Journals From Soldiers Essay, Research Paper
Chapter 1-The 1770s and the Revolutionary War
March 6, 1770
Tensions are growing ever higher. Yesterday, British soldiers fired on a group of
unarmed Colinists killing and wounding five. I fear war is imminent. Being a veteran of
the French and Indian War, I shall be forced to join the effort. I am still weak from the
wounds I received in that conflict. I do not think I would last long. My children will not
grow up not knowing who I am!
Febuary 16, 1774
The colinists are growing more defiant every day. In response to the Tea Act, The
Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Indians and raided tea ships in the night. The
boxes of tea were then thrown into the bay. Parliment responded by passing, as we like to
call them, The Intolerable Acts. They closed the port here in Boston until the tea is paid
for. Also, the government here in Massachusetts has been severely restricted. The
governor has all the power to appoint officials. Town meetings are not allowed and
British soldiers may go where they please.
January 6, 1775
War draws closer every day. Members of the New England militia have begun
training and are building up supplies. In September, a Continental Congess convened.
Some fifty-six delegates met in Philadelphia to establish a boycott of British good unless
the Intolerable Acts were repealed. Parliment denied a bill that would have repealed the
April 20, 1775
It has finally come. Yesterday morning the British were driven back from
Lexington and Concord. They are on retreat towards Boston. I fear I must evacuate my
family for their saftey. I will move them North where my wife will care for the children. I
am going to Cambridge to enlist.
Febuary 26, 1776
We are being led by General George Washington, a military hero from the French
and Indian War. Although it will be tough, we know we can hold our own against the
British after the militia stood firm at The Battle of Bunker Hill. Things are on the upside
for us. Late last fall, Fort Ticonderoga in Northern New York was captured by Ethan
Allen and a band of Patriots. As for us, we stood atop Dorchester Heights and
bombarded Boston. The British, now under the command of Thomas Gage, retreated
with about one thousand Loyalists.
March 2, 1776
The other day a pamphlet was circulating around the men. It was Common Sense,
by Thomas Paine. He argues that The American Colonies deserve independence, which is
the only remedy. The longer this is delayed, the harder it will be to win the war. That
alone will make an American union possibe. He calls the King a Royal Brute arguing that
all monarchies are corrupt. A particular quote on America?s destined independence:
?Every thing that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the
slain….cries , Tis time to part?
I strongly urge you to purchase a copy of this pamphlet. It gives meaning to the war I am
June 17, 1776
Life is tough. We are either without or in need of proper guns, horses,
ammunition, shoes, clothes, tents, and food. The money we have ids worthless so we are
unable to buy more supplies. Early in April we attempted to hold Manhatten and Long
Island. As it was assumed the British arrived in New York shortly after but in much larger
numbers than we anticipated. With the help of the Hessians, the British took this land and
we were forced to retreat to New Jersey.
July 9, 1776
Five days ago, the Congress adopted a Declaration of Independence. It declares
the colonies to be free and independent states. It was put together by a group of
America?s finest representitives including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas
Jefferson, who is rumored to be the primary author. A particularily striking part of this is;
?We hold these truths to be self-evedident; that all men are created equal;that they are
endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.?
Unfortunately, I must do battle before one of those will come true. I can not pursue
happiness if this nation is not free and I am not with you. I look forward to the day when
we are all able to be a family again.
January 3, 1776
It has been a rather cold winter. We are in New Jersey, camped south of the
Hessians. Our spirits are low. The Army is dwindlig fast. What was once a 20,000 man
army is now just a few thousand. However, we are riding the heels of two victories in a
row. The first one was at Trenton, where we caught the sleeping Hessians after having
rowed across the ice-clogged Deleware. Here we acquired much needed supplies
uncluding guns and ammunition. A few days ago we had another victory, this time at
November 7, 1777
The French have agreed to support our effort for Independence. This comes after
the victory of Horatio Gates and his men over British General Burgoyne at the Battle of
Saratoga. General Howe was no where in sight. He is reportedly already encemped in
Philadelphia for the winter after his victory there.
Febuary 28, 1778
It has been a brutally harsh winter here in Valley Forge. Our situatio here is bleak.
While the British are spending the Winter in Philadelphia, we are stuck here in a makeshift
city. There is a house, where Washington and his men stay, a few cabins, and many tents.
However, there is reason for hope. Baron Von Steuben, a professional soldier and
drillmaster from Germany, and Marquis De Lafayette, a nobleman from France, are hard
at work to turn this bunch into an army.
