of Louisiana Literature
Dora Richards Miller.
George Washington Cable, ed.
“War Diary of a Union Woman in the South: 1860-63.”
WAR DIARY OF A UNION WOMAN IN THE SOUTH
||The Volunteers.—Fort Sumter
||A Beleaguered City
||How it was in Arkansas
||The Fight for Food and Clothing
||Drowned out and starved out
||Homeless and Shelterless
||Frights and Perils in Steele's Bayou
||Wild Times in Mississippi
||Preparations for the Siege
||The Siege itself
[The following diary was originally written in lead pencil and in
the leaves of which were too soft to take ink legibly. I have it
from the hands of its writer, a lady whom I have had the honor to
nearly thirty years. For good reasons the
author's name is
the initials of people and the names of places are sometimes
given. Many of the persons mentioned were my own acquaintances and
friends. When some twenty years afterwards she first resolved to
it, she brought me a clear, complete copy in ink. It had cost much
trouble, she said, for much of the pencil writing had been made
disadvantages and was so faint that at times she could decipher it
under direct sunlight. She had succeeded, however, in making a
verbatim except for occasional improvement in the
grammatical form of a
sentence, or now and then the omission, for brevity's sake, of
unessential. The narrative has since been severely abridged to
within the limits of this volume.
In reading this diary one is much charmed with its constant
of romantic and perilous incidents and conditions. But the
penciled pages show that, even in copying, the strong bent of the
to be brief has often led to the exclusion of facts that enhance
interest of exciting situations, and sometimes the omission robs
heroism of due emphasis. I have restored one example of this in
paragraph following her account of the night she spent fanning her
husband on their perilous voyage down the Mississippi.]
New Orleans, Dec. 1, 1860. — I understand it now. Keeping
journals is for
those who can not, or dare not, speak out. So I shall set up a
being only a rather lonely young girl in a very small and hated
On my return here in November, after a foreign voyage and absence
months, I found myself behind in knowledge of the political
heard the dread sounds of disunion and war muttered in threatening
Surely no native-born woman loves her country better than I love
The blood of one of its revolutionary patriots flows in my veins,
is the Union for which he pledged his
"life, fortune, and sacred
that I love, not any divided or special section of it. So I have
reading attentively and seeking light from foreigners and natives
questions at issue. Living from birth in slave countries, both
and American, and passing through one slave insurrection in early
childhood, the saddest and also the pleasantest features of
been familiar. If the South goes to war for slavery, slavery is
this country. To say so is like opposing one drop to a roaring
This is a good time to follow St. Paul's advice that women should
from speaking, but they are speaking more than usual and forcing
speak against their will.
Sunday, Dec. — , 1860. — In this season for peace I had hoped
for a lull
in the excitement, yet this day has been full of bitterness.
said Mrs. F. at breakfast, "leave your church for to-day
and come with
us to hear Dr. —— on the situation. He will convince you." "It is
be convinced," I said; "I will go." The church was crowded to
with the élite of New Orleans. The preacher's text was, "Shall we
fellowship with the stool of iniquity which frameth mischief as a
. . . The sermon was over at last and then followed a prayer
. . . Forever
blessed be the fathers of the
for giving us a
liturgy! When we met at dinner Mrs. F. exclaimed, "Now, G., you
prove from the Bible that slavery is right and that therefore
is. Were you not convinced?" I said, "I was so busy thinking how
completely it proved too that Brigham Young is right about
it quite weakened the force of the argument for me." This raised a
and covered my retreat.
Jan. 26, 1861. — The solemn boom of cannon today announced
convention have passed the ordinance of secession. We must take a
our patriotism and narrow it down to State limits. Mine still
all around the borders of the State. It will be bad if New Orleans
secede from Louisiana and set up for herself. Then indeed I would
“cabined, cribbed, confined.”
The faces in the house are jubilant
Why is it so easy for them and not for me to "ring out the old,
the new"? I am out of place.
Jan. 28, Monday. — Sunday has now got to be a day of special
The gentlemen save all the sensational papers to regale us with at
late Sunday breakfast. Rob opened the battle yesterday morning by
to me in his most aggressive manner, "G., I believe these are your
sentiments"; and then he read aloud an article from the
"Journal des Debats"
expressing in rather contemptuous terms the fact that
follow the policy of non-intervention. When I answered: "Well,
what do you
expect? This is not their quarrel," he raved at me, ending by a
declaration that he would willingly pay my passage to foreign
parts if I
would like to go. "Rob," said his father, "keep cool; don't let
threat excite you. Cotton is king. Just wait till they feel the
little; their tone will change." I went to Trinity Church. Some
people who are not Episcopalians go there now because the pastor
so much chance to rail at the Lord when things are not going to
yesterday was a marked Sunday. The usual prayer for the President
Congress was changed to the "governor and people of this
their representatives in convention assembled."
The city was very lively and noisy this evening with rockets and
honor of secession. Mrs. F., in common with the neighbors,
walked out to see the houses of others gleaming amid the dark
like a fairy scene. The perfect stillness added to the effect,
moon rose slowly with calm splendor. We hastened home to dress for
soirée, but on the stairs Edith said, "G., first come and help me
Phoebe and Chloe [the negro servants]. There is a ball to-night in
aristocratic colored society. This is Chloe's first introduction
Orleans circles, and Henry Judson, Phoebe's husband, gave five
a ticket for her." Chloe is a recent purchase from Georgia. We
superintended their very stylish toilets, and Edith said, "G., run
your room, please, and write a pass for Henry. Put Mr. D.'s name
"Why, Henry is free," I said. — "That makes no difference; all
people must have a pass if out late. They choose a master for
and always carry his pass. Henry chose Mr. D., but he's lost the
had." When the pass was ready, a carriage dashed up to the
the party drove off in fine style.
At the soirée we had secession talk sandwiched everywhere;
supper, and the music, and the dance; but midnight has come, and
and a few too brief hours of oblivion.
THE VOLUNTEERS. — FORT SUMTER.
Feb. 24, 1861. — The toil of the week has ended. Nearly a
passed since I wrote here. Events have crowded upon one another. A
lowering sky closes in upon the gloomy evening, and a moaning wind
sobbing in every key. They seem in keeping with the national
in lieu of other sympathy I am glad to have that of Nature
the 4th the cannon boomed in honor of Jefferson Davis's election,
before yesterday Washington's Birthday was made the occasion of
grand display and illumination, in honor of the birth of a new
the breaking of that Union which he labored to cement. We drove to
racecourse to see the review of troops. A flag was presented to
Washington Artillery by ladies. Senator Judah Benjamin
made an impassioned speech. The banner was orange satin on one
crimson silk on the other, the pelican and brood embroidered in
and gold. Silver crossed cannon surmounted it, orange-colored
surrounded it, and crimson tassels drooped from it. It was a
unreal scene; with military bands clashing triumphant music,
vehicles, high-stepping horses, and lovely women richly appareled.
Wedding cards have been pouring in till the contagion has reached
Edith will be married next Thursday. The wedding dress is being
fashioned, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen have arrived. Edith
requested me to be special mistress of ceremonies on Thursday
I have told this terrible little rebel, who talks nothing but
thunder, yet faints at the sight of a worm, that if I fill that
one shall mention war or politics during the whole evening, on
expulsion. The clock points to ten. I must lay the pen aside.
March 10, 1861. — The excitement in this house has risen to
during the past week. The four gentlemen have each a different
saving the country, and now that the bridal bouquets have faded,
ladies have again turned to public affairs; Lincoln's inauguration
story of the disguise in which he traveled to Washington is a
source of gossip. The family board being the common forum, each
as he appears first unloads his pockets of papers from all the
States, and then his overflowing heart to his eager female
in turn relate, inquire, sympathize, or cheer. If I dare express a
that the path to victory will be a flowery one, eyes flash, cheeks
and tongues clatter, till all are checked up suddenly by a warning
"Order, order!" from the amiable lady presiding. Thus we swallow
with every meal. We take a mouthful and read a telegram, one eye
the other on the paper. One must be made of cool stuff to keep
collected. I say but little. There is one great comfort; this war
has banished small talk. The black servants move about quietly,
seeming to notice that this is all about them.
"How can you speak so plainly before them?" I say.
"Why, what matter? They know that we shall keep the whip-handle."
April 13, 1861. — More than a month has passed since the
last date here.
This afternoon I was seated on the floor covered with loveliest
arranging a floral offering for the fair, when the gentlemen
with papers bearing the news of the fall of Fort Sumter, which, at
request, I read to Mrs. F.).
April 20. — The last few days have glided away in a halo of
can't remember such a lovely spring ever before. But nobody has
will to enjoy it. War, war! is the one idea. The children play
toy cannons and soldiers; the oldest inhabitant goes by every day
rifle to practice; the public squares are full of companies
are now the fashionable resorts. We have been told that it is best
women to learn how to shoot too, so as to protect themselves when
have all gone to battle. Every evening after dinner we adjourn to
lot and fire at a target with pistols.
Yesterday I dined at Uncle Ralph's. Some members of the bar were
and were jubilant about their brand-new Confederacy. It would soon
grandest government ever known. Uncle Ralph said solemnly, "No,
the day we seceded the star of our glory set." The words sunk into
like a knell, and made me wonder at the mind that could recognize
and yet adhere to the doctrine of secession.
In the evening I attended a farewell gathering at a friend's
brothers are to leave this week for Richmond. There was music. No
chord was permitted.
April 25, 1861. — Yesterday I went with Cousin E. to have
taken. The picture-galleries are doing a thriving business. Many
are ordered off to take possession of Fort Pickens (Florida), and
to be leaving sweethearts behind them. The crowd was in high
don't dream that any destinies will be spoiled. When I got home
reading from the daily paper of the dismissal of Miss G. from her
teacher for expressing abolition sentiments, and that she would be
to leave the city. Soon a lady came with a paper setting forth
has established a "company" — we are nothing if not military — for
lint and getting stores of linen to supply the hospitals.
