Sunday, 1864 December 25, [near the Cane River, Natchitoches, Louisiana]: “How happy I should have been to have spent this day with my family”

[A war weary Louisiana Confederate engineer’s Christmas diary entries.]

Sunday, Dec. 25
This is Sunday the Lord’s day but
Oh how it is kept, not as in times
passed, [sadly] there is no religion
in the army, no fear of God
or man. When Oh when
will our people return to
virtue, when will this unholy
war close—But this is Christmas
a day of feasting and yes
drinking—We had a good Eggnog
this morning which made
it appear like Christmas, but
how happy I should have been
to have spent this day with
my family—but here I am in
the army and by the appearance
of things I am to see another
Christmas in the army, but
my prayer to God is that peace
will dawn upon the land Soon.
I am in good health thank
God. No news of any kind.

Wednesday, Dec. 28
Thank God I am in good health.
The weather is a fickle as an old
maid, nothing new, and no
news–consequently I have nothing
to write.

[Editor: Corporal John L. Sharitt [Sharrett/Sharritt], Jr. (October 17,1825-?), a New York-born civil engineer, moved to Louisiana in 1858 and lived at “Lucky Hit,” a Rapides Parish plantation, with his wife and daughter Rebecca Ann. In September 1864 he was mustered into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States’ 4th Engineers Regiment [4th Regiment, Confederate Engineer Troops] and served the remainder of the war as a corporal in Company I (?). The 4th Engineers, organized at Shreveport, Louisiana, was later commanded by Colonel Hugh Thomas Douglas, 1st Regiment, Confederate Engineer Troops, and chief of engineers for General Edmund Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Paroled as a prisoner of war at Alexandria, Louisiana, in June 1865, Sharitt returned to Rapides Parish. He spent much of the war constructing pontoon bridges and, unlike many Confederate soldiers, was stationed near his home county (parish) which enabled him to occasionally visit his family. Throughout his diary Sharitt comments on his health, the weather, Louisiana place names, daily activities, the lack of Sunday religious services, second-hand war news, the dislike of commissioned officers, the hopelessness of the Confederate cause, and his longings for the war’s end.]

MSS 6114

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