth with those whom for many pleasant years have been covenanted with in bonds of Christian faith and love. Miss much my past opportunities for retirement for secret prayer. Here no opportunity to retire alone is at hand. O God help me to have my heart in constant communion with Thee, for Thou hearest from the heart even though there be no outward word expressed. May Thy word be indeed a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path mid the turmoil about me, and may I in heart be instant in prayer and fervent in spirit serving Thee in and through all the new scenes and life about me. For Christ’s sake, Amen. More than ever precious are God’s words and the privilege of prayer. Many thoughts of home and loved ones today-may God bless them and aid us so to live that we may all meet above to go out no more. May I pray each day in faith for them, and in my letters aim to let Christ shine forth in my words and spirit. Hope to get a chance to see them once more ere leaving the state.

    August 19th.
    Sisters came to camp today. Enjoy their visit very much. Had furlough granted me and went home with them, to be back by 3 PM tomorrow. Sister Carrie at work at Uncle William’s going up there, after our arrival home.

    August 20th.
    Went to Uncle William’s in forenoon and bid Carrie goodbye. At 11 AM left for camp bidding adieu to the folks perhaps forever. My heart was too full to speak as I bid them goodbye. There were many, many things I wished to say to them and which I fully intended to, but kept putting them off through the morning and when the hour for departure came, I could not control myself to do it. Now perhaps I may never speak to them again. O God if it may be thy will, grant that we may meet in heaven through the merits of thy son, Jesus. Amen. Cried near half the way to camp. Rode to Readville to take the cars with Sabin R. Baker. There are five of us from West Dedham in Company I: Sabin R. Baker, Ephraim A. Roberts, George E. Whiting and David Sullivan. As the day is closing think of those from whom I have parted. Feel that God does all things well and will care for them that I should trust their welfare fully in His hands, for He who careth for the little sparrow and numbereth the hairs of our head, will surely care for our highest good.

    August 22nd.
    At near 11 AM left Lynnfield en route for the front or seat of war. There was a long train of us and one could not help feeling a sort of pride to be steaming along, thinking of the great work we were going to do. “ We Are Coming Father Abraham, 300,000 More”, was our song, as I hummed it over could not keep the tears from my eyes as I thought of home, left perhaps forever.

    August 24th.
    Arrived late at night and camped at Arlington Heights above five miles from Washington, and near the estate of the Rebel General Lee. The journey on was in the main pleasant. From Boston by the Fall River route to Jersey City, we crossed the sound on the steamer Bay State. At Philadelphia, had a splendid treat at the “Cooper Shop” an establishment for the purpose of entertaining the regiments as they may be en route through the city and supplied and kept in readiness by the contributions of the citizens. Had a hot and dusty march through Washington over aqueduct bridge to our camp spot, a distance of near 8 miles which with our greatness at marching and heavily laden knapsacks was quiet a task to us and many of us had blistered feet.
  7. Kiamoko

    Kiamoko Member

    @Teamrose0- Thank you!!!! I am enjoying these so much. I have a great imagination and so i can see and smell and hear everything the writer is writing about. I am so happy to have found this thread and to get to know this part of history better!

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