My name went down. If it hadn't, my spirit would have been
wounded as with
sharp spears before night. Next came a little girl with a
paper to get a flag for a certain company. The little girls,
the pretty ones, are kept busy trotting around with subscription
gentleman leaving for Richmond called to bid me good-bye. We had a
talk on the chances of his coming home maimed. He handed me a rose
went off gaily, while a vision came before me of the crowd of
that will be hobbling around when the war is over. It stayed with
the afternoon while I shook hands with one after another in their
gray and gold uniforms. Latest of all came little Guy, Mr. F.'s
clerk, the pet of the firm as well as of his home, a mere boy of
Such senseless sacrifices seem a sin. He chattered brightly, but
about, saying good-bye. He got through it bravely until Edith's
incautiously said, "You didn't kiss your little sweetheart," as he
called Ellie, who had been allowed to sit up. He turned suddenly,
into agonizing sobs and ran down the steps. I went right up to my
Suddenly the midnight stillness was broken by the sound of
flutes. It was a serenade, by her lover, to the young lady across
street. She leaves to-morrow for her home in Boston, he joins the
Confederate army in Virginia. Among the callers yesterday she came
astonished us all by the change in her looks. She is the only
have yet seen who seems to realize the horror that is coming. Was
pallid, stern-faced creature, the gentle, glowing Nellie whom we
welcomed and admired when she came early last fall with her
enjoy a Southern winter?
May 10, 1861. — I am tired and ashamed of myself. Last week
I attended a
meeting of the lint society to hand in the small contribution of
had been able to gather. We scraped lint till it was dark. A paper
shown, entitled the "Volunteer's Friend," started by the girls of
school, and I was asked to help the girls with it. I positively
To-day I was pressed into service to make red flannel
ten-inch columbiads. I basted while Mrs. S. sewed, and I felt
think that I had not the moral courage to say, "I don't approve of
war and won't help you, particularly in the murderous part of it."
May 27, 1861. — This has been a scenic Sabbath. Various
to depart for Virginia occupied the prominent churches to have
consecrated. The streets were resonant with the clangor of drums
trumpets. E. and myself went to Christ Church because the
Artillery were to be there.
June 13. — To-day has been appointed a Fast Day. I spent the
writing a letter on which I put my first Confederate
postage-stamp. It is
of a brown color and has a large 5 in the center. To-morrow must
devoted to all my foreign correspondents before the expected
June 29. — I attended a fine luncheon yesterday at one of
schools. A lady remarked to a school official that the cost of
in the Confederacy was getting very high, butter, especially,
and costly. "Never fear, my dear madame," he replied. "Texas alone
furnish butter enough to supply the whole Confederacy; we'll soon
getting it from there." It's just as well to have this sublime
July 15, 1861. — The quiet of midsummer reigns, but ripples
break around us as the papers tell of skirmishes and attacks here
there in Virginia. "Rich Mountain" and "Carrick's Ford" were the
"You see," said Mrs. D. at breakfast to-day, "my prophecy is
that Virginia will be the seat of war." "Indeed," I burst out,
my resolution not to argue, "you may think yourselves lucky if
turns out to have any seat in particular."
So far, no one especially connected with me has gone to fight.
How glad I
am for his mother's sake that Rob's lameness will keep him at
F., Mr. S., and Uncle Ralph are beyond the age for active service,
Edith says Mr. D. can't go now. She is very enthusiastic about
people's husbands being enrolled, and regrets that her Alex is not
enough to defend his country and his rights.
July 22. — What a day! I feel like one who has been out in a
and cannot get my breath. The news-boys are still shouting with
extras, "Battle of Bull's Run! List of the killed! Battle of
List of the wounded!" Tender-hearted Mrs. F. was sobbing so she
serve the tea; but nobody cared for tea. "O G.!" she said, "three
of our own, dear Southern boys are lying out there." "My dear
spoke Mr. F., "they are heroes now. They died in a glorious cause,
is not in vain. This will end it. The sacrifice had to be made,
killed have gained immortal names." Then Rob rushed in with a new
reading of the spoils captured, and grief was forgotten. Words
paint the excitement. Rob capered about and cheered; Edith danced
ringing the dinner bell and shouting, "Victory!" Mrs. F. waved a
Confederate flag, while she wiped her eyes, and Mr. D. hastened to
piano and in his most brilliant style struck up "Dixie," followed
Maryland" and the "Bonnie Blue Flag."
"Do not look so gloomy, G.," whispered Mr. S. "You should be
to-night; for, as Mr. F. says, now we shall have peace."
"And is that the way you think of the men of your own blood and
replied. But an utter scorn choked me, and I walked out of the
proof is there in this dark hour that they are not right? Only the
emphatic answer of my own soul. To-morrow I will pack my trunk and
the invitation to visit at Uncle Ralph's country-house.
Sept. 25, 1861. (Home again from "The Pines.") — When
I opened the door
of Mrs. F.'s room on my return, the rattle of two sewing-machines
blaze of color met me.
"Ah! G., you are just in time to help us; these are coats for
Thompson's men. All the cloth in the city is exhausted; these
flannel-lined oilcloth table-covers are all we could obtain to
overcoats for Thompson's poor boys. They will be very warm and
"Serviceable, yes! The Federal army will fly when they see those
only wish I could be with the regiment when these are shared
I helped make them.
Seriously, I wonder if any soldiers will ever wear these
The most bewildering combination of brilliant, intense reds,
yellows, and blues in big flowers meandering over as vivid
grounds; and as
no table-cover was large enough to make a coat, the sleeves of
of a different color and pattern. However, the coats were duly
Then we set to work on gray pantaloons, and I have just carried a
to an ardent young lady who wishes to assist. A slight gloom is
down, and the inmates here are not quite so cheerfully confident
A BELEAGUERED CITY.
Oct. 22, 1861. — When I came to breakfast this morning Rob
over another victory — Ball's Bluff. He would read me, "We pitched
Yankees over the bluff," and ask me in the next breath to go to
theater this evening. I turned on the poor fellow: "Don't tell me
your victories. You vowed by all your idols that the blockade
raised by October 1, and I notice the ships are still serenely
below the city."
"G., you are just as pertinacious yourself in championing your
What sustains you when nobody agrees with you?"
I would not answer.
Oct. 28, 1861. — When I dropped in at Uncle Ralph's last
welcome them back, the whole family were busy at a great
copying sequestration acts for the Confederate Government. The
all Northerners and Unionists is to be sequestrated, and Uncle
hardly get the work done fast enough. My aunt apologized for the
looking chilly; she feared to put the carpets down, as the city
taken and burned by the Federals. "We are living as much packed up
possible. A signal has been agreed upon, and the instant the army
approaches we shall be off to the country again."
Great preparations are being made for defense. At several other
where I called the women were almost hysterical. They seemed to
forward to being blown up with shot and shell, finished with cold
or whisked off to some Northern prison. When I got home Edith and
had just returned also.
"Alex," said Edith, "I was up at your orange-lots to-day and the
oranges are dropping to the ground, while they cannot get lemons
"That's my kind, considerate wife," replied Mr. D. "Why didn't I
that before? Jim shall fill some barrels to-morrow and take them
hospitals as a present from you."
Nov. 10. — Surely this year will ever be memorable to me for
perfection of natural beauty. Never was sunshine such pure gold,
moonlight such transparent silver. The beautiful custom prevalent
decking the graves with flowers on All Saint's day was well
profuse and rich were the blossoms. On All-hallow Eve Mrs. S. and
visited a large cemetery. The chrysanthemums lay like great masses
and flame and gold in every garden we passed, and were piled on
costly tomb and lowly grave. The battle of Manassas robed many of
women in mourning, and some of these, who had no graves to deck,
weeping silently as they walked through the scented avenues.
A few days ago Mrs. E. arrived here. She is a widow, of Natchez,
of Mrs. F.'s, and is traveling home with the dead body of her
killed at Manassas. She stopped two days waiting for a boat, and
to share her room and read her to sleep, saying she couldn't be
since he was killed; she feared her mind would give way. So I read
comforting chapters to be found till she dropped into
the recollection of those weeping mothers in the cemetery banished
Nov. 26, 1861. — The lingering summer is passing into those
days I love so well, when there is gold and fire above and around
the glory of the natural and the gloom of the moral world agree
together. This morning Mrs. F. came to my room in dire distress.
see," she said, "cold weather is coming on fast, and our poor
lying out at night with nothing to cover them. There is a wail for
blankets, but there is not a blanket in town. I have gathered up
spare bed-clothing, and now want every available rug or
table-cover in the
house. Can't I have yours, G.? We must make these small sacrifices
comfort and elegance, you know, to secure independence and
"Very well," I said, denuding the table. "This may do for a
Dec. 26, 1861. — The foul weather cleared off bright and
cool in time for
Christmas. There is a midwinter lull in the movement of troops. In
evening we went to the grand bazaar in the St. Louis Hotel, got up
clothe the soldiers. This bazaar has furnished the gayest, most
fashionable war-work yet, and has kept social circles in a flutter
pleasant, heroic excitement all through December. Everything
rare garnered in the homes of the rich was given for exhibition,
some cases for raffle and sale. There were many fine paintings,
bronzes, engravings, gems, laces — in fact, heirlooms, and
all sorts. There were many lovely Creole girls present, in
toilets, passing to and fro through the decorated rooms, listening
band clash out the Anvil Chorus.
