LeRoy Gresham & his Civil War diary

LeRoy Gresham & his Civil War diary

A southern boy's look at life during the U.S. Civil War

I’ve read my old diaries and journals from high school and before and there was nothing to suggest that I would continue trying to write and nothing of the sort of writing that appears in “The Daily Record,” which is the journal of a teenager during the Civil War. “The Daily Record” is now being featured in the Library of Congress as part of a larger exhibit dedicated to the Civil War. 

As described in THIS, the teenager LeRoy Gresham was a naturalist, had an excellent grasp of descriptive ideas, but was a “partisan southerner” who was also a racist. 


LeRoy Gresham died the same year that the Civil War ended. All of the events of the Civil War and of his smaller life are recorded as they happened are much more easily understood given the context of time. It’s hard to determine whether or not his family was wealthy from the article I read, but he did have a valet that he came to care about. Of course, the valet was actually a slave. 


When LeRoy Gresham learned that the Civil War had ended, there was no CNN to let him know that the war had ended. He did not know that General Lee had surrendered until several days after the war ended. Neither did he know that President Lincoln, who Gresham referred to derogatory remarks in his journal, had died. 


LeRoy Gresham’s Civil War journal also contained a great deal of sadness about the war. He wrote about the funerals and deaths of people in the town of Macon as the South lost the war. 


It’s amazingly lucky that the Library of Congress still has LeRoy Gresham’s journal, which is seemingly a well-written personal account and perspective of what it is like to be living in the midst of a war in our own country. I wonder if the digital imprints and impressions will survive as long as the physical journals that once were used for historians to gain impressions and understandings once did. 


And as for the quality of the writer’s written material, it appears to have been exceptionally strong and creative from an early age. The writer’s quotes within the journal sound much similar to Mark Twain’s writing, who must have been an influence to the young writer.