1864 NEW YORK SCHOOLGIRL’S JOURNAL INCLUDING WAR REFERENCES, INCLUDING A 140TH NEW YORK SOLDIER’S FUNERAL

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Item Code: 1054-2063

Untouched as attic found is this Ogden, New York school girl’s finely penned journal. Faithfully logging her entries each day without exception beginning January 1, 1864, Matie Nichols abruptly ceases her effort on Saturday, November 12, 1864, leaving the reader without a clue as to what might have caused the cessation of her faithful entries. Matie offers the reader a wonderful opportunity to peer into the daily life and private thoughts of a Civil War era schoolgirl. Daily entries of family visits, school, friends and what seems to be casual but worthy of her notation contact with boys are entwined with such activities as housekeeping, quilting, dressmaking, cooking, etc.

Of special interest to the Civil War historian will be Matie’s occasional and, to the casual reader, somewhat innocuous reference to the war. On the very first page of her journal on 1/3/64, she notes that Sunday service included the funeral of O. Kellogg. She writes that “Mr. Fox preached” and offers her insight as she pens, “sad it is to think that another one is passed from this to another life with no hope of a bright future. How vividly did it remind me of a loved one on the battlefield never more shall we see that smiling face. Gone, gone forever”. A sad twist of fate is revealed when the reader realizes that the subject of her lament, 23 year old Pvt. Orin Kellog of the hard fought 140th New York Infantry, was brought down by disease only after his regiment was engaged in some of the hardest fighting of the war. Enlisting on 8/27/62 at Spenserport before his death from typhoid fever on 12/3/63, Kellog would see battle at Fredericksburg, participate in the Mud March, see battle at Chancellorsville and distinguished itself for heroic action beside the 20th Maine on Little Round Top on Gettysburg. Matie records another “soldier’s funeral preached” in her October 30th entry.

Such a record of the war time life of a young girl at home, her daily goings on and thoughts of young men in the field are worthy of preservation and appreciation. [ld]

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