This morning I joined the B.'s and their party in a visit to the
fortifications below the city. It all looks formidable enough, but
course I am no judge of military defenses. We passed over the
battle-ground where Jackson fought the English, and thinking of
dealt with treason, one could almost fancy his unquiet ghost
Jan. 2, 1862. — I am glad enough to bid '61 goodbye. Most
of my life! What ages of thought and experience have I not lived
Last Sunday I walked home from church with a young lady teacher
public schools. The teachers have been paid recently in
don't understand the horrid name, but nobody seems to have any
in the scrip. In pure benevolence I advised my friend to get her
changed into coin, as in case the Federals took the city she would
be in a
bad fix, being in rather a lonely position. She turned upon me in
"You are a black-hearted traitor," she almost screamed at me in
street, this well-bred girl! "My money is just as good as coin
Go to Yankee land. It will suit you better with your sordid views
of faith, than the generous South."
"Well," I replied, "when I think of going, I'll come to you for a
of introduction to your grandfather in Yankee land." I said
and turned down another street in a sort of a maze, trying to put
in her place and see what there was sordid in my advice.
Luckily I met Mrs. B. to turn the current of thought. She was
The city authorities have been searching houses for fire-arms. It
good way to get more guns, and the homes of those men suspected of
Unionists were searched first. Of course they went to Dr. B.'s. He
them with his own delightful courtesy. "Wish to search for arms?
Certainly, gentlemen." He conducted them through all the house
smiling readiness, and after what seemed a very thorough search
politely out. His gun was all the time safely reposing between the
folds of a cot-bed which leaned folded up together against the
the very room where they had ransacked the closets. Queerly, the
families have been the ones most anxious to conceal all weapons.
dug pits quietly at night in the back yards, and carefully
weapons, buried them out of sight. Every man seems to think he
some private fighting to do to protect his family.
Friday, Jan. 24, 1862. (On steamboat W., Mississippi River.) — With
changed name I open you once more, my journal. It was a sad time
when one knew not how long the expected conscription would spare
bridegroom. The women-folk knew how to sympathize with a girl
prepare for her wedding in three days, in a blockaded city, and
go far from any base of supplies. They all rallied round me with
love and consideration, and sewed, shopped, mended, and packed, as
sewing soldier clothes. They decked the whole house and the church
flowers. Music breathed, wine sparkled, friends came and went. It
dream, and comes up now and again out of the afternoon sunshine
sit on deck. The steamboat slowly plows its way through lumps of
ice, — a novel sight to me, — and I look forward wondering whether the
people I shall meet will be as fierce about the war as those in
Orleans. That past is to be all forgiven and forgotten; I
the kindly acts that sought to brighten the threshold of a new
Feb. 15, 1862. (Village of X.) — We reached Arkansas Landing
nightfall. Mr. Y., the planter who owns the landing, took us right
his residence. He ushered me into a large room where a couple of
gave a dim light, and close to them, and sewing as if on a race
sat Mrs. Y. and a little negro girl, who was so black and sat so
straight she looked like an ebony image. This was a large
Y.'s knew H. very well, and were very kind and cordial in their
and congratulations. Mrs. Y. apologized for continuing her work;
had pushed them this year in getting the negroes clothed, and she
sew by dim candles, as they could obtain no more oil. She asked if
were any new fashions in New Orleans.
Next morning we drove over to our home in this village. It is the
county-seat, and was, till now, a good place for the practice of
profession. It lies on the edge of a lovely lake. The adjacent
count their slaves by the hundreds. Some of them live with a good
magnificence, using service of plate, having smoking-rooms for the
gentlemen built off the house, and entertaining with great
The Baptists, Episcopalians, and Methodists hold services on
Sundays in the court-house. All the planters and many others, near
lake shore, keep a boat at their landing, and a raft for crossing
and horses. It seemed very piquant at first, this taking our boat
visiting, and on moonlight nights it was charming. The woods
lovelier than those in Louisiana, though one misses the moaning of
pines. There is fine fishing and hunting, but these cotton estates
so pleasant to visit as sugar plantations.
But nothing else has been so delightful as, one morning, my first
snow and a wonderful, new, white world.
Feb. 27, 1862. — The people here have hardly felt the war
yet. There are
but two classes. The planters and the professional men form one;
poor villagers the other. There is no middle class. Ducks and
squirrels and fish, are to be had. H. has bought me a nice pony,
cantering along the shore of the lake in the sunset is a panacea
HOW IT WAS IN ARKANSAS.
March 11, 1862. — The serpent has entered our Eden. The
excitement of New Orleans have invaded this place. If an
betrays any want of sympathy with popular plans, one is
"ungrateful," "crazy." If one remains silent, and controlled, then
"phlegmatic," "cool-blooded," "unpatriotic." Cool-blooded!
they only knew. It is very painful to see lovable and intelligent
rave till the blood mounts to face and brain. The immediate cause
access of war fever has been the battle of Pea Ridge. They scout
that Price and Van Dorn have been completely worsted. Those who
the news were speedily told what they ought to say. "No, it is
serious check; they must have more men sent forward at once. This
must do its duty." So the women say another company must
We were guests at a dinner-party yesterday. Mrs. A. was very
"Now, ladies, you must all join in with a vim and help equip
"Mrs. L.," she said, turning to me, "are you not going to send
husband? Now use a young bride's influence and persuade him; he
elected one of the officers." "Mrs. A.," I replied, longing to
and throttle her, "the Bible says, 'When a man hath married a new
shall not go to war for one year, but remain at home and cheer up
wife.'" . . .
"Well, H.," I questioned, as we walked home after crossing the
you stand the pressure, or shall you be forced into volunteering?"
"Indeed," he replied, "I will not be bullied into enlisting by
by men. I will sooner take my chance of conscription and feel
it. You know my attachments, my interests are here; these are my
I could never fight against them; but my judgment disapproves
course, and the result will inevitably be against us."
This morning the only Irishman left in the village presented
himself to H.
He has been our woodsawyer, gardener, and factotum, but having
new company, his time recently has been taken up with drilling. H.
R. feel that an extensive vegetable garden must be prepared while
here to assist or we shall be short of food, and they sent for him
"So, Mike, you are really going to be a soldier?"
"Yes, sor; but faith, Mr. L., I don't see the use of me going to
bullet when sure an' I'm willin' for it to go where it plazes."
March 18, 1862. — There has been unusual gayety in this
the past few days. The ladies from the surrounding plantations
work to get up a festival to equip the new company. As Annie and
are both brides recently from the city, requisition was made upon
engravings, costumes, music, garlands, and so forth. Annie's heart
the work; not so with me. Nevertheless, my pretty things were
and shone with just as good a grace last evening as if willingly
ball was a merry one. One of the songs sung was "Nellie Gray," in
the most distressing feature of slavery is bewailed so pitifully.
this at a festival for raising money to clothe soldiers fighting
perpetuate that very thing was strange.
March 20, 1862. — A man professing to act by General
Hindman's orders is
going through the country impressing horses and mules. The
overseer of a
certain estate came to inquire of H. if he had not a legal right
protect the property from seizure. Mr. L. said yes, unless the
show some better credentials than his bare word. This answer soon
about, and the overseer returned to report that it excited great
indignation, especially among the company of new volunteers. H.
pronounced a traitor, and they declared that no one so untrue to
Confederacy should live there. When H. related the circumstance at
his partner, Mr. R., became very angry, being ignorant of H.'s
opinions. He jumped up in a rage and marched away to the village
thoroughfare. There he met a batch of the volunteers, and said,
what you have said of us, and I have come to tell you that you are
and you know where to find us."
Of course I expected a difficulty; but the evening passed, and we
undisturbed. Not long afterward a series of indescribable sounds
stillness of the night, and the tramp of feet was heard outside
Mr. R. called out, "It's a serenade, H. Get up and bring out all
you have." Annie and I peeped through the parlor window, and lo!
the company of volunteers and a diabolical band composed of bones
broken-winded brass instruments. They piped and clattered and
some time, and then swarmed in, while we ladies retreated and
the clink of glasses.
March 22, 1862. — H., Mr. R., and Mike have been very busy
the last few
days getting the acre of kitchen-garden plowed and planted. The
has stopped all legal business, and they have welcomed this work.
to-day a thunderbolt fell in our household. Mr. R. came in and
that he has agreed to join the company of volunteers. Annie's
principles would not permit her to make much resistance, and she
sewing and mending as fast as possible to get his clothes ready,
now and then to wipe her eyes. Poor Annie! She and Max have been
only a few months longer than we have; but a noble sense of duty
and sustains her.
THE FIGHT FOR FOOD AND CLOTHING.
April 1, 1862. — The last ten days have brought changes in
the house. Max
R. left with the company to be mustered in, leaving with us his
Annie. Hardly were her spirits somewhat composed when her brother
from Natchez to take her home. This morning he, Annie, and Reeney,
black handmaiden, posted off. Out of seven of us only H., myself,
Judy are left. The absence of Reeney will not be the one least
was as precious an imp as any Topsy ever was. Her tricks were
her innocence of them amazing. When sent out to bring in eggs she
take them from nests where hens were hatching, and embryo chickens
be served up at breakfast, while Reeney stood by grinning to see
opened; but when accused she was imperturbable. "Laws, Mis' L., I
done bin nigh dem hens. Mis' Annie, you can go count dem dere
when counted they were found minus the number she had brought had
effect on her stolid denial. H. has plenty to do finishing the
by himself, but the time rather drags for me.
April 13, 1862. — This morning I was sewing up a rent in
garden-coat, when Aunt Judy rushed in.
"Laws! Mis' L., here's Mr. Max and Mis' Annie done come back!" A
coming up with Max, Annie, and Reeney.
"Well, is the war over?" I asked.
"Oh, I got sick!" replied our returned soldier, getting slowly
out of the
He was very thin and pale, and explained that he took a severe
at once, had a mild attack of pneumonia, and the surgeon got him
discharge as unfit for service. He succeeded in reaching Annie,
and a few
days of good care made him strong enough to travel back home.
"I suppose, H., you've heard that Island No. 10 is gone?"