January 27, 1780
It looks like the war will not last much longer. A little more than a year ago,
Savannah was taken. Earlier in the month Charlestown was captured. We are headed
south to stop Cornwallis and help newly appointed general, Nathaneal Greene. However,
Greene, with help from the Cherokee Indians, has pushed Cornwallis to retreat in
Yorktown, Virginia. A French fleet is on its way and we should have the British pinned
by the end of next year. Virginia is a beutiful area and I hope I can convince you and the
children to move down here when the war does finally end. I look forward to seeing you
Chapter 2-The 1860s and the Cival War
November 28, 1860
The unthinkable has happened, Abraham Lincoln was elected President. He is
against everyting that this country stands for. The institution of slavery will not last much
longer. Although owners have tried to prevent slaves from hearing the news, word still
got around. They grow more confident everyday. I fear they will grow rebelious leading
to the end of the way of life as the south knows it.. Lincoln?s election leaves only one
March 2, 1861
Two months after South Carolina seceded, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Texas followed. They formed the Confederate States of America, electing
Jefferson Davis as the President and Alexander Stephens as the Vice President. Slavery is
a necessity that must be protected. It is the business of the South. War now seems
inevitable. The South will prevail!
April 14, 1861
War has begun. After the Union President decided to supply Union soldiers
occupying Confederate land, Confederate soldiers attacked Fort Sumter. It was a glorious
begining to the war. After a day of fighting, Confedarates captured the fort. This is a
matter that will be over in weeks. Those Yankees stand no chance against Dixie!
May 5, 1861
My Dearest Susana,
The Confederacy has stood their ground against the North. Two weeks
afterVirginia voted to join the Confederacy thcapital was set up in Richmond. The south
has a clear advantage. Our generals and soldiers are far too superior for the likes of
General Mclellan and company. The Confederacy will be lead by the great and
courageous Robert E. Lee. I have decided to sign up for the glorious cause of defending
the South from the agressors in the North.
July 23, 1861
My Dearest Susana,
Once again the Confederacy has proved victorious. Under the command of
General ?Stonewall? Jackson we stood strong against the Union. Outnumbered, we left
the Union Soldiers running scared and discouraged. The spirit of the North has been
broken. Indeed, this war will be over in a matter of months. I will be home to see you,
little Sara, and Anthony Jr. before you can blink. Til? we see each other again.
March 3, 1862
My Dearest Susana,
It now appears that the war will last much longer. We were just informed that
Nashville was captured. This comes as a great shock to us. We are beaten and broken.
The vast Union marches ever closer to Richmond. I am confident, however, that the
South will prevail.
April 26, 1862
My Dearest Susana,
More bad news comes on the heels of a Confederate loss at Shiloh. General
Johnston tried to suprise Union General U.S. Grant at Pittsburg Landing. We have been
told that it is some of the fiercest fighting yet. The fighting was a stalemate after the first
day. Exhausted, the soldiers camped out for the night. During the night, fresh Union
soldiers arrived by boat and attacked the sleeping Confederates at dawn. Although the
Union suffeered heavy losses the Confederates were cought off gaurd and forced to
retreat. New Orleans was captured a few days ago. Along with it, goes the control of the
June 4, 1862
My Dearest Susana,
I am deeply troubled by the news of Anthony?s illness. I wish I could be there to
care for him. I have found a new leisure. During our spare time the boys and I play this
game called baseball. It apparently has developed from the British game, cricket. The
main equipment is a bat and a ball. The pitcher throws the ball to the batter to try to hit.
If the batter hits it he then funs the bases. This game does require a bit of strategy,
however. The batter running the bags can be forced out if he has no other options or he
can be tagged out. If the runner does make around these four bases back to home they
score a point, or run. There are nine innings each team will receive a chance to bat and
pitch during one of these innings. At the end of the game the team with the most runs
September 1, 1862
It appears that the tide is turning. Two months ago, under th command of General
Lee, we met up with Union General McClellan outside of Richmond. Although we
suffered heavy losses, General McClellan was kept from capturing Richmond and forced
to retreat. Last week we had yet another victory at Bull Run. We are now just outside
Washingto D.C., marching straight to the White House!
September 19, 1862
General Lee made the decision to invade the North to gain the help of Britain and
France. We were stopped at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Mississippi by McClellan.
The horror I saw that day will last a lifetime. Men to the both sides of me were being shot
down. I was lucky to escape with my life that day. The battefield was stained red. This a
dark period of time for the Confederacy. My brothers are being struck down every day.
November 16, 1863
My Dearest Susana,
By now you have no doubt heard of that Lincoln?s intention to free the slaves of
the Confederacy effective January 1, 1863. He called it the Emancipation Proclamation.
It is not in his authority to issue such a document. Why did he not free slaves in the
North? Maybe it is because he knows it serves a purpose.
