The Civil War diary of a private from Sheboygan County
Civil War Diary of Reuben Sweet
What was it like to fight in the Civil War? This diary kept by a young Wisconsin soldier from Nov. 1863 to Jan. 1865 portrays it in the everyday language of a farm boy. Reuben Sweet grew up in rural Sheboygan County and enlisted as soon as the call went out for volunteers. When his initial 90 days were up he re-enlisted for the duration of the war, and these day-by-day notes convey his experience in plain words. There is much here on the challenges of daily life, such as the weather, meals (or the lack of them), laundry, illness, and the landscapes he marched through. But Sweet also gives eyewitness accounts of battles and skirmishes as he traveled with the 14th Infantry across Tennessee to Atlanta, and then on with Gen. William Sherman's troops to the sea - - more than 1,200 miles in all. The Atlanta Campaign is described on pages 13-20, and his work destroying the infrastructure of the southern states under Sherman's command, from Atlanta to Columbia, So. Carolina, occupies much of the last 10 pages.