Yes, we heard that much, but Max had the particulars, and an
followed. At night H. said to me, "G., New Orleans will be the
next to go,
you'll see, and I want to get there first; this stagnation here
April 28, 1862. — This evening has been very lovely, but
full of a sad
disappointment. H. invited me to drive. As we turned homeward he
"Well, my arrangements are completed. You can begin to pack your
to-morrow, and I shall have a talk with Max."
Mr. R. and Annie were sitting on the gallery as I ran up the
"Heard the news?" they cried.
"No! What news?"
"New Orleans is taken! All the boats have been run up the river
them. No more mails."
How little they knew what plans of ours this dashed away. But our
disappointment is truly an infinitesimal drop in the great waves
triumph and despair surging to-night in thousands of hearts.
April 30. — The last two weeks have glided quietly away
except the arrival of new neighbors — Dr. Y., his wife, two
servants. That a professional man prospering in Vicksburg should
to settle in this retired place looks queer. Max said:
"H., that man has come here to hide from the conscript officers.
brought no end of provisions, and is here for the war. He has
for this county is so cleaned of men it won't pay to send the
Our stores are diminishing and cannot be replenished from
ingenuity and labor must evoke them. We have a fine garden in
plenty of chickens, and hives of bees to furnish honey in lieu of
A good deal of salt meat has been stored in the smoke-house, and,
fish in the lake, we expect to keep the wolf from the door. The
game is about over, but an occasional squirrel or duck comes to
larder, though the question of ammunition has to be considered.
have may be all we can have, if the war last five years longer;
say they are prepared to hold out till the crack of doom. Food,
is not the only want. I never realized before the varied needs of
civilization. Every day something is "out." Last week but two bars
remained, so we began to save bones and ashes. Annie said: "Now,
only had some china-berry trees here we shouldn't need any other
They are making splendid soap at Vicksburg with china-balls. They
the berries into the lye and it eats them right up and makes a
I did long for some china-berries to make this experiment. H. had
what seemed a good supply of kerosene, but it is nearly gone, and
down to two candles kept for an emergency. Annie brought a receipt
Natchez for making candles of rosin and wax, and with great
brought also the wick and rosin. So yesterday we tried making
had no molds, but Annie said the latest style in Natchez was to
waxen rope by dipping, then wrap it round a corn-cob. But H. cut
blocks of wood about four inches square, into which he set a
cylinder about four inches high. The waxen ropes were coiled round
cylinder like a serpent, with the head raised about two inches; as
light burned down to the cylinder, more of the rope was unwound.
the vinegar was found to be all gone and we have started to make
tyros we succeed pretty well."
DROWNED OUT AND STARVED OUT.
May 9, 1862. — A great misfortune has come upon us all. For
every one has been uneasy about the unusual rise of the
about a rumor that the Federal forces had cut levees above to
country. There is a slight levee back of the village, and H. went
yesterday to examine it. It looked strong and we hoped for the
dawn this morning a strange gurgle woke me. It had a pleasing,
effect. I could not fully rouse at first, but curiosity conquered
and I called H.
"Listen to that running water; what is it?" He sprung up,
second, and shouted: "Max, get up! The water is on us!" They both
off to the lake for the
The levee had not broken. The water
running clean over it and through the garden fence so rapidly that
time I dressed and got outside Max was paddling the pirogue they
brought in among the pea-vines, gathering all the ripe peas left
water. We had enjoyed one mess and he vowed we should have
H. was busy nailing a raft together while he had a dry place to
Annie and I, with Reeney, had to secure the chickens, and the back
was given up to them. By the time a hasty breakfast was eaten the
was in the kitchen. The stove and everything there had to be put
up in the
dining-room. Aunt Judy and Reeney had likewise to move into the
their floor also being covered with water. The raft had to be
the store-house and a platform built, on which everything was
evening we looked round and counted the cost. The garden was
Last evening we had walked round the strawberry beds that fringed
whole acre and tasted a few just ripe. The hives were swamped.
Many of the
chickens were drowned. Sancho had been sent to high ground where
get grass. In the village every green thing was swept away. Yet we
better off than many others; for this house, being raised, we have
the water indoors. It just laves the edge of the galleries.
May 26, 1862. — During the past week we have lived somewhat
Venetians, with a boat at front steps and a raft at the back.
and I took skiff to church. The clergyman, who is also tutor at a
planter's across the lake, preached to the few who had arrived in
We shall not try it again, it is so troublesome getting in and out
court-house steps. The imprisonment is hard to endure. It
make me really ill, so every evening H. lays a thick wrap in the
I sit on it and we row off to the ridge of dry land running along
lake-shore and branching off to a strip of woods also out of
we disembark and march up and down till dusk. A great deal of the
wet and has to be laid out to dry on the galleries, with clothing,
everything that must be dried. One's own trials are intensified by
worse suffering around that we can do nothing to relieve.
Max has a puppy named after General Price. The gentlemen had both
town yesterday in the skiff when Annie and I heard little Price's
despairing cries from under the house, and we got on the raft to
save him. We wore light morning dresses and slippers, for shoes
becoming precious. Annie donned a Shaker and I a broad hat. We got
raft pushed out to the center of the grounds opposite the house
see Price clinging to a post; the next move must be to navigate
up to the side of the house and reach for Price. It sounds easy;
around with our poles as wildly or as scientifically as we might,
would not budge. The noonday sun was blazing right overhead and
water running all over slippered feet and dainty dresses. How long
staid praying for rescue, yet wincing already at the laugh that
with it, I shall never know. It seemed like a day before the
and the "Ha, ha!" of H. and Max were heard. The confinement tells
on all the animal life about us. Half the chickens are dead and
The days drag slowly. We have to depend mainly on books to
tedium, for we have no piano; none of us like cards; we are very
chess-players, and the chess-set is incomplete. When we gather
one lamp — we dare not light any more — each one exchanges the gems of
thought or mirthful ideas he finds. Frequently the gnats and the
mosquitoes are so bad we cannot read at all. This evening, till a
breeze blew them away, they were intolerable. Aunt Judy goes about
dignified silence, too full for words, only asking two or three
"W'at I dun tole you fum de fust?" The food is a trial. This
snaky candles lighted the glass and silver on the supper-table
with a pale
gleam and disclosed a frugal supper indeed — tea without milk (for
cows are gone), honey, and bread. A faint ray twinkled on the
swishing against the house and stretching away into the dark
looked like civilization and barbarism met together. Just as we
to it, some one passing in a boat shouted that Confederates and
were fighting at Vicksburg.
Monday, June 2, 1862. — On last Friday morning, just three
weeks from the
day the water rose, signs of its falling began. Yesterday the
appeared, and a hard rain coming down at the same time washed off
the unwholesome débris. To-day is fine, and we went out without a
a long walk.
June 13. — Since the water ran off, we have, of course, been
swamp fever. H. succumbed first, then Annie, Max next, and then I.
Luckily, the new Dr. Y. had brought quinine with him, and we took
doses. Such fever never burned in my veins before or sapped
rapidly, though probably the want of good food was a factor. The
three other professional men have left. Dr. Y. alone remains. The
now being dry enough, H. and Max started on horseback, in
directions, to make an exhaustive search for supplies. H. got back
evening with no supplies.
June 15, 1862. — Max got back to-day. He started right off
again to cross
the lake and interview the planters on that side, for they had not
suffered from overflow.
June 16. — Max got back this morning. H. and he were in the
talking and examining maps together till dinner-time. When that
they laid the matter before us. To buy provisions had proved
The planters across the lake had decided to issue rations of
peas to the villagers whose men had all gone to war, but they
refused to sell anything. "They said to me," said Max, "' We will
your family starve, Mr. K.; but with such numbers of slaves and
village poor to feed, we can spare nothing for sale.'" "Well, of
said H., "we do not purpose to stay here and live on charity
must leave the place at all hazards. We have studied out every
made inquiries everywhere we went. We shall have to go down the
Mississippi in an open boat as far as Fetler's Landing (on the
bank). There we can cross by land and put the boat into Steele's
pass thence to the Yazoo River, from there to Chickasaw Bayou,
McNutt's Lake, and land near my uncle's in Warren County."
June 20, 1862. — As soon as our intended departure was
were besieged by requests for all sorts of things wanted in every
family — pins, matches, gunpowder, and ink. One of the last cases H.
Max had before the stay-law stopped legal business was the
an estate that included a country store. The heirs had paid in
the store. These had remained packed in the office. The main
the cases were hardware; but we found treasure indeed — a keg of
case of matches, a paper of pins, a bottle of ink. Red ink is now
of poke-berries. Pins are made by capping thorns with sealing-wax,
using them as nature made them. These were articles money could
for us. We would give our friends a few matches to save for the
tribulation. The paper of pins we divided evenly, and filled a
each with the matches. H. filled a tight tin case apiece with
Max and himself and sold the rest, as we could not carry any more
a trip. Those who did not hear of this in time offered fabulous
afterwards for a single pound. But money has not its old
preparations were delayed by Aunt Judy falling sick of swamp
Friday, June 27. — As soon as the cook was up again, we
preparations. We put all the clothing in order and had it nicely
with the last of the soap and starch. "I wonder," said Annie,
shall ever have nicely starched clothes after these? They had no
Natchez or Vicksburg when I was there." We are now furbishing up
suitable for such rough summer travel. While we sat at work
quiet of the clear, calm noon was broken by a low, continuous roar
distant thunder. To-day we are told it was probably cannon at
This is a great distance, I think, to have heard it — over a hundred
H. and Max have bought a large yawl and are busy on the lake bank
repairing it and fitting it with lockers. Aunt Judy's master has
notified when to send for her; a home for the cat Jeff has been
Price is dead, and Sancho sold. Nearly all the furniture is
except things valued from association, which will be packed in
and left with some one likely to stay through the war. It is
leave the books.
