Spring 1862 No. 9


In the year of 1862, Johanna Cardiff was becoming a young woman; her country was split by war. This is her journal; these are her journeys.



Dear Brothers,

Do not be mistaken, the snow is still deep and the mountain paths we walked to pick berries are still covered, but spring is hinting its return. The willows along the canal and streams are starting to show color and at each passing day, it seems the color of the sap returning stands taller on the sprigs.

The air remains cold and it nips at our noses and lungs as we breathe, but even it seems to carry the scent of blossoms and the promise of new growth.

Maybe it is the change of the seasons, or possibly it is only the knowledge we have survived the holiday season without you, but our home and our town seems to be more pleasant place to live. You, and the other men have been gone a harvest season and those of us left behind were able to more than manage the tasks that fell us. We have developed a sense of community and with that, a feeling of confidence.

Of course, we all hope and pray the war ends soon and you all return unharmed, but we also realize we have no control and as such are swept along as if we were nothing more than leaves in a fast moving stream. I have no way of knowing, but I wonder if that is not how you all feel as well.

It must be a strange sensation, learning, practicing, and repeating the same actions, and knowing those actions are designed to kill another man. How must your actions conflict with your beliefs of not killing? I pray the Lord will give you the strength needed to see you safely home. Please do not hesitate to do what is expected of you. Remember there is a season for all things, and it is time Goliath was smitten.

I must share with you that while not a one of us has been taken into Mister Lincoln’s confidence, the entire town believes this is the year the war will end. We have no way of knowing the plans of our leaders, but we have convinced ourselves this campaign season will see the end to it all.

Our armies are at full strength now and Col. Maddox has told me, without breaking confidences that the new recruits are trained to standard and are ready to face the foe. It will not be a repeat of Bull Run, when our soldiers were not prepared. After our forces meet the enemy in the field and deliver to him a few bloody noses, Johnny Reb will see surrender is the wiser of the choices available and you will all get to come home. What a home coming that will be. Parades, picnics, dances in the social hall, I get myself giddy just thinking about it.

Speaking of giddy and you must promise not to tell mother, Col Maddox escorted me to the Christmas dance, held on the Post, and during the course of the evening introduced me to wine. Samuel, do not get angry with me, Col. Maddox was a gentleman at all times and only allowed me a couple of tastes. I admit it warmed my toes and if given my lead, would have consumed more, but he forbade it.

Speaking of mother, she soldiers on, but the worry she feels for her sons is starting to show on her. She spends most of her days reading her Bible and when not so consumed, she is in prayer asking for you safe returns. She worries about you both, but has become guilt ridden about asking Samuel to enlist. She wishes she had done otherwise. Please find the time to write to her and let her know you are both in good health.

Be safe my brothers and hurry home.

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