May 13, 1863
My Dearest Susana,
Forget Lincoln?s Proclamation! I remain confident that when we are victorious it
will be overturned. We deposed of two more Generals in the Battles of Fredricksburg and
Chencellorsville. However, we are starving and are deperately in need of supplies.
General Lee has once again decided to invade the North. We are curently headed to
Pennsylvania. I have heard that it is not much better in Richmond. I received word that
Anthony died of numonia. I sincerely regret not being there for him. I have been too
worried about keeping the Confederacy intact, I forgot about you at home. I may have to
soon desert my country in order to care for you and Sara.
July 6, 1863
My Dearest Susana,
By the time you receive this I will be within hours of home. The Battle of
Gettysburg began the first by a chance encounter. It was a bloody stalemate for two days.
Then, George Pickett led an assault on the Union center at Cemetary Ridge. In less than a
hour every man was cut down. I have never seen so much bloodshed. We just received
word that General Grant captured Vicksburg which was the last stronghold on the
Mississippi River. We are now split in two. The war will soon be over. I am headed
home with my head bowed in shame. The Confederacy has been sentenced to death.
September 29, 1864
It has now been over a year since I returned home. Richmond is still in Cofederate
hands. The Confederacy is barely alive. Earlier this month, Union General Tecumseh
Sherman captured Atlanta. He is destroying everything in his way. Every factory, field,
animal, and railroad in his way was completely destroyed. Relatives in Georgia say the
stench is unbearable. It is a matter of months before he reaches the coast splitting the
Confederacy yet again.
April 13, 1865
Four days ago General Lee surrendered. After Sherman captured Savanah in
December, he headed north. General Grant soon cut off the rail lines to Richmond.
Outnumbered two to one, Lee abandoned Richmond and headed to the hills. He was soon
trapped and forced to surrender. He surrendured at the Appotomax Courthouse.
April 15, 1865
That Lincoln is dead He was shot while in attending a play at Forbes Theatre. It
was by a local actor by the name of John Wilkes Booth. With his death goes the
possibility for a civilzed return to the Union. It now look as if it will be long road ahead.
With the release of the slaves, goes the southern way of life. I have heard of this
Homestead Act promising free land to any family head as long as they are 21. The only
conditions are that the land be kept for five years and improvements are made to it. I have
decided to take my family and move to Iowa.
Febuary 25, 1867
I recently read a story called Great Expectations. It is the story of an orphan bot
named Pip and his journey through life. The story begins as Pip is living with his sister.
One day Pip encounters a convict. He gives the man som food and goes on his way.
Later on he meets a young girl about his age, named Estella. He is instantly atracted to
her. He feels inferior to her and becomes intent on being a gentleman. Years later he
discovers that he has a benefactor that will pay his way through life. He then travels
around and becomes educated. During this time he again sees Estella, whom he still in
love with. Later he discovers that his benefactor was the convict he encountered as a
youth. He becomes content with the fact that he will never have Estella, until one day,
years later, he joins up with her and leaves with her hand in hand. He has learned the
meaning of friendship and love and is a better person for it. I hope that my children will
hav as muuch a chance for success as Pip did.
August 29, 1869
Earlier in the year the Trans-Continental Railroad was completed, liking Omaha,
Nebraska to Sacremento, California. I have thought about moving out there. My farming
is going pretty good but I hear nothing but stories of success from there. My life here is
lonly but I am content. Neighbors are miles away but we often get together at church or
county fairs to socialize.
Chapter 3-The Teens and the First World War
I recently read The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. It is an incredible tale of
phycological horror. The man discovers how to make himself invisible, only to later
discover he cannot reverse this. He goes mad with this gift and eventually has a
breakdown and goes on a murderous rampage. It is one of the best books I have ever
March 27, 1912
My father and I have decided to take our wives to England in order to come home
on the most luxurious liner ever to sail the seas, The Titanic. We are sailing first class.
My gradfather became rich out in Montana after traveling there in late 1875. He started
an extremely successful cattle company, which is still run by the family.
June 1, 1912
The whole world has by now heard of the great disaster of the Titanic. It struck an
Iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912. There were many lives lost, the likes of which I
hope I never see again. I lost my parents. My wife was on one of the first few lifeboats.
Mot mother was offered a seat on that boat, which she refused to be with father.
December 20, 1912
Well the Republicans are finally out of office. Last month Woodrow Wilson was
elected President by an extremely wide margin in both the electoral college and the
popular vote. Also the Democrats are already controlling the Senate and House of
Representitives. I am looking forward in great anticipation to the inauguration of
President Elect Wilson.