Tuesday, July 8, 1862. — We start to-morrow. Packing the
trunks was a
problem. Annie and I are allowed one large trunk apiece, the
smaller one each, and we a light carpet-sack apiece for toilet
arrived with six trunks and leave with one! We went over
carefully twice, rejecting, trying to shake off the bonds of
get down to primitive needs. At last we made a judicious
Everything old or worn was left; everything merely ornamental,
lace, which was light. Gossamer evening dresses were all left. I
calculated on taking two or three books that would bear the most
if we were again shut up where none could be had, and so, of
Shakspere first. Here I was interrupted to go and pay a farewell
and when we returned Max had packed and nailed the cases of books
left. Chance thus limited my choice to those that happened to be
room — "Paradise Lost," the "Arabian Nights," a volume of Macaulay's
History that I was reading, and my prayer-book. To-day the
the trip were cooked: the last of the flour was made into large
bread; a ham and several dozen eggs were boiled; the few chickens
have survived the overflow were fried; the last of the coffee was
and ground; and the modicum of the tea was well corked up. Our
across the lake added a jar of butter and two of preserves. H.
rode off to
X. after dinner to conclude some business there, and I sat down
table to tie bundles of things to be left. The sunset glowed and
the quiet evening came on calm and starry. I sat by the window
evening deepened into night, and as the moon rose I still looked a
reluctant farewell to the lovely lake and the grand woods, till
of H.'s horse at the gate broke the spell.
HOMELESS AND SHELTERLESS.
Thursday, July 10, 1862. ( —— Plantation.) — Yesterday
about 4 o'clock
we walked to the lake and embarked. Provisions and utensils were
the lockers, and a large trunk was stowed at each end. The
cushions were placed against one of them, and Annie and I sat on
Turkish fashion. Near the center the two smaller trunks made a
Reeney. Max and H. were to take turns at the rudder and oars. The
word was a fervent God-speed from Mr. E., who is left in charge of
affairs. We believe him to be a Union man, but have never spoken
of it to
him. We were gloomy enough crossing the lake, for it was evident
heavily laden boat would be difficult to manage. Last night we
this plantation, and from the window of my room I see the men
the boat to place it on the cart, which a team of oxen will haul
river. These hospitable people are kindness itself, till you
Saturday, July 12, 1862. (Under a cotton-shed on the bank of
Mississippi River.) — Thursday was a lovely day, and the sight
broad river exhilarating. The negroes launched and reloaded the
when we had paid them and spoken good-bye to them we felt we were
off. Every one had said that if we kept in the current the boat
almost go of itself, but in fact the current seemed to throw it
hard pulling was necessary. The heat of the sun was very severe,
proved impossible to use an umbrella or any kind of shade, as it
steering more difficult. Snags and floating timbers were very
Twice we hurried up to the bank out of the way of passing
they took no notice of us. When we got thirsty, it was found that
set the jug of water in the shade of a tree and left it there. We
up the river water or go without. When it got too dark to travel
disembarked. Reeney gathered wood, made a fire and some tea, and
we had a
good supper. We then divided, H. and I remaining to watch the
and Annie on shore. She hung up a mosquito-bar to the trees and
bed comfortably. In the boat the mosquitoes were horrible, but I
asleep and slept till voices on the bank woke me. Annie was
disconsolate round her bed, and when I asked the trouble, said,
can't sleep there! I found a toad and a lizard in the bed." When
off again, H. woke me to say he was very sick; he thought it was
drinking the river water. With difficulty I got a trunk opened to
some medicine. While doing so a gunboat loomed up vast and gloomy,
gave each other a good fright. Our voices doubtless reached her,
instantly every one of her lights disappeared and she ran for a
minutes along the opposite bank. We momently expected a shell as a
At dawn next morning we made coffee and a hasty breakfast, fixed
well as we could in our sylvan dressing-rooms, and pushed on, for
settled that traveling between eleven and two will have to be
unless we want to be roasted alive. H. grew worse. He suffered
and the rest of us as much to see him pulling in such a state of
exhaustion. Max would not trust either of us to steer. About
reached the landing of a plantation. Max walked up to the house
returned with the owner, an old gentleman living alone with his
The housekeeper, a young colored girl, could not be surpassed in
graceful efforts to make us comfortable and anticipate every want.
so anxious about H. that I remember nothing except that the cold
drinking-water taken from a cistern beneath the building, into
the winter rains were allowed to fall, was like an elixir. They
luscious peaches that, with such water, were nectar and ambrosia
parched lips. At night the housekeeper said she was sorry they had
mosquito-bars ready and hoped the mosquitoes would not be thick,
came out in legions. I knew that on sleep that night depended
illness for H. and all possibility of proceeding next day. So I
fanning away mosquitoes that he might sleep, toppling over now and
the pillows till roused by his stirring. I contrived to keep this
as the chill before dawn came, they abated and I got a short
with the aid of cold water, a fresh toilet, and a good breakfast,
up for another day's baking in the boat.
[If I had been well and strong as usual the discomforts of such a
would not have seemed so much to me; but I was still weak from the
of the fever, and annoyed by a worrying toothache which there had
dentist to rid me of in our
Having paid and dismissed the boat's watchman, we started and
till eleven to-day, when we stopped at this cotton-shed. When our
spread and lunch laid out in the cool breeze, it seemed a blessed
good many negroes came offering chickens and milk in exchange for
tobacco, which we had not. We bought some milk with money.
A United States transport just now steamed by and the men on the
cheered and waved to us. We all replied but Annie. Even Max was
into an answering cheer, and I waved my handkerchief with a very
heart as the dear old flag we have not seen for so long floated
Annie turned her back.
Sunday, July 13, 1862. (Under a tree on the east bank of the
Mississippi.) — Late on Saturday evening we reached a
owner invited us to spend the night at his house. What a
is courtesy! The first tone of our host's welcome indicated the
gentleman. We never leave the oars with the watchman; Max takes
Annie and I each take a band-box, H. takes my carpet-sack, and
brings up the rear with Annie's. It is a funny procession. Mr.
were absent, and as we sat on the gallery talking it needed only a
minutes to show this was a "Union man." His home was elegant and
but even here there was neither tea nor coffee.
About eleven we stopped here in this shady place. While eating
negroes again came imploring for tobacco. Soon an invitation came
house for us to come and rest. We gratefully accepted, but found
of rest for warm, tired travelers was for us to sit in the parlor
chairs while the whole family trooped in, cool and clean in fresh
to stare and question. We soon returned to the trees; however,
kindly offered corn-meal pound-cake and beer, which were
excellent. If we
reach Fetler's Landing to-night, the Mississippi-River part of the
is concluded. Eight gunboats and one transport have passed us.
of their way has been troublesome. Our gentlemen's hands are badly
Tuesday, July l5, 1862. — Sunday night about ten we reached
where, according to our map, Steele's Bayou comes nearest to the
Mississippi, and where the landing should be, but when we climbed
steep bank there was no sign, of habitation. Max walked off into
on a search, and was gone so long we feared he had lost his way.
find no road. H. suggested shouting and both began. At last a
halloo replied, and by cries the answerer was guided to us. A
"Who are you? What do you want?" "Travelers seeking shelter for
night." He came forward and said that was the right place, his
the landing, and he would watch the boat for five dollars. He
road, and said his master's house was one mile off and another
miles. We mistook and went to the one two miles off. There a
dogs rushed at us, and several great, tall, black fellows
till the master was roused. He put his head through the window and
said, — "I'll let nobody in. The Yankees have been here and took
twenty-five of my negroes to work on their fortifications, and
beds nor anything for anybody." At 1 o'clock we reached Mr.
was pleasant, and said we should have the best he had. The bed
grateful softness I sank was piled with mattresses to within two
feet of the ceiling, and, with no step-ladder, getting in and out
problem. This morning we noticed the high-water mark, four feet
lower floor. Mrs. Fetler said they had lived up-stairs several
FRIGHTS AND PERILS IN STEELE'S BAYOU.
Wednesday, July 16, 1862. (Under a tree on the bank of
Bayou.) — Early this morning our boat was taken out of the
put on Mr. Fetler's ox-cart. After breakfast we followed on foot.
in the woods was so delightful that all were disappointed when a
gleam through the trees showed the bayou sweeping along, full to
banks, with dense forest trees almost meeting over it. The boat
launched, calked, and reloaded, and we were off again. Towards
sound of distant cannon began to echo around, probably from
again. About the same time we began to encounter rafts. To get
required us to push through brush so thick that we had to lie down
boat. The banks were steep and the land on each side a bog. About
o'clock we reached this clear space with dry shelving banks and
disembarked to eat lunch. To our surprise a neatly dressed woman
tripping down the declivity bringing a basket. She said she lived
and had seen our boat. Her husband was in the army, and we were
white people she had talked to for a long while. She offered some
corn-meal pound-cake and beer, and as she climbed back told us to
out for the rapids." H. is putting the boat in order for our start
says she is waving good-bye from the bluff above.
Thursday, July 17, 1862. (On a raft in Steele's Bayou.) — Yesterday
went on nicely awhile and at afternoon came to a strange region of
extending about three miles, on which persons were living. Many
us, saying they had run away from Vicksburg at the first attempt
fleet to shell it. On one of these rafts, about
bagging had been hung up to form three sides of a tent. A bed was
corner, and on a low chair, with her provisions in jars and boxes
round her, sat an old woman feeding a lot of chickens. They were
about oblivious to the inconveniences of war, and she looked
Having moonlight, we had intended to travel till late. But about
o'clock, the boat beginning to go with great speed, H., who was
called to Max:
"Don't row so fast; we may run against something."
"I'm hardly pulling at all."
"Then we're in what she called the rapids!"
