The Civil War Diary

October 23, 1999

I had a great find today at a library used book sale. I am always looking for books and magazines whose copyright has expired (generally after 75 yrs) and whose pictures or lithographs I can scan.

Today I found such a treasure.

The "book" is actually a bound collection of a magazine which was printed over 100 years ago. It refers to itself as an "Illustrated Monthly Magazine" and these issues cover part of the late 1800's.

Treasures indeed...."open letters", articles illustrated with wood cuts and pen and ink drawings, stories and political writings, poetry and oh yes, a journal.

There are 16 pages of writing that was first written in pencil in a book which had leaves which were too soft to take ink legibly. The editor knew the author for 30 years and was given a clear and complete copy in ink, some 20 years after it was written.

At first I intend to publish it here, either as separate entries, or as tag-alongs to things which I write. Not sure which, since I have a wealth of material to work into my web site. One of the articles is called "Round About Jerusalem" and I intend to scan the prints and then either make a blended picture of the same site in modern times, or place them side by side in some manner.

Following is an excerpt from the diary. (I have found the second part of the diary in a library, now the question is, what to do with it.)

Dec 1, 1860

I understand it now. Keeping journals is for those who can not, or dare not, speak out. So I shall set up a journal, being only a rather lonely young girl in a very small and hated minority. On my return here in November, after a foreign voyage and absence of many months, I found myself behind in knowledge of the political conflict, but heard the dread sounds of disunion and war muttered in threatening tones. Surely no native-born woman loves her country better than I love America. The blood of one of its revolutionary patriots flows in my veins, and it is the Union for which he pledged his "life, fortune, and sacred honor" that I love, not any divided or special section of it. So I have been reading attentively and seeking light from foreigners and natives on all questions at issue. Living from birth in slave countries, both foreign and American, and passing through one slave insurrection in early childhood, the saddest and also the pleasantest features of slavery have been familiar. If the South goes to war for slavery, slavery is doomed in this country. To say so is like opposing one drop to a roaring torrent.

... pledging "life, fortune and sacred honor" for his country.

Know anyone who pledges his/her honor for anything?

It was half price day today, I got this treasure for all of 5 bucks.