In Their Own Words
January 03, 1864
Diary Entry Showed Shortages Affecting Family
A woman living in Camden County - Julia Johnson Fisher - confided to her diary about how the shortages during the war were adversely affecting their lives.
The children in the village are now old enough to begin to learn. A few weeks since we commenced having a Sabbath School. There are five in the class. Only one knew the alphabet, they seem very anxious to learn and learn readily, but Mr. Brazil is so frightened at the coming of the enemy that he has resolved to move away and that takes away the three little girls. I am sorry to lose them and they seem equally sorry to go. The sabbaths are so quiet and lonely they weary us. The children now know all their letters and seem to have received their first idea of their maker. The oldest is scarcely ten years of age and very sickly. She told me today that although she could not read and write she can iron and scrub. It is said that she and the next, aged eight, cook, wash, etc. If this war continues long I fear that such will be our fate, the negroes are becoming so scarce. Dianah returned after dinner with her two children–had walked about eight miles in the rain. She brought a hen and a bottle of syrup for Clarence–a Christmas gift. Mr. Linn came home to visit his family from camp, to the great joy of his wife who has been mourning for him. She and her little boy are entirely alone and pass as lonely a life as can well be imagined–having to sit by the fire week after week without sewing or knitting and almost without reading. There is no cloth to be had and no thread, no yarn–nor anything to do with. Time passes heavily under such circumstances. It makes us think of home and the abundance we once enjoyed; but however great our longings, there is no redress. For three long years the world has been comparatively lost to us. We know nothing of the changes that have taken place during that time. In dress we are just where we were in 1860–for fashion, but rags and wrinkles are more plentiful. Mr. Fisher dressed very shabbily. I have used bedticking–sheets–curtains and the linings of my dresses to clothe him and now we know not where to get anything more. All the old spinning wheels in the country have been put in operation and every thread that is spun has a quick demand. Mrs. Linn wears a course homespun dress that cost her $42.00. Now we cannot purchase even at that rate. Mr. Linn brings the good news that old Black Nelly is coming to live with them again which has brought joy to the household.