The stream seemed indeed to slope downward, and in a minute a
was visible ahead. Max tried to turn, but could not, and in a
we dashed against this immense raft, only saved from breaking up
men's quickness. We got out upon it and ate supper. Then, as the
leaking and the current swinging it against the raft, H. and Max
it safer to watch all night, but told us to go to sleep. It was a
spot to sleep in — a raft in the middle of a boiling stream, with a
wilderness stretching on either side. The moon made ghostly
showed H., sitting still as a ghost, in the stern of the boat,
mingled with the gurgle of the water round the raft beneath was
of cannon in the air, solemnly breaking the silence of night. It
now and then, and the mosquitoes swarmed over us. My fan and
been knocked overboard, so I had no weapon against them. Fatigue,
overcomes everything, and I contrived to sleep.
H. roused us at dawn. Reeney found light-wood enough on the raft
to make a
good fire for coffee, which never tasted better. Then all hands
in unloading; a rope was fastened to the boat, Max got in, H. held
rope on the raft, and, by much pulling and pushing, it was forced
a narrow passage to the farther side. Here it had to be calked,
that was being done we improvised a dressing-room in the shadow of
trunks. (During the trip I had to keep the time, therefore
secure belt and watch was always an anxious part of my toilet.)
is now repacked, and while Annie and Reeney are washing cups I
scribbled, wishing much that mine were the hand of an artist.
Friday morning, July 18, 1862. (House of Col. K., on Yazoo
River.) — After leaving the raft yesterday all went well till
we came to a narrow place where an immense tree lay clear across
stream. It seemed the insurmountable obstacle at last. We sat
what to do, when a man appeared beside us in a pirogue. So sudden,
silent was his arrival that we were thrilled with surprise. He
said if we
had a hatchet he could help us. His fairy bark floated in among
branches like a bubble, and he soon chopped a path for us, and was
delighted to get some matches in return. He said the cannon we
yesterday were in an engagement with the ram Arkansas,
which ran out of
the Yazoo that morning. We did not stop for dinner to-day, but ate
lunch in the boat, after which nothing but a small piece of bread
left. About two we reached the forks, one of which ran to the
other to the Old River. Max said the right fork was our road; H.
left, that there was an error in Max's map; but Max steered into
fork. After pulling about three miles he admitted his mistake and
back; but I shall never forget Old River. It was the vision of a
world, an illimitable waste of dead waters, stretching into a
silent, desolate forest. A horror chilled me and I begged them to
out of that terrible place.
Just as we turned into the right way, down came the rain so hard
we had to stop on the bank. It defied trees or umbrellas and
away the breath. The boat began to fill, and all five of us had to
as fast as possible for the half-hour the sheet of water was
As it abated a cold breeze sprung up that, striking our wet
chilled us to the bone. All were shivering and blue — no, I was
Before leaving Mr. Fetler's Wednesday morning I had donned a
calico. I wiped my face with a handkerchief out of my pocket, and
hands were all dyed a deep green. When Annie turned round and
looked at me
she screamed and I realized how I looked; but she was not much
of all dejected things wet feathers are the worst, and the plumes
hat were painful.
About five we reached Colonel K.'s house, right where Steele's
empties into the Yazoo. We had both to be fairly dragged out of
so cramped and weighted were we by wet skirts. The family were
the house was headquarters for a squad of Confederate cavalry,
also absent. The old colored housekeeper received us kindly and
fires in our rooms to dry the clothing. My trunk had got cracked
and all the clothing to be got at was wet. H. had dropped his in
while lifting it out, and his clothes were wet. A spoonful of
apiece was left in the little flask, and I felt that mine saved me
being ill. Warm blankets and the brandy revived us, and by
got into some dry clothes.
Just then the squad of cavalry returned; they were only a dozen,
made much, uproar, being in great excitement. Some of them were
Max and H., who learned from them that a gunboat was coming to
out of this house. Then ensued a clatter such as twelve men surely
made before — rattling about the halls and galleries in heavy boots
spurs, feeding horses, calling for supper, clanking swords,
unbuckling belts and pistols. At last supper was dispatched, and
mounted and were gone like the wind. We had a quiet supper and
night's rest in spite of the expected shells, and did not wake
to-day to realize we were not killed. About eleven breakfast was
furnished. Now we are waiting till the rest of our things are
start on our last day of travel by water.
Sunday, July 20, 1862. — A little way down the Yazoo on
Friday we ran
into McNutt's Lake, thence into Chickasaw Bayou, and at dark
Mrs. C.'s farm, the nearest neighbors of H.'s uncle. The house was
Confederate sick, friends from Vicksburg, and while we ate supper
present poured out the story of the shelling and all that was to
at Vicksburg. Then our stuff was taken from the boat, and we
abandoned the stanch little craft that had carried us for over one
and twenty-five miles in a trip occupying nine days. The luggage
wagon, and ourselves packed in a buggy, were driven for four or
miles, over the roughest road I ever traveled, to the farm of Mr.
uncle, where we arrived at midnight and hastened to hide in bed
exhaustion of mind and body. Yesterday we were too tired to think,
do anything but to eat peaches.
WILD TIMES IN MISSISSIPPI.
This morning there was a most painful scene. Annie's father came
Vicksburg, ten miles from here, and learned of our arrival from
messenger. He sent out a carriage to bring Annie and Max to town
might go home with him, and with it came a letter for me from
the Jackson Railroad, written many weeks before. They had heard
village home was under water, and invited us to visit them. The
been sent to Annie's people to forward, and thus had reached us.
decided H., as the place was near New Orleans, to go there and
chance of getting into that city. Max, when he heard this from H.,
all self-control and cried like a baby. He stalked about the
garden in the
most tragic manner, exclaiming:
"Oh! my soul's brother from youth up is a traitor! A traitor to
Then H. got angry and said, "Max, don't be a fool!"
"Who has done this?" bawled Max. "You felt with the South at
has changed you?"
"Of course I feel for the South now, and nobody has
changed me but the
logic of events, though the twenty-negro law has intensified my
I can't see why I, who have no slaves, must go to fight for them,
every man who has twenty may stay at home."
I, also, tried to reason with Max and pour oil on his wound.
interest has a man like you, without slaves, in a war for slavery?
you had them, they would not be your best property. That lies in
country and its resources. Nearly all the world has given up
can't the South do the same and end the struggle? It has shown you
the South needs, and if all went to work with united hands the
soon be the greatest country on earth. You have no right to call
traitor; it is we who are the true patriots and lovers of the
This had to come, but it has upset us both. H. is deeply attached
and I can't bear to see a cloud between them. Max, with Annie and
drove off an hour ago, Annie so glad at the prospect of again
mother that nothing could cloud her day. And so the close
six months, and of dangers, trials, and pleasures shared together,
Oak Ridge, July 26, 1862, Saturday. — It was not till
Wednesday that H.
could get into Vicksburg, ten miles distant, for a passport,
we could not go on the cars. We started Thursday morning. I had to
seven miles on a hard-trotting horse to the nearest station. The
burning at white heat. When the station was reached my hair was
hat on my neck, and my feelings were indescribable.
On the train one seemed to be right in the stream of war, among
soldiers, sick men and cripples, adieus, tears, laughter, constant
chatter, and, strangest of all, sentinels posted at the locked
demanding passports. There was no train south from Jackson that
day, so we
put up at the Bowman House. The excitement was indescribable. All
world appeared to be traveling through Jackson. People were
two hotels, offering enormous prices for the privilege of sleeping
anywhere under a roof. There were many refugees from New Orleans,
them some acquaintances of mine. The peculiar style of [women's]
necessitated by the exigencies of war gave the crowd a very
appearance. In single suits I saw sleeves of one color, the waist
another, the skirt of another; scarlet jackets and gray skirts;
waists and blue skirts; black skirts and gray waists; the trimming
gold braid and buttons, to give a military air. The gray and gold
of the officers, glittering between, made up a carnival of color.
moment we saw strange meetings and partings of people from all
South. Conditions of time, space, locality, and estate were all
everybody seemed floating he knew not whither, but determined to
and keep up an excitement. At supper we had tough steak, heavy,
dirty-looking bread, Confederate coffee. The coffee was made of
parched rye or cornmeal, or of sweet potatoes cut in small cubes
roasted. This was the favorite. When flavored with "coffee
sweetened with sorghum, and tinctured with chalky milk, it made a
beverage, which, after tasting, I preferred not to drink. Every
was drinking it, and an acquaintance said, "Oh, you'll get bravely
that. I used to be a Jewess about pork, but now we just kill a hog
it, and kill another and do the same. It's all we have."
Friday morning we took the down train for the station near my
house. At every station we had to go through the examination of
if in a foreign country.
The conscript camp was at Brookhaven, and every man had been
report there or to be treated as a deserter. At every station I
mentally, expecting H. to be dragged off. Brookhaven was also the
for dinner. I choked mine down, feeling the sword hanging over me
single hair. At sunset we reached our station. The landlady was
tea when we took our seats and I expected a treat, but when I
tasted it it
was sassafras tea, the very odor of which sickens me. There was a
surprise when I asked to exchange it for a glass of water; every
drinking it as if it were nectar. This morning we drove out here.
My friend's little nest is calm in contrast to the tumult not far
Yet the trials of war are here too. Having no matches, they keep
carefully covering it at night, for Mr. G. has no powder, and
the gun into combustibles as some do. One day they had to go with
children to the village, and the servant let the fire go out. When
returned at nightfall, wet and hungry, there was neither fire nor
Mr. G. had to saddle the tired mule and ride three miles for a pan
coals, and blow them, all the way back, to keep them alight.
gradually been broken and tin-cups rusted out, and a visitor told
had made tumblers out of clear glass bottles by cutting them
smooth with a
heated wire, and that they had nothing else to drink from.
Aug. 11, 1862. — We cannot get to New Orleans. A special
passport must be
shown, and we are told that to apply for it would render H. very
be conscripted. I begged him not to try; and as we hear that
hostilities have ceased at Vicksburg, he left me this morning to
his uncle's and see what the prospects are there. I shall be in
about conscription till he returns.
