The Journal of Charles Rawn
August 30, 1863 to December 31, 1863 (Book 28)

Edited by Jennifer A. Barr-Osteen

During this period of his life, Charles C. Rawn is primarily focused on his role as commissioner of what he calls the Board of Enrollment. This Board consisted of a group of prominent men who were responsible for examining conscripted men throughout central Pennsylvania. Rawn will give his opinion about many of the men being examined for the military, both positive and negative qualities. He does not, however, give his opinion about the controversial issue of the Union Draft. Rawn takes this responsibility very seriously and seems to think that conscription is just a matter of fact. This may have been something that Rawn would have discussed in earlier journal entries when the draft first was implemented.

Rawn’s responsibility on the Board of Enrollment requires him to travel several times throughout the four-month span that was transcribed in this section of his journal. This included the towns of Sunbury, Selinsgrove (Rawn spells this Selins Grove), and Mifflintown. Rawn will take great care giving descriptions of these towns, such as their layout, physical details of the buildings and the hotels where he will visit, population figures, and the surrounding countryside. Rawn will also travel to Philadelphia for personal matters at the end of the year.

Through Rawn’s travels, we get a first person account of the forms of transportation of the time. Rawn travels by horseback for short distances, but uses wagons, carriages, canal boats, ferries, steamboats and the railroad, what he calls "the cars," for longer trips. Rawn does not seem to mind traveling during this time. The only negative comment he makes is that he does not seem to like to travel at night. When others in his party, including his son John Calvin Rawn, leave in the evening, Rawn waits and travels by himself the following day, stating that, "I shall remain until Monday as I not like night traveling."

Aside from discussing the Board of Enrollment and his travels, Rawn continues to keep records of his daily life throughout his journal. As he has always done, Rawn first makes note of the weather, describing the temperature and precipitation. He makes note of several "Indian Summer" days, as well as the need to use their fireplace when the weather becomes cooler. Another consistent journal entry is his walking schedule. Rawn makes an effort to walk every day, noting how many miles he walked, what direction, and what time of the day. The weather, his business schedule and even his personal health do not affect his walking schedule. He always finds the time to do his daily exercise and make several comments that he does this for his health.

Rawn continues to be a devout Christian, attending church every Sunday, often in the morning and in the evening. He continues to be a member and a trustee of the Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg. The preacher of their church, Reverend William C. Cattell, will leave this position to assume the duties of President of Lafayette College. This allows several visiting pastors in their church and Rawn discusses filling this vacancy, both in the church and in the Pastorate mansion. While Rawn travels for the Board of Enrollment, he attends a variety of churches and denominations in these towns. He often makes comments regarding the preachers and their sermons, stating what he liked and dislikes about them.

In comparison to Rawn’s earlier journal entries, he has very few entries regarding his legal career. Most of his legal work is preparing deeds, and he makes a few references to being the professional counsel in a handful of cases. He does not work at his office on a daily or even a weekly basis. Rawn’s responsibility with the Board of Enrollment seems to have taken time away from his legal practice during the Civil War.

Rawn does, however, continue to keep detailed records of all of his expenses, both personal and professional. These purchases range from the weekly purchases by his wife at the market to payments to individuals for the work that they are doing for Rawn and his family. He also includes some of his travel expenses, mostly to the omnibus and for help with his "trunks." The government or some other source must have covered additional costs during his travels for the Board of Enrollment, because he does not mention other transportation expenses, the cost of food, or lodging.

Rawn also keeps detailed records of his sources of revenue, most of which seems to come from the several properties that he owns throughout Harrisburg. He records the monthly rent he receives from several tenants. Other sources of revenue were his legal practice fees and business dividends. Most of the money that Rawn "received" is deposited in Dauphin Deposit Bank. He also keeps record of the taxes that he is required to pay throughout the year.

Even though the majority of Rawn’s journal entries are examples of record keeping, there are some points throughout where he makes comments about the people, places, and events occurring around him. He makes notes about the people that he encounters, statements ranging from people being "drunken, inefficient" to someone who is "of fine appearance." Rawn writes about some of the social events that take place, commenting on the visits that he makes with others, as well as people visiting him. He often talks about taking "tea" or having meals with people, the types of discussions they will have, and any music they may listen to. In his December journal entries, he mentions that hundreds of people are participating in the Harrisburg skating club. This seemed to be a favorite activity of "men and women from 70 years down." Rawn describes the events of his family on "Thanksgiving Day" and Christmas, which includes the different gifts that the family exchanges and his plans to buy his daughter Fanny a piano.

Family was a consistent topic throughout Rawn’s entries. His wife is often mentioned, usually either through the letters he writes her while he is away, her expenses, or the evenings that he spends with her. His son John Calvin spent a lot of time with his father as a clerk of the Board of Enrollment. Rawn’s daughter Fanny is often mentioned, either as she is traveling with her mother or as she receives money from her father, or as she participates in events. Rawn’s oldest son, Charles, is only mentioned twice. The first mention concerns a letter that he received from Charles while he is in Sante Fe, and the second mention concerns his twenty-six birthday. Rawn also mentions other relatives, such as his sister Juliana, some of his in-laws, and some distant relatives, such as an uncle, William Cheyney, who died in Philadelphia.

There are other deaths that Rawn writes about in his journal. He was not able to attend his uncle’s funeral in Philadelphia, but does write about several other deaths during this time, including the deaths of family members of the Board of Enrollment. Rawn also talks about the health issues of his family, members of the Board and himself. Many of the people around him are often ill, which prevents people from attending the Board meetings, church or other social events. Rawn describes his own physical ailments several times, ranging from "soreness & tightness all down the right side of the chest", "feverish – aching in bones" to "soreness across the kidneys." Even when Rawn is not feeling well, that never seems to slow him down. He continues to attend the Board examinations, goes to church, and even walks two to three miles.

In regard to national events, it is surprising that Rawn make very little mention of the Civil War itself. Other than working for the Board of Enrollment, he only makes a few comments about the political events of 1863. On October 13, Rawn mentions that he "voted for the whole Republican Ticket" and did not vote for Judge Lawry whom he would have voted for if he was not associated with the Democratic Party. He writes that the Republican Party "who in political drift did & encourage the informal Rebellion – the destruction & enemies of the country." After the election, Rawn mentions the Copperheads, stating that they are "disunionists and whats in Penn Ohio and Iowa have been…whipped at the late elections – They are whining like kicked cats and deserve a lower depth of infamy that they will probably reach under the scorn and contempt the country living and country sustaining unionists." Aside from these statements, Rawn says very little about the war and states in rebellion. It does not seem to be a daily source of information and it has not changed how people live or travel during this time. There does not seem to be any threat from another invasion of Confederate soldiers in Pennsylvania.

The Journal

Transcriptions for this section of the journal begin August 30, 1863 and end December 31, 1863. Click on a date to begin reading.

List of Names Mentioned

A list of names for this section of the journal has not yet been compiled.

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PDF Icon Book 28: 1863-08-30 to 1863-12-31