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  Topic: Invalid boy’s diary focus of
Library of Congress Civil War exhibit
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Invalid boy’s diary focus of
Library of Congress Civil War exhibit

Washington Post, by Michael E. Ruane

Original Article

Posted By:MissMolly, 11/11/2012 5:34:09 AM

On a blazing Wednesday in July 1862, an invalid teenager from Macon, Ga., opened the journal he was keeping to make his daily entry. “Terribly hot,” he wrote. It was so hot that beads of his sweat fell onto the page. He tried to rub them off, but they smeared the ink. Mindful of his readers, he explained, “notwithstanding we have just eaten a nice melon .?.?. perspiration pours off me and drops on the book.” A century and a half later, LeRoy Wiley Gresham’s smudges still mark the page, in a kind of communion

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Fiesta del sol, 11/11/2012 5:44:54 AM     (No. 9006522)

Thanks for posting this! Amazing. What a story, what a life. In some parts, I know exactly how he feels.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: DaddyO, 11/11/2012 6:47:51 AM     (No. 9006560)

I read a diary from a woman who lived through the civil war in a house a half mile from the one I grew up in, in SC.

She mainly wrote about the weather, her irritating slaves ("After all I´ve done for them!"), and that devil Lincoln.



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Reply 3 - Posted by: anonymous, 11/11/2012 7:37:14 AM     (No. 9006616)

This is a wonderful and moving article. The writings of the boy are like images that flash across the decades. I also sensed his intelligence and his frustration at not being able-bodied.

In a general sense, I often think about what people were like back then and have come to the conclusion that they were no different from us in their innate characteristics. Of course, they did not have the technology or the medicines or the mass transport that we have today but, in their innate essence, they were exactly like you and me.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: PageTurner, 11/11/2012 7:53:44 AM     (No. 9006643)

As a child, I was fascinated with the Civil War precisely because there was so much material like this. I used to go read my dad´s 1950s American Heritages and find countless stories and letters just like this - from soldiers, children, schoolteachers, waiting wives, tradesmen. I felt I could connect to this world.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Susannah, 11/11/2012 8:03:15 AM     (No. 9006655)

That was a great article. Thanks for posting it. Diaries and letters from the past are authentic, unfiltered history.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: PageTurner, 11/11/2012 8:21:25 AM     (No. 9006686)

Interesting - the day the kid died was the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: HotRodLincoln, 11/11/2012 8:55:25 AM     (No. 9006750)

What a fascinating story and what a gifted writer was this boy. It is my guess he suffered from osteomylitis from a poorly set fracture of the tibia. Without intensive antibiotic treatment unavailable until the second half of the 20th century this would lead to a slow and painful death. How very sad. This boy´s personal trials reflect on the whole of the painful death of the Confederacy itself.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: asu86pe, 11/11/2012 9:45:32 AM     (No. 9006860)

FTA: At 13 he wrote “War! Thou demon that ravishes fair countries, stay thy mad career.” This is a symbol of how the 13 year olds wrote in 1862.

OK, our educational system clearly has failed our youth and has now become a symbol of an undermining EVIL!

Our youth vote for a man who indebts them beyond their life and wait to find jobs at minimum wages.

To paraphrase our subject, "Illiteracy! thou demon that cripples our fair youths minds, stay thy mad career."

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Reply 9 - Posted by: Distorted, 11/11/2012 10:05:35 AM     (No. 9006901)

Start your own diary now to chronicle the fall of our once great American society into first economic oblivian and then whatever follows. Tip: make it on paper rather than virtual means.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: redtexanontheprairie, 11/11/2012 10:45:13 AM     (No. 9007006)

Thanks for posting such an interesting and moving story.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: JHHolliday, 11/11/2012 11:05:23 AM     (No. 9007052)

Wonderful article. Our local museum has the CSA belt buckle that my great grandfather wore in ´The War´.

A strange feeling when I got to actually hold the buckle in my hand. I guess it´s why I have always been fascinated by that period and history in general.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: bullhead, 11/11/2012 12:48:23 PM     (No. 9007268)

A poignant story. Thanks for posting.

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