Sunday, Sept. 7., (Vicksburg, Washington Hotel) — H. did not
three weeks. An epidemic disease broke out in his uncle's family
children died. He staid to assist them in their trouble. Tuesday
he returned for me and we reached Vicksburg yesterday. It was my
sight of the "Gibraltar of the South." Looking at it from a slight
elevation suggests the idea that the fragments left from
had tumbled into a confused mass of hills, hollows, hillocks,
ditches, and ravines, and that the houses had rained down
all there was dust impossible to conceive. The bombardment has
injury. People have returned and resumed business. A gentleman
asked H. if
he knew of a nice girl for sale. I asked if he did not think it
to buy slaves now.
"Oh, not young ones. Old ones might run off when the enemy's
approach ours, but with young ones there is no danger."
We had not been many hours in town before a position was offered
which seemed providential. The chief of a certain department was
ill-health and wanted a deputy. It secures him from conscription,
no oath, and pays a good salary. A mountain seemed lifted off my
Thursday, Sept. 18, 1862. (Thanksgiving Day.) — We staid
three days at
the Washington Hotel; then a friend of H.'s called and told him to
his house till he could find a home. Boarding-houses have all been
up, and the army has occupied the few houses that were for rent.
secured a vacant room for two weeks in the only boarding-house.
Oak Haven, Oct. 3. — To get a house in V. proved impossible,
so we agreed
to part for a time till H. could find one. A friend recommended
farm, six miles from —— (a station on the Jackson Railroad). On
Saturday H. came with me as far as Jackson and put me on the other
for the station.
On my way hither a lady, whom I judged to be a Confederate
told me of the tricks resorted to to get things out of
Orleans, including this: A very large doll was emptied of its
with quinine, and elaborately dressed. When the owner's trunk was
she declared with tears that the doll was for a poor crippled
girl, and it
farm of Mr. W.'s
is kept with about forty negroes.
nearly sixty, is the only white man on it. He seems to have been
the beginning than most others, and curtailed his cotton to make
rye, rice, and corn. There is a large vegetable garden and
orchard; he has
bought plenty of stock for beef and mutton, and laid in a large
sugar. He must also have plenty of ammunition, for a man is kept
and supplies the table with delicious wild turkeys and other game.
is abundance of milk and butter, hives for honey, and no end of
Chickens seem to be kept like game in parks, for I never see any,
hunter shoots them, and eggs are plentiful. We have chicken for
dinner, and supper, fried, stewed, broiled, and in soup, and there
family of ten. Luckily I never tire of it. They make starch out of
corn-meal by washing the meal repeatedly, pouring off the water
the sediment. Truly the uses of corn in the Confederacy are
makes coffee, beer, whisky, starch, cake, bread. The only
are the lack of coffee, tea, salt, matches, and good candles. Mr.
now having the dirt-floor of his smoke-house dug up and boiling
the salt that has dripped into it for years. To-day Mrs. W. made
of dried blackberry leaves, but no one liked it. The beds, made
equal parts of cotton and corn-shucks, are the most elastic I ever
in. The servants are dressed in gray homespun. Hester, the
has a gray gown so pretty that I covet one like it. Mrs. W. is now
arranging dyes for the thread to be woven into dresses for herself
girls. Sometimes her hands are a curiosity.
The school at the nearest town is broken up and Mrs. W. says the
are growing up heathens. Mr. W. has offered me a liberal price to
children lessons in English and French, and I have accepted
Oct. 28, 1862. — It is a month to-day since I came here. I
only wish H.
could share these benefits — the nourishing food, the pure aromatic
the sound sleep away from the fevered life of Vicksburg. He sends
the papers he can get hold of, and we both watch carefully the
reported, lest an army should get between us. The days are full of
work, and in the lovely afternoons I take long walks with a big
company. The girls do not care for walking. In the evening Mr. W.
to read aloud all the war news. He is fond of the "Memphis
has moved from town to town so much that they call it the "Moving
I sit in a low chair by the fire, as we have no other light to
Sometimes traveling soldiers stop here, but that is rare.
Oct. 31. — Mr. W. said last night the farmers felt uneasy
"Emancipation Proclamation" to take effect in December. The slaves
found it out, though it had been carefully kept from them.
"Do yours know it?" I asked.
"Oh, yes. Finding it to be known elsewhere, I told it to mine
warning what to expect if they tried to run away. The hounds are
The need of clothing for their armies is worrying them too. I
Mrs. W. so excited as on last evening. She said the
provost-marshal at the
next town had ordered the women to knit so many pairs of socks.
"Just let him try to enforce it and they'll cow-hide him. He'll
from me. I'll take care of my own friends without an order from
"Well," said Mr. W., "if the South is defeated and the slaves set
the Southern people will all become atheists, for the Bible
slavery and says it shall be perpetual."
"You mean, if the Lord does not agree with you, you'll repudiate
"Well, we'll feel it's no use to believe in anything."
At night the large sitting-room makes a striking picture. Mr. W.,
erect, gray-headed, patriarchal, sits in his big chair by the
of pine logs and knots roaring up the vast fireplace. His driver
him the report of the day's picking and a basket of snowy cotton
spinning. The hunter brings in the game. I sit on the other side
The great spinning wheels stand at the other end of the room, and
and her black satellites, the heads of the elderly women in bright
bandanas, are hard at work. Slender and auburn-haired, she steps
forth out of shadow into shine following the thread with graceful
movements. Some card the cotton, some reel it into hanks. Over all
firelight glances, now touching the golden curls of little John
about, now the brown heads of the girls stooping over their books,
shadowy figure of little Jule, the girl whose duty it is to supply
fire with rich pine to keep up the vivid light. If they would only
child sit down! But that is not allowed, and she gets sleepy and
and knocks her head against the wall and then straightens up
that happens often it drives me off. Sometimes while I read the
room fades and a vision rises of figures clad in gray and blue
and stiff on the blood-sprinkled ground.
Nov. 15, 1862. — Yesterday a letter was handed me from H.
was moving, he wrote, steadily down the Mississippi Central and
the road at Jackson. He has a house and will meet me in Jackson
When Bessie J. and I went in to dinner to-day, a stranger was
Mr. W.; a dark, heavy-looking man who said but little. I excused
finish packing. Presently Bessie rushed upstairs flushed and
"I shall give Mr. W. a piece of my mind. He must have taken leave
"What is the matter, Bessie?"
"Why, G., don't you know whom you've been sitting at table with?"
"That stranger, you mean; I suppose Mr. W. forgot to introduce
"Forgot! He knew better than to introduce him! That man is a
nigger-chaser. He's got his bloodhounds here now."
"Did you see the dogs?"
"No, I asked Hester if he had them, and she said, 'Yes.' Think of
bringing him to table with us. If my brothers knew it there would
"Where are your brothers? At college still?"
"No, in the army; Pa told them they'd have to come and fight to
property. His men cost him twelve to fifteen hundred dollars
are too valuable to lose."
"Well, I wouldn't worry about this man, he may be useful some day
that kind of property."
"Of course, you can take it easily, you're going away; but if Mr.
thinks I'm going to sit at table with that wretch he's vastly
Nov. 20, 1862. (Vicksburg.) — A fair morning for my
journey back to
Vicksburg. The autumn woods were shining through a veil of silvery
and the spicy breezes blew cool and keen from the heart of the
friend sat beside me, a husband's welcome awaited me. General
recently appointed to the command at Vicksburg, was on the train;
gentleman who in New Orleans had told us we should have all the
wanted from Texas. On the cars, as elsewhere, the question of food
alternated with news of the war.
When we ran into the Jackson station H. was on the platform, and
learned that we could go right on. A runaway negro, an old man,
colored from fright and exhaustion, with his hands chained, was
dragged along by a common-looking man. Just as we started out of
the conductor led in a young woman sobbing in a heart-broken
grief seemed so overpowering, and she was so young and helpless,
every one was interested. Her husband went into the army in the
the war, just after their marriage, and she had never heard from
since. After months of weary searching she learned he had been
heard of at
Jackson, and came full of hope, but found no clue. The sudden
down of her hope was terrible. The conductor placed her in care of
gentleman going her way and left her sobbing. At the next station
conductor came to ask her about her baggage. She raised her head
and answer. "Don't cry so, you'll find him yet." She gave a start,
from her seat with arms flung out and eyes staring. "There he is
cried. Her husband stood before her.
The gentleman beside her yielded his seat, and as hand grasped
hysterical gurgle gave place to a look like Heaven's peace. The
of their talk began, and when I looked round at the next station
bought pies and were eating them together like happy children.
Midway between Jackson and Vicksburg we reached the station near
Annie's parents were staying. I looked out, and there stood Annie
little sister on each side of her, brightly smiling at us. Max had
to H., but we had not seen them since our parting. There was only
a word and the train flashed away.
We reached Vicksburg that night and went to H.'s room. Next
cook he had engaged arrived, and we moved into this house.
ignorance keeps me busy, and H. is kept close at his office.
January 7th, 1863. — I have had little to record recently,
for we have
lived to ourselves, not visiting or visited. Every one H. knows is
and I know no one. H. tells me of the added triumph since the
Sherman in December, and the one paper published here shouts
much as its gradually diminishing size will allow. Paper is a
want. There is a great demand for envelopes in the office where H.
found and bought a lot of thick and smooth colored paper, cut a
pattern, and we have whiled away some long evenings making
have put away a package of the best to look at when we are old.
