Winter 1863 No. 17



In the year of 1863, Johanna Cardiff was becoming a young woman; her country was split by war.  This is her journal; these are her journeys.



Dear Samuel,


I have written you several letters and have yet to receive one in return.  You have not written since the letter informing me of the death of our brother.  Why do you not find time to write to me?  You and I are all that is left of our family.  I cannot and will not believe you have been killed.  Neither the Army nor any of the returning sons of Elmira have informed me of your death.  I will assume you are living and will place my faith in the Lord, our Father, to keep you so until we are able to meet once again.

This war has not only torn our country apart, it has also wounded our town, possibly mortally.  You may recall I spoke of Josh Rumlage several entries ago, he was found dead a few days ago.  He was hanged from a tree and someone had written the word “coward” on a roofing shingle and attached the sign to the poor boy’s neck.

Josh was not able to pass the Army physical, but he was no coward.  Several members of the 42nd have been killed and several more wounded.  Some of the wounded have returned home and they will be crippled the remainder of their lives.  Everyone suspects that a few returning wounded, or families of the killed hanged poor Josh.

The Sheriff has asked for those responsible to come forward and of course, no one has.  Our new Minister has asked we all pray for tolerance, understanding, and forgiveness, of which there is very little.

Poor simple Josh, he only wanted to be a friend, and many of us refused him that simple request due to the odor he carried from his family’s business.  It shames me to have to admit that I was unable to find but a few minutes for him.

It seems that only yesterday, I stood, so proud of our town and watched you all march off to support our country.  Now, I am ashamed of the very people I stood next too.  I know that sounds harsh, to condemn an entire town for the actions of a few, but I cannot help it.  A few of our neighbors, people we have lived beside our entire lives thought killing an innocent man would somehow bring them release from whatever anger, sorrow, or pain they feel.  It sickens me so to think I might be sitting beside the very ones who did that when I attend church.

Please write me, Samuel.  I need to read your words of support and wisdom.  I need to know you live.  I need to know I am not alone.  I know this is a journal entry and to it, you cannot respond, but I have written several letters and will continue to correspond hoping and praying you will as well.  Do not forsake me, brother.

May God protect you and keep you safe is my dally prayer,

Your sister

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