www.whyville.net Oct 31, 2003 Weekly Issue

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The Civil War Diaries

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Hey everyone, kt98 here! For extra credit in my social studies class we were told to write a historical diary entry about major events in the Civil War, and I thought that many of you might be interested to learn some of the events so here it goes:

Dear Diary,

It is the year 1865 and the Civil War is finally over. The war will be a part of history forever, and I'll always remember it as the war that took my father's life. I'll remember it as the war that forced my brothers to fight. Mother advised me to write all about the events of the war in my diary, so as my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will know all about it.

The war began on April 12, 1861 at Fort Sumpter in South Carolina. You see it all began because the Union (that's what the northerners called themselves) still held forts in the south. Abraham Lincoln, who was the president at the time, sent relief expeditions to the fort. The confederates (that's what the south called themselves) attacked the fort and the war began.

After the war had begun, Lincoln requested that the Union states provide 75,000 militiamen for 90 days. Lincoln and the rest of the northerners believed that it would be a short war. But, they were wrong; the war lasted for five years! Anyway, the Border States (the Border States were states between the north and south; they were neutral) were angered by Lincoln's request, although I'm not sure why, and four of them seceded from the Union.

The next major event took place on January 1, 1863. On that day, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It said that all the slaves in the rebelling states were free, and any African Americans that wanted to fight in the war would be allowed to enlist in the Union Army. My family was greatly surprised at Lincoln's proclamation but luckily it didn't effect us much. You see I live in the north, and my family is anti-slavery.

The Enrollment Act of 1863 only effected people living in New York, people like my family and I. Congress passed the conscription act and said that all men ages 20-45 had to register for the military draft. My father and three brothers had to sign up for the draft. They were all picked by the lottery. They did have some choices though, they could have paid for a substitute, paid the Commutation Fee, or gone to war. My father thought that sending him and my three brothers to fight would help the war the most, so in July 1863 they left for war. You can't imagine how upset my Mother was! Her husband and sons all left in the same day, and they might never return!

Because of the Enrollment Act of 1863 Irish workers began sacking and burning homes of rich Republicans, attacking African Americans, and burning draft offices. They did this because they were poor and if they were picked by the draft they had to go to war unlike the rich upper class who could just pay the commutation fee ($300) or pay for a substitute.

The last event I would like to tell you about, dear diary is very hard for me to write. It is the Battle of Gettysburg, the battle that killed my father. From July 1, 1863 to July 3, 1863 the Union and Confederate Armies fought. It all began when General Lee (Confederate) sent soldiers into Gettysburg to get a supply of shoes. There they met Union cavalry and the battle began. My family was told that my father was part of Pickett's Charge, and he was shot to death.

The war has been over for about two months now and my brothers returned home about a week ago. None of them were severely wounded. My family was so happy to see them, especially my Mother! I had better go though, I'm suppose to be hanging the wash.

Your friend,

Amelia McCoy

I hope you all learned something about the Civil War!

Author's Note: Amelia McCoy is not my real name.


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