Educator's Guide: Language Arts: A Sailor's Story Activity Sheet 1

Tuesday May 13th
At 10 P.M. a rocket was sent up from the flagship (The signal for action) In 10 minutes all hands had
their Hammocks lashed up and were at their Quarters ready for action_but the rebels did not come_we were kept at the guns all night. Weather warm. Musquitoes worse than the Rebels

Wednesday July 30th
last evening one of our men died: his name was Bennett Wells, he took sick on Sunday with a fit and then he had a conjestive chill since then he has been getting worse until last evening at 9 P.M. he expired. At 1 P.M. today he was buried on the bluff at Fort Pillow. He served 9 months in the infantry before coming on board the gun boat. He was a fine young man of about 22 years of age: His uncle Gideon Wells is the secretary of the Navy.

Tuesday August 12th
Several Secessionists aboard today said that they would not take the oath of allegiance and the Capt said he had no power to arrest them, neither was he authorized to administer the oath to them. I think it is shameful to /et such hardened traitors go after we have them safe in our hands. What is the utility of fighting if we do not punish traitors when we have them. I sincerely hope that those three grey headed traitors will meet their deserts. They own several hundred negroes and they say they had rather lose the whole than take the oath of allegiance to our government.

Tuesday Sept 9th
At 8 a.m. we weighed anchor and started down the river. Met 3 Rams coming up before noon. at 3 P.M we ran aground about 18 miles above Memphis, where we lay until 5 P.M. when the Str "City of Alton" came down and pulled us off of the sand bar. We than started down the river. We arrived at Memphis at 8 P.M. dropped anchor astern of the Gun Boat "St. Louis" I went ashore at 8 1/2 P.M. to buy grub but resumed at 12 m. without finding any_the stores being all closed. Weather clear_wind East_

Friday Sept 12th
At 1 P.M. we received on board Commander Selfridge (of the U.S. Frigate "Cumberland") as our Captain, Capt Bryant being in ill health he was sent home to recruit his failing health he left at 4 P.M. on the Str Brown at 2 P.M. Capt Selfridge made us a little speech in which he declared his intention of enforcing a rule heretofore unnoticed which was to not allow any profane swearing and whoever broke this rule was to be severely punished.

Sunday Sept 28th
At 9 P.M. we ran aground but by the assistance of the Strs "McGill" & "South Western" soon got off again. At 11 P.M. we dropped anchor about 50 miles from Helena Ark I had to stand watch from 8 P.M. to 12m today for not getting my hammock early enough. Weather dear wind Norwest.

1. How long did it take the crew to get ready for action?
2. What was "worse than the Rebels?
3. Who died on July 30th?
4. Who was his uncle?
5. Who were "Secessionists?"
6. Did they take the oath of allegiance?
7. How long was the CAIRO aground on Sept. 9th?
8. Why couldn't George find any "grub" in Memphis?
9. Who became the new captain of the CAIRO on Sept. 12th?
10. On what ship did he serve before commanding the CAIRO?
11. What rule did he want to enforce?
12. Why did George have to stand watch on Sept. 28th.

George Yost Diary materials used with the Permission: Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield Illinois

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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