The Civil War like many occurrence that have arisen in the history of mankind have untold stories that are waiting to be heard. However these stories by the common folk like me are not mere stories but are true events, just as real as any textbook. Here is my Civil War History.
In the year 1861, I, Locran O’Brien, embarked on the interminable voyage from Dublin, the heart of the Irish, to the United States of America. Life in Europe was a life of stagnation, advancement was a hope and dream but in the end it proved to be but a dream; America the land of the free was like a blank canvas waiting for the fine strokes of a skilled artists. Thus, I desired to be one of the many artists that would leave their mark. Arriving here I could the smelled the sweat and hard work of the everyday Americans that toiled to improve their lot, however to my astonishment I would happen to find a very dis-United States of America. The South had just secede and tensions that were boiling over seemed to calm down. In this fateful year I was able to secure a job as a dock worker thanks in part for my proficiency in the English language. The job was hard and long, the pay low but I couldn’t complain there were many other immigrants like me who could not get such a menial job for free blacks too sought these low-paying jobs. Thus, within the Irish community especially grew a hatred for the blacks for they stole the jobs that could make us into someone who had something, for everyone knew their lives could never improve but ours could.
Then war happened. I continued to toil day in day out, up North we knew that the mighty Union would defeat the South in a matter of months maybe even weeks. Life continued. Many others attracted by the pay and benefits of military service were eager to enlist. I however unlike what my name may suggest was never a “little fierce one” I saw the atrocities of war as unnecessary brutal.
The war dragged on longer than many of us had anticipated. Was the South this powerful? How will anyone continue to enlist after Antietam? These question soared through my mind. Some nights I even dreamed about the battlefield and the brutality and death that occurred there. During the day, I feared that one day I too like many of the Irish will be on the battlefield fighting side by side with the “nativists” that wished to expel me. To my luck that day would come soon for on March 3, 1863 a draft was enacted by Congress. I being of the ripe age of 33 was drafted, the fear and sadness would not match that of anything I have underwent in my lowly existence. However, I could not just stand idly and fight in this suicidal war that would terminate all of dreams and negate all the hours spent toiling. I will not fight for a country that fails to see me as their fellow countryman for my blood is as worthy as any pathetic rich snob. So when the fateful Draft Week of July 1863 arrived, I with my fellow countrymen rioted for ours voices must be heard over the whines of the wealthy, however soon in me as within many others like me grew a beast that consumed us with hatred, towards the rich, the native born, the government, and especially the job stealing blacks. We killed so many. So many who just wanted a better life like us. I was became the brute, the savage.
It is now the year 1864. One fifth of the Union Army is foreign born, I am now a part of the fifth. The war seems as if it may end soon. I am positioned as a solider under the leadership of Grant. We are now fighting in Cold Harbor, Virginia just in view of Richmond.
June 3, 1864
The battle has intensified and it seems as if this day may be my last. So I write this to the gentle soul that one day I envision will read this: your life is but a story masterly written by you, live and tell these stories for truly they are now history.
Bailey, Thomas Andrew, David M. Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. “Chapter 21.”The American Pageant. 11th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 426-56. Print.