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 we return to Savannah Harbor, where the Confederate ship Savannah was on patrol. Robert Watson, a Confederate sailor from Key West, was recuperating from the illness he wrote about in earlier diary entries. Today we learn a bit more about how Watson’s superiors dealt with illness in the ranks aboard ship.
Thursday 27th: Drill at broadside gun in forenoon. I was at work all day carpentering, making ammunition boxes, etc. I am now in the carpenters gang and excused from other duties for the present.
From Watson’s account we get a sense of what it was like to be a soldier on the mend from an illness like the fever he describes in earlier diary entries. The authorities were apparently wary of having him take on his normal routine and possibly relapse into sickness. To keep Watson in shape, however, they made use of him where his duties would be lighter.
For more information about Florida in the Civil War, check out the related resources below. Also, come back tomorrow for another edition of Civil War Voices. We’ll have another diary entry from Floridian prisoner of war Wilbur Wightman Gramling.
Related Resources on Florida Memory:
- Robert Watson’s Confederate Pension Application (State Archives of Florida / 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!)