A Civil War soldier’s satirical take on the news, 1863

Between battles, marches, and military exercises, Civil War soldiers spent their free time in camp playing music, writing and reading letters, and, for those with the skill, sketching scenes from the day. This unknown soldier’s sketchbook from 1863, “A Few Scenes in the Life of a ‘SOJER’ in the Mass 44th,” recounts the adventures of a soldier named “Gorge,” or “George,” and follows the movements of the 44th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in New Bern, North Carolina. The cartoons satirize the war, army life, and the the way Northern newspapers reported the war. 
Newspapers, like letters, were a source of camp entertainment. In the sketches below, the artist juxtaposes images of newspaper headlines with the humorous and less exciting reality he saw in camp.

“A Few Scenes in the life of A ‘SOJER’ in the Mass 44th.”  (The Gilder Lehrman Institute, GLC08200, pp. 25-28)