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Jared B. Abbott’s Journal Entry - April 5, 1862
Corporal as of
April 5, 1862
None of us are promised tomorrow.
That’s what jumped to my mind when the General told us we would attack tomorrow. None of us are guaranteed another day, you know? So maybe some of us will die tomorrow, and some might fall asleep and never awake in the morning. Why worry about perishing tomorrow when it could happen this very evening?
The world could even end, who knows. All I’m saying is that there’s no purpose in crying about tomorrow. No, we should be crying about today. The tragedy, deaths and merciless killing of this war...yes, today we should be crying. Today, because tomorrow never comes. Today, because it’s all that really matters in the end. Today, because we don’t ever get to be in the future.
Thousands of years from now, people will look back on this battle in their history books with a passing glance. They may think upon it for a few minutes. But in the end, it won’t be what matters. It’ll be the war’s result that they will know.
We are here to win this. To win it, so that the children of the future, black and white alike, can share the story of our struggle. For them, so that they can live in freedom. That’s why we’re fighting this war. That’s the only reason I’m still stuck in this pit of terror and death.
I want the children, all of them, to be proud of who they are. I want them to be able to learn how to read and write, and I want them to do what all children should do: enjoy their childhood, not work as a slave for some harsh white man.
All of us here on Earth are completely equal. It doesn’t matter if one of us is a little more smart, or dresses better. Because in the end, talented or not, we’re all still stuck on this planet. And either you learn to accept others with different skin colors or you will go down alone.
Several minutes ago, the General spoke with our drummer boy. Since I lie nearby, I can’t help but overhear their conversation. The General isn’t hopeful about tomorrow. He knows that many will die. He realizes that the Union will push forward with everything that it has got.
Drummer boy had been crying. The General admitted to crying too - but I haven’t been able to. Perhaps it is because I know that my family is already above, watching me and hoping I do them proud tomorrow. Or maybe it’s because I am completely at peace with what is to happen.
My family died because of the Confederate soldiers. The pain that rips through my when I write this is almost unbearable - Little Johnny, Mary, Caroline, Mother and Father. They have done their part in protecting the slaves on their journey north, now I must do my part.
Because I am a Union soldier, I am ready to give my life to keep those living in slavery. I may die tomorrow, but if others are allowed to live in freedom, then my life was well sold.
I may never write in here again. And if I don’t, please ship this journal to Greenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA - the place where my family is buried - where it shall be placed in the Abbott family plot.
I wish God’s blessings upon you, dear friends.
Corporal in the Union Army
United States of America