Educator's Guide: Language Arts: A Sailor's Story


George R. Yost joined the crew of the U.S.S. CAIRO on January 25, 1862, at the age of fourteen. He was 4' tall, had grey-blue eyes, sandy hair, and a fair complexion. On the CAIRO's muster roll he is listed as First Class Boy. George served on the CAIRO during the entire course of her career which, unfortunately, lasted less than one year. On December 12, 1862, the U.S.S. CAIRO became the first man-o-war sunk by a torpedo. George Yost writes that he was among the last to leave the sinking vessel, and states, "I saved my Journal and part of my clothes" Thanks to the foresight of George Yost, we have today an invaluable source of information about the career of the U.S.S. CAIRO and her crew. The Journal has survived and with it the details of day-to-day activities on board the Civil War Gunboat ... told through the words of a fourteen year-old sailor.


The following Activity Sheets contain excerpts from the Journal of George Yost. Provide students with copies of both Activity Sheets. Instruct students to read through the Journal entries and then answer the questions listed at the bottom of the page(s). George Yost Diary materials used with the

Classroom Activities:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • 6-12


Students will learn to retrieve historical data primary sources.


Copies of Activity Sheets.

Activity Sheets:

Permission: Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield Illinois

Last updated: April 14, 2015

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

3201 Clay Street
Vicksburg, MS 39183


601 636-0583

Contact Us