“Spent the morning and afternoon at Church and heard two fine sermons. A Report received that Charleston and Columbia had been captured and the left wing of Shermans Army was within 25 miles of Richmond.” So wrote Lieutenant John Freeman Shorter (1842-1865) on February 19, 1865. Shorter raised as a freeman in Washington, D.C., joined the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1863 and became a fully commissioned officer. His diary details the experiences of a civil war soldier from January 1, 1865 to September 30, 1865. Helps us transcribe the rest of his diary and discover what life was like for an African American soldier during the Civil War.