The following post is part of an ongoing series entitled Civil War Voices from Florida. Each day in October 2014, Florida Memory will post a document from the collections of the State Archives of Florida written exactly 150 years before that date, in October 1864.
Today on Civil War Voices, we brave the cooler weather and head north to Elmira, New York to check in on Floridian prisoner of war Wilbur Wightman Gramling.
Transcript: Saturday, Oct. 15, 1864. A.M. fair and pleasant today though we had considerable ice this morning. Wrote to Matt and to the camp at NY today. Wrote for tobacco. Still in good health.
Earlier in the month, Gramling confided in his diary that he was worried about surviving the cold New York winter. If it was already freezing overnight in mid-October, one can imagine how this might have heightened his concerns. Today, however, he seems less alarmed by the changing season, perhaps owing to the clothing and other supplies he had been receiving from family and friends like John T. Desellum of Maryland (see related blog from October 5th).
We’ve done a little digging to see who the “Matt” in this entry might be. Gramling had a sister named Martha, who was often called “Mattie.” The content of other diary entries tell us “Matt” knew enough about Gramling’s father to report on his health, so it’s possible “Matt” was an even shorter abbreviation for Martha. Since our version of the document is a transcription, it’s also possible that the original might have additional clues.
That, of course, is part of the fun of working with historic documents like the Gramling diary. If this kind of research appeals to you, drop by the State Archives sometime to examine materials relating to your favorite Florida history topic, or see what we have available on Florida Memory.
For more information about the Civil War in Florida, check out the related resources below. Also, come back tomorrow for another edition of Civil War Voices. We’ll be in Savannah Harbor to examine another diary entry from Confederate sailor Robert Watson.
Related Resources on Florida Memory:
- Florida Memory Learning Unit: Florida in the Civil War
- Florida Memory Exhibit: Distant Storm: Florida’s Role in the Civil War
Related Resources at the State Archives of Florida:
Related Resources in Print:
- Biographical Rosters of Florida’s Confederate and Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 (find in a library near you!)
- Florida in the Civil War, by Nicholas Wynne and Robert Taylor (find in a library near you!)