Josie Underwood's Civil War Diary

By Josie Underwood

A well-educated, outspoken member of a politically favourite kinfolk in Bowling eco-friendly, Kentucky, Josie Underwood (1840–1923) left at the back of one of many few intimate money owed of the Civil conflict written via a southern girl sympathetic to the Union. This bright portrayal of the early years of the warfare starts numerous months earlier than the 1st pictures have been fired on fortress Sumter in April 1861. "The Philistines are upon us," twenty-year-old Josie writes in her diary, leaving absolute confidence concerning the alarm she feels while accomplice squaddies occupy her once-peaceful city. supplying a special viewpoint at the tensions among the Union and the Confederacy, Josie finds that Kentucky was once a hotbed of political and army motion, really in her native land of Bowling eco-friendly, often called the Gibraltar of the Confederacy. positioned alongside very important rail and water routes that have been very important for transport provides out and in of the Confederacy, town associated the higher South's exchange and inhabitants facilities and used to be strategically severe to either armies. taking pictures the fright and frustration she and her kinfolk skilled while Bowling eco-friendly served because the accomplice army's headquarters within the fall of 1861, Josie tells of infantrymen who trampled fields, pilfered vegetation, burned fences, lower bushes, stole foodstuff, and invaded houses and companies. In early 1862, Josie's outspoken Unionist father, Warner Underwood, was once ordered to evacuate the family's Mount Air property, which used to be later destroyed via occupying forces. Wartime hardships additionally strained relationships between Josie's family members, associates, and acquaintances, whose passionate ideals approximately Lincoln, slavery, and Kentucky's secession divided them. released for the 1st time, Josie Underwood's Civil conflict Diary interweaves firsthand descriptions of the political unrest of the day with specific bills of an lively social existence jam-packed with trip, events, and suitors. Bringing to lifestyles a Unionist, slave-owning younger girl who adversarial either Lincoln's regulations and Kentucky's secession, the diary dramatically chronicles the actual and emotional traumas visited on Josie's relations, group, and nation in the course of wartime.

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My instant relatives relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1966, and within the overdue Seventies I went away to college. My grandfather William Gaston Coke persevered to paintings the dairy farm till his dying. regrettably, at the moment my father made up our minds that retaining it used to be too burdensome, and the farm was once offered at public sale in 1980. even though the Kentucky domestic of my formative years used to be not in our kinfolk, and even supposing I lived and labored in different places for a few years, my middle and my innovations have been by no means faraway from south vital Kentucky. a number of years in the past, i used to be residing in l. a. whilst my son used to be born. That occasion rekindled my curiosity within the histories of my and my husband’s households, and that i started to paintings on genealogies of either. My aunt Esther Coke knew of my curiosity within the many branches of my family members and determined to ship me a replica of Josie’s diary from the Underwood aspect of my ancestry. It captured my mind's eye instantly. i used to be delighted to learn an impassioned first-person account of younger reports throughout the early a part of the Civil struggle, written through a member of my far-off family members. Her voice used to be transparent, her character robust, and her chronicle brilliant. The immediacy of her writing affected me and drew me into her international. The element with which she expressed herself made me visualize her atmosphere, made me listen the passionate and divergent ideals of her friends and family, and made me empathize with the non-public pains of conflict and loss. i used to be struck by way of the affection that she felt for participants of her kinfolk with whom she thoroughly disagreed and the sincerity of her dueling feelings as occasions spread out. It was once a Civil struggle diary like none I had ever learn sooner than. on the time, i assumed it was once vital for the diary to be released for 2 purposes. One, I was hoping that others might have an analogous event in examining the paintings. And , i presumed that as an ancient record, this diary approximately lifestyles in south imperative Kentucky in the course of the Civil battle was once certain. With my husband’s information, we tried to track the lengthy, mysterious trip the diary should have taken through the years. What we knew used to be manually typed, Xeroxed reproduction of the diary arrived at Christ Episcopal Church in Bowling eco-friendly in 1976; it were despatched from the useless letter department of the Atlanta submit workplace. It was once despatched to Christ Church simply because there has been a duplicate of Josie Underwood Nazro’s marriage certificates with the diary. She had married Charles A. Nazro within the church at the twenty sixth of October 1870. Christ Episcopal Church as a result grew to become it over to Western Kentucky college simply because there has been a wide Underwood assortment of their Kentucky Library Manuscript department. That leg of the adventure was once certainly strange, however the higher questions of who typed the diary, the place it used to be despatched from, and the way it arrived on the lifeless letter department of the Atlanta submit workplace proceed to stay a secret. there has been additionally the no longer insignificant factor of the criminal possession of the diary. As i mentioned those matters with my aunt and my father, they published they had been looking for the unique handwritten diary on and off for a few years.

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