January 16, 1914
I have just recently purchased one of Henry Fords new Model T automobiles.
They are incredible. He found a way to mass produce these automobiles which will make
them cheap and affordable. It is a new way to spend my leisure. Life seems to have much
more freedom now. The automobile is no longer a luxery but an necessity.
August 13, 1914
After a time of peace, there is once again war in Europe. After the death of Franz
Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, Austria, along with Germany, declared war on
Serbia. Russia pledged to help Serbia and France pledged to help Russia. Most of the
other countries in Europe sided with the Allies, France and Russia, and The Ottoman
Empire and Bulgaria sided withe The Central Powers, Germany and Austria. Great
Britain was brought into the war with the German invasion of Belgium. The Britains
claim that the war will be over before the end of the year. For now, President Wilson has
pledged to stay out of the war.
April 10, 1917
Because the Germans violated the Sussex Pledge and the Zimmerman note was
made public, The US declared war on Germany. The Germans sunk a British ship, the
Lusitania, which had American aboard. They signed the Sussex pledge promising to not
sink merchant ships without warning and saving human lives. After violation of the
pledge, President Wilson broke off diplomatic ties with Germany. In March, the
Zimmerman note was made public, causing a wave of anti-German feeling. Several more
American merchant ships were sunk before President Wilson went to Congress asking for
a declaration of war on April 2. Four days later Congress voted to go to war. It is the
feeling of President Wilson and this country that this will be the war to end all wars.
May 15, 1917
The Selective Service Act is reqiuring all men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register
for military service. They are going to have a draft to choose those who go to war. It is
not necessary. Along with a group of friends, I have volunteered for the army. We are to
report to training camp in September.
June 15, 1918
I have now been in France for three months. I arrived in March and received word
that after the Bolshevik Revolution in November, Russia will no longer be fighting. With
the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Russia and Germany, the Germans
could now concentrate on the Western front. With the help of 120,000 in April, we
helped stop the German advance at Chateau-Thierry, some 50 mile outside of Paris.
October 19, 1918
The German lines have begun to crumble. We are pushing toward the German rail
lines near Sedan to cut off the supply of German troops. Unfortunately to do this we must
go into the Argnne Forest which is full of dense woods, deep ravines, and uncut barbed
wire. We have not gotten any rest in the last month. We do nothing but march all night
and fight all day. The American infantrymen are responsible for the turnaround. We are
November 11, 1918
You are no doubt hearing right now that the war is over. The peace treaty has
been signed. On November 7, we finally captured Sedan. The next day the Germans
asked for armistice. I am extatic. I don?t know if it has sunk in yet. No longer willl we
have to march through the rain and cold and listen to the sonds of exploding artillary and
wonder if it is us next. I am looking forward to seeing you again. It has been way too
long. I will be home soon.
July 29, 1919
I have been home for a while now. Life is begining to return to normal.
Yesterday, the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty
will cripple Germany. They are being stripped of their provinces and colonies. Their army
and navy are being vastly reduced. They are also being forced to pay reparations(they
would eventually total 33 billion). President Wilsons Fourteen Points were not agreed to
unfortunately. He did, however, get his League of Nations established. The League of
Nations proposal is part on the Treaty of Versailles, which has yet to pass the Senate.
January 19, 1920
I am in deep fear of a communist revolt. After the Bolshevik Revolution there
have been uprisings in Germany and Hungary. Two days ago, Attorney General Mitchell
Palmer ordered the arrest of 5,000 suspected communists. The American Cival Liberties
Union was formed to provide a defense to those who were jailed. Despite this the ?Red
Scare? continues. Over 200,000 Americans signed up to look for the ?Red Mennace? in
their neighborhoods. Although the communists are a threat, this is this the real problem in
Novembver 13, 1920
The Republicans have regained the White House with the victory of Warren G.
Harding and Calvin Coolidge. It was by an unprecedneted majority. Harding is promising
a return to normalcy. He is also going back to the policy of isolationism. It?s 100%
Americanism, as they put it.
Decades Project Bibliography
Nevins, Allan, and Commager, Henry Steele. A Pocket History of the United States:
Ninth Edition. New York: First Pocket Books, 1992.
DiBacco, Thomas V., Mason, Lorna C., and Appy, Christian G. History of the United
States. Boston: Houghton Miffin, 1995.
Microsoft Encarta ?97 Encycloppedia. CD-ROM. Microsoft, 1997
Wallbank, Walter T., et al. Civilazation Past & Present: Eith Edition. New York:
HarperCollins College Publishers, 1996.
David Perdue?s Cherles Dickens Homepage. Online. Internet. Available HTTP: