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[Detail] Photographic Print of Tilton C. Reynolds, undated

A Soldier's View on Journal Writing

On August 6, 1863, family friend J.B. McCracken wrote the following to Juliana Reynolds:

And as to writing a journal of what I've seen I'm afraid I'd make but a poor stagger at it. Imagineation is to no great extent required, as long as facts are the subject. But it requires a better knack of connecting subjects without getting them too much mixed than your humble servt possesses to make one worth perusal, if not altogether tiresome.

From "Letter from J.B. McCracken to Juliana Reynolds, August 6, 1863"

  • What had Mrs. Reynolds suggested that McCracken do?
  • Do you agree with McCracken that, when writing a journal, imagination is not necessary as long as you stick to the facts? Why or why not?
  • McCracken said that in order for a journal to be worth reading and not be boring, the writer must have the "knack of connecting subjects without getting them too much mixed." To what other kinds of writing could you apply this description? Find examples of writing that you think violate and adhere to McCracken’s description.