Essay: Samuel Watkin's Diary Patriotism

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[. . .] The second supposition of this essay is that the terrain and climate in which the experiences took place also had a significant effect on Watkin's experience as a soldier. This, Watkin's also conveys through similar passages and descriptive techniques. The following is an example of how the terrain affected the mental state of Watkins and other soldiers in his regiment.

"No sooner would we arrive at a place that seemed to be the top than another view of a higher, and yet higher mountain would rise before us. From the foot to the top of the mountain the soldiers lined the road, broken down and exhausted." (p. 9).

Watkin's talks about how the most patriotic soldier can lose their heart when the conditions become tough, even to the point where they speak against their leaders. In the following example, we will see how sufferings shaped the experience of not only Watkins but his fellow soldiers as well.

"The snow and ice on the ground being packed by the soldiers tramping, the horses hitched to the artillerywagons were continually slipping and sliding and falling and wounding themselves and sometimes killing their riders. The wind whistling with a keen and piercing shriek, seemed as if they would freeze the marrow in our bones. The soldiers in the whole army got rebellious -- almost mutinous -- and would curse and abuse Stonewall Jackson" (p,14)

The following is another glimpse of Watkin's experiences with the weather.

"I could hear nothing for the roaring of the storm, and could see nothing for the blinding rain and flying dirt and bricks and other rubbish. The storm lasted but a few minutes, but those minutes seemed ages." (p. 42)

It was apparent through his adjectives and descriptions of the terrain and weather that he was not accustomed to these conditions. He seldom mentions the weather when it is pleasant and sunny. However he spends considerable time describing the conditions when they are miserable. He seldom uses positive descriptive words when talking about the terrain or weather. In summary, a close reading of Watkin's work demonstrates that he was a patriot heart and understood the larger issues surrounding the war.

If one takes the work as a whole, a pattern develops in Watkin's writing. He seems to have written about whatever stands out most in his mind at the time. Unlike modern journalism, he does not try to give an unbiased account of the happenings that he witnesses. This is a personal diary and provides a view of the world from his viewpoint. In the beginning of the narrative, Watkins discusses the "issues" surrounding the war. He spends much time on the pleasures of the ladies, but complains about the terrain and weather. As circumstances deteriorate, most of the narrative is spent talking of hunger, and misery.

These are only a few examples to illustrate how circumstances of the war shaped Watkin's experiences and influenced his writing. Watkins often mentions the terrain and climate as a factor in the war and how he and the other members of his regiment felt at the time. The amount of misery and suffering undoubtedly had an effect on his opinions. Many examples that support this thesis can be found throughout Watkin's narrative. The examples provided are excellent examples of Watkin's work in relationship to the thesis being presented.

In conclusion, Watkins circumstances had a decided affect on his experiences and thusly affected his writing style and narrative. Through example, it is been demonstrated that Watkin's culture had a significant influence had a significant influence on his wartime experience and the opinions that he expressed about the war. Both his place in larger society, being from the South, and his social status had a significant influence on his views of his experiences. The second circumstance that shaped Watkin's experiences and the manner in which he related them was the climate and terrain in which he fought. However, this did not detract from his misery as a soldier, particularly when it came to the conditions that he and other soldiers had to face on a daily basis.

Works Cited

Watkins, Samuel Rush. "Co. Aytch" Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment

or, A Side Show of the Big Show. Reprinted from Project Gutenburg. < >. Accessed July 24,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Samuel Watkin's Diary Patriotism.  (2012, July 25).  Retrieved May 26, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Samuel Watkin's Diary Patriotism."  25 July 2012.  Web.  26 May 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Samuel Watkin's Diary Patriotism."  July 25, 2012.  Accessed May 26, 2019.