Daniel Chisholm describes the day in his journal as only an eye witness can. We’ll turn to his account now:
“Monday, April 10th
We had a rain last night. This morning both armies busy cooking and eating what little grub we have. We have stacked arms a few yards apart. The boys in the Blue and in the Grey are trading everything that is tradeable. Hats, Caps, Penknives, Coffee, Sugar, Tobacco, Hardtack is scarce…The late hostile armies seem to have forgotten they were enemies yesterday morning, and are mixing and chatting the hours away in a very friendly manner. So the time flies. I feel to day that it is good to be here, when I look over our thinned ranks and miss the boys that stood side by side with us let it be rough or smooth. If we could only have them here to day to see what they helped to make possible; but alas! they are sleeping that long last sleep that knows no waking, scattered in unknown graves among the battlefields of Virginia or absent in the Hospital with shattered Health, wounds or amputated limbs.
Our rations that were due us to day came up and were given to the Johnnies and we wait another day without murmuring, for we were very short ourselves, and that makes me think that we are all Americans of the Old School of our Fathers. Oh! shaw, let things go. The Fair is still going on. The Blue and the Grey are all glad it seems to me that the cruel war is over — what a change a few short hours has made. The Shades of night comes on, all is quiet, all quiet on the lines, all quiet, and we try to sleep but cannot for the war is over and we feel so glad, so proud of ourselves, and so sorry for our comrades that have fallen by the wayside, that sleep is almost impossible.”
*All excerpts in this series was copied exactly how the author wrote them…bad grammar and misspellings included. 😉
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Source: The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chilsholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865
5 thoughts on “Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/10”
I love this! 🙂
We often don’t think about what was happening with the soldiers after the surrender–so much of our attention is focused more on the men such as Grand or Lee. This was great 🙂 🙂
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I’m glad you liked it. I just left you a message about how Daniel’s account helped inspire my version of things in the next novel. I didn’t realize which account was in the post. This one was the one I was thinking about. I really loved how they connected after the surrender. And it was these events that you probably recognize in the account given in may book.
Sure wish everybody could put aside their differences that fast and just get along. It’s so neat to hear the words of a regular soldier, what he was thinking and feeling. myfacebookemail23 at yahoo dot com. Following your blog, and here’s my share link:
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I think it’s really amazing too. I enjoyed reading and sharing stories like these. And like both of the comments mention, it’s so great to hear from the regular soldiers. You get a wonderful glimpse of everyday life from men like him. I certainly picked a great subject to study. 😉