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This fall, students in an American literature class at the California University of Pennsylvania have an unusual textbook — the actual journal of a Civil War soldier. George Phillips fought in the 102nd regiment of the Pennsylvania infantry. He wrote about historic events such as the Battle of Gettysburg, the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Reading his journal gives students a first-hand account of what it was like to be there when these historic events happened. It also exposes them to a kind of writing they don’t usually see. Phillips, who was a German immigrant, wrote in a mixture of German and English and used inconsistent spelling. Students are working in pairs to make a digital copy of the journal so that others can read it.

Read more about the journal and the process of working with historical texts.

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