Greetings friends… I hope your Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends was extra special this year. I’ve decided to continue to post entries from my (G3) grandfather’s journal from the Civil War because it has fascinating details, I think he would like for his words to be shared, and you’ve expressed an interest in reading about it too.
For me, I can’t believe what I am reading here. I try to picture the scenes but can’t imagine having the experiences he notes, or overhearing the conversations and rumors around the camp that spread like tidal waves. I know that anyone who serves in the military during wartime situations has their own tales to tell. Many are haunted by the ghosts of their experiences…they have absolutely seen too much. They have been too close to hell, and they’ve instantly become changed people. It can’t be helped… What’s a person to do? It’s what happens to humans when you put bloodshed, fear, weapons and the sense of duty in the same room. Love can be sacrificed as there are accounts where brothers and friends standing on opposite sides…wound or kill each other.
Yet, it is so easy to take things for granted. Freedom, comfort, safety, having a choice…we simply don’t understand how lucky we are. Take a look around your world, enjoy your freedoms…just because this took place in 1864 doesn’t mean it can’t happen in some form again.
Sunday, July 31st, 1864
Played a couple of games of chess, but having other more important matters on hand I could not keep my mind on the chess board, and I laid it aside for the bible.
Took a walk to the branch and visited an old friend, after which I returned to quarters and occupied my mind in reflections which led in various channels but neither subjects nor reflections are recorded. Home sweet home! How my spirit longs for freedom. Revenge sore revenge. Vengeance is mine, I will repay, sayeth the lord. How long, oh how long will this confinement last?
Monday, August 1st, 1864
Confinement, not close nor solitary, neither has it been yet long – a little more than a month and yet it seems as if I was growing old – but what is the use to write? It is of no avail – the skirmish line is a paradise to this, to risk life for liberty would be a pleasure. Would that I was a poet or an historian – but neither can do justice to this place. Parson Brownlow with all his profanity could not begin to describe the utterly inhuman treatment or prisoners – an yet there are those who curse the prospect of a release and those too who claim the protection of the Federal Government, wear the Federal Blue and belong to the army of the United States. Such men have forfeited all claims on the Government and deserve the most severe censure of the Authorities and the people. Some of them will have a mark set upon them that will be equal to the brand of Cain, and it will come to pass that some finding them will slay them.
Tuesday, August 2nd, 1864
Forenoon very pleasant. Cleared up in the afternoon with a thunder storm. Wild rumors afloat of the capture of General Stoneman – as to the credulity, I am inclined to believe that it is a good deal like the reports of parole and exchange – but I have given the rumors of exchange one comment with the result of observation and practice, and failed to do the cause justice to anything here – justice is far from being known in this camp – and should I fail to comment on a subject because I could not do it justice, I would be compelled to cease writing and not attempt to make any observations. Days, months, and were it possible, years would glide past and be a blank in history if a man were to cease to make observations for want of power to do justice to the themes presented. Yet memory would retain the scenes of horror and revert to them in future with a shudder. I have become so hardened and so used to false reports that I cannot believe anything I hear and scarcely half of what I see – but were I to tell what I have seen and what I know to be so, to half of the people at home, I would be set down as a liar, and yet could they see it as I have, they would be compelled to acknowledge it.
Take it easy,