Dear Diary,

Today is the day!!! I have been looking forward to today for a long time. I’m going home today! The war is over. I was never happier to hear such words. It’s been a long, tired and trying time. At times I wasn’t sure I would make it through. I’ve seen more than any man should. Brothers fighting brothers, families pit against each other, so much blood and all the deaths-more than I can count. I’ve been lucky and God has watched over me. I’m going home!

I wonder how Anna is doing. The girls are older now. I forget how old they are. Is it 5 and 7? I wonder if they will remember me. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here almost three years. Three years! I missed three years with them. Anna said she tells them stories about me and when I was there. I miss them and oh how I miss Anna. It will be good to be home again. I can remember the smells from the kitchen when she cooked.  Mmmm good meals and good times. I wonder how they are getting along. Her last letter said her mama was moving in to help out and she would be good company for her. It will be so good to see her again. It will be good to sleep in a bed again, to hold my girls again.

Three years. Wow! I remember the day I was sent off. Anna was crying and the girls were hugging her legs. They had no clue what was going on. I never did think I would be here this long. I can’t believe all that fighting we did to get one united country and then we are fighting among ourselves. We fought for freedom from the British and now we have to fight all over again to maintain freedom in our own country. Olé President Lincoln tried to keep us united, but those southerners had their own ideas. They was proud and thought they could do what they want. Wanting to keep people as slaves! They defied the president! Thought they knew better I guess, but we showed them.

I remember the first time we was in combat in Winchester Virginia. That was a bloody battle. And the thing is that we would get up close to those southerners, even look them in the eye before killing them. That day was the first time I killed a man. He came at me and I pointed my gun at him. I looked at him and hesitated firing my gun.  His eyes were full of anger, and I pointed my gun at him hoping he would take off running. He kept coming so I shot him dead.  I watched as he felt to the ground. I just stood there over him shocked that I had actually killed him. I thought I was going to throw up right there and then, but then I saw someone coming at me and I had to move. The guns and cannons were so loud. It was like the 4th of July all day and so loud. The smell of death and gun powder was enough to make you sick. I never did imagine I would ever kill a man and God help me that I did kill so many.  I didn’t sleep at all that night. I wondered about that man. Did he have a family? Were there little ones waiting at home for their Daddy to get back? God forgive me.  

I still have nightmares about all the deaths I have seen. The friends I lost in this war that would never again go home to their family. I feel so tired and so worn. I am glad to leave all this behind. Will we ever recover as a country? Will we have to fight this war again between ourselves? Did I do this in vain?

God, I am glad to go home to my family. I can’t wait to get away from here and go back home. I long for the peaceful nights and sound of crickets outside our bedroom window.  I’m going home.