I brought from Arkansas have proved a treasure, but we can get no
went to the only book-store open; there were none but Mrs. Stowe's
Memories of Foreign Lands." The clerk said I could have that
because he couldn't sell her books, so I am reading it now. The
has only been broken by letters from friends here and there in the
Confederacy. One of these letters tells of a Federal raid and
the worst thing was, they would take every tooth-brush in the
because we can't buy any more; and one cavalry man put my sister's
bonnet on his horse, and said 'Get up, Jack,' and her bonnet was
Feb. 25th, 1863. — A long gap in my journal, because H. has
been ill unto
death with typhoid fever. I nearly broke down from loss of sleep,
being no one to relieve me. It was terrible to be alone at night
patient in delirium, and no one within call. To wake Martha was
impossible. I got the best doctor here, but when convalescence
question of food was a trial. I got with great difficulty two
The doctor made the drug-store sell two of their six bottles of
said his patient's life depended on it. An egg is a rare and
thing. Meanwhile the Federal fleet has been gathering, has
anchored at the
bend, and shells are thrown in at intervals.
March 20th. — The slow shelling of Vicksburg goes on all the
time, and we
have grown indifferent. It does not at present interrupt or
daily avocations, but I suspect they are only getting the range of
different points; and when they have them all complete, showers of
will rain on us all at once. Non-combatants have been ordered to
prepare accordingly. Those who are to stay are having caves built.
Cave-digging has become a regular business; prices range from
fifty dollars, according to size of cave. Two diggers worked at
week and charged thirty dollars. It is well made in the hill that
just in the rear of the house, and well propped with thick posts,
all are. It has a shelf, also, for holding a light or water. When
in this evening and sat down, the earthy, suffocating feeling, as
living tomb, was dreadful to me. I fear I shall risk death outside
then melt in that dark furnace. The hills are so honeycombed with
that the streets look like avenues in a cemetery. The hill called
Sky-parlor has become quite a fashionable resort for the few
families left here. Some officers are quartered there, and there
is a band
and a field-glass. Last evening we also climbed the hill to watch
shelling, but found the view not so good as on a quiet hill nearer
Soon a lady began to talk to one of the officers: "It is such
them to waste their ammunition like that. How can they ever take a
that has such advantages for defense and protection as this? We'll
burrow into these hills and let them batter away as hard as they
"You are right, madam; and besides, when our women are so willing
death and endure discomfort, how can we ever be conquered?"
Soon she looked over with significant glances to where we stood,
to talk at H.
"The only drawback," she said, "are the contemptible men who are
at home in comfort when they ought to be in the army if they had a
I cannot repeat all, but it was the usual tirade. It is strange I
no one yet who seems to comprehend an honest difference of
stranger yet that the ordinary rules of good breeding are now so
ignored. As the spring comes on one has the craving for fresh,
that a monotonous diet produces. There was a bed of radishes and
the garden, that were a real blessing. An onion salad, dressed
salt, vinegar, and pepper, seemed a dish fit for a king, but last
the soldiers quartered near made a raid on the garden and took
April 2d, 1863. — We have had to move, and have thus lost
our cave. The
owner of the house suddenly returned and notified us that he
bring his family back; didn't think there'd be any siege. The cost
cave could go for the rent. That means he has got tired of the
and means to stay here and thus get out of it. This house was the
to be had. It was built by ex-Senator G., and is so large our tiny
household is lost in it. We only use the lower floor. The bell is
rung by persons who take it for a hotel and come beseeching food
price. To-day one came who would not be denied. "We do not keep a
but would willingly feed hungry soldiers if we had the food." "I
traveling all night and am starving; will pay any price for just
went to the dining-room and found some biscuits, and set out two,
large piece of corn-bread, a small piece of bacon, some nice
sirup, and a
pitcher of water. I locked the door of the safe and left him to
lunch. After he left I found he had broken open the safe and taken
April 28th, 1863. — What shall we eat? what shall we drink?
wherewithal shall we be clothed? We have no prophet of the Lord at
prayer the meal and oil will not waste. As to wardrobe, I have
darn like an artist. Making shoes is now another accomplishment.
in tatters. H. came across a moth-eaten pair that he bought me,
dollars, I think, and they fell into rags when I tried to wear
the soles were good, and that has helped me to shoes. A pair of
coat-sleeves — nothing is thrown away now — was in my trunk. I cut an
pattern from my old shoes, laid it on the sleeves, and cut out
uppers and sewed them carefully; then soaked the soles and sewed
to them. I am so proud of these home-made shoes that I think I'll
in a glass case when the war is over, as an heirloom. H. says he
to have an abiding faith that everything he needs to wear will
come out of
that trunk while the war lasts. It is like a fairy-casket. I have
dozen pins remaining, I gave so many away. Every time these are
are straightened and kept from rust. All these curious labors are
performed while the shells are leisurely screaming through the
air; but as
long as we are out of range we don't worry. For many nights we
but little sleep because the Federal gun-boats have been running
batteries. The uproar when this is happening is phenomenal. The
night the thundering artillery burst the bars of sleep, we thought
attack by the river. To get into garments and rush upstairs was
of a moment. From the upper gallery we have a fine view of the
soon a red glare lit up the scene and showed a small boat towing
barges, gliding by. The Confederates had set fire to a house near
bank. Another night, eight boats ran by, throwing a shower of
two burning houses made the river clear as day. One of the
batteries has a
remarkable gun they call "Whistling Dick," because of the
whistling sound it gives, and certainly it does sound like a
thing. Added to all this is the indescribable Confederate yell,
which is a
soul-harrowing sound to hear. I have gained respect for the
the human ear, which stands it all without injury. The streets are
quiet at night; even the dragging about of cannon makes a din in
echoing gullies. The other night we were on the gallery till the
the eight boats got by. Next day a friend said to H., "It was a
didn't have your heads taken off last night. I passed and saw them
stretched over the gallery, and grape-shot were whizzing up the
just on a level with you." The double roar of batteries and boats
great, we never noticed the whizzing. Yesterday the Cincinnati
to go by in daylight, but was disabled and sunk. It was a pitiful
we could not see the finale, though we saw her rendered helpless.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SIEGE.
Vicksburg, May 1st, 1863. — Ever since we were deprived of
our cave, I
had been dreading that H. would suggest sending me to the country,
his relatives live. As he could not leave his position and go also
being conscripted, and as I felt certain an army would get between
was no part of my plan to be obedient. A shell from one of the
mortars brought the point to an issue yesterday and settled it.
work as usual, listening to the distant sound of bursting shells,
apparently aimed at the court-house, there suddenly came a nearer
explosion; the house shook, and a tearing sound was followed by
screams from the kitchen. I rushed thither, but met in the hall
little girl America, bleeding from a wound in the forehead, and
dancing with fright and pain, while she uttered fearful yells. I
to examine the wound, and her mother bounded in, her black face
terror. "Oh! Miss G., my child is killed and the kitchen tore up."
America was too lively to have been killed, I consoled Martha and
to the kitchen. Evidently a shell had exploded just outside,
or four pieces through. When order was restored I endeavored to
Martha's mind the uselessness of such excitement. Looking round at
close of the lecture, there stood a group of Confederate soldiers
laughing heartily at my sermon and the promising audience I had.
chimed in with a parting chorus:
"Yes, it's no use hollerin', old lady."
"Oh! H.," I exclaimed, as he entered soon after, "America is
"That is no news; she has been wounded by traitors long ago."
"Oh, this is real, living, little, black America. I am not
symbols. Here are the pieces of shell, the first bolt of the
"Now you see," he replied, "that this house will be but paper to
mortar-shells. You must go into the country."
The argument was long, but when a woman is obstinate and
generally conquers. I came off victorious, and we finished
for the siege to-day. Hiring a man to assist, we descended to the
wine-cellar, where the accumulated bottles told of festive hours
since departed. To empty this cellar was the work of many hours.
the safest corner a platform was laid for our bed, and in another
one arranged for Martha. The dungeon, as I call it, is lighted
only by a
trap-door, and is very damp. The next question was of supplies. I
nothing left but a sack of rice-flour, and no manner of cooking I
heard or invented contrived to make it eatable. A column of
making delicious preparations of it had been going the rounds of
Confederate papers. I tried them all; they resulted only in
sticky paste. H. sallied out on a hunt for provisions, and when he
returned the disproportionate quantity of the different articles
a smile. There was a hogshead of sugar, a barrel of sirup,
ten pounds of
bacon and pease, four pounds of wheat-flour, and a small sack of
corn-meal, a little vinegar, and actually some spice! The
purchased for ten dollars as a special favor from the sole
barrel for sale. We decided that must be kept for sickness. The
meal, he said, was a case of corruption, though a special
us. There is no more for sale at any price, but, said he, "a
was hauling some of the Government sacks to the hospital offered
for five dollars, if I could keep a secret. When the meal is
perhaps we can keep alive on sugar. Here are some wax candles;
like gold." He handed me a parcel containing about two pounds of
and left me to arrange my treasures. It would be hard for me to
the memories those candles called up. The long years melted away,
“Trod again my childhood's track
And felt its very gladness.”
In those childish days, whenever came dreams of household
festal rooms or gay illuminations, the lights in my vision were
candles burning with a soft radiance that enchanted every
scene . . . . And,
lo! here on this spring day of '63, with war raging through the
was in a fine house, and had my wax candles sure enough, but,
were neither cerulean blue nor rose-tinted, but dirty brown; and
lighted one, it spluttered and wasted like any vulgar, tallow
lighted only a desolate scene in the vast handsome room. They were
good as the waxen rope we had made in Arkansas. So, with a long
the dreams of youth, I return to the stern present in this
my only consolation to remember the old axiom, "A city besieged is
taken," — so if we live through it we shall be out of the
is very tired of having to carry a pass around in his pocket and
now and then to have it renewed. We have been so very free in
these restrictions are irksome.
May 9th, 1863. — This morning the door-bell rang a startling
being busy; I answered it. An orderly in gray stood with an
envelope in his hand.
"Who lives here?"
Very imperiously — "Which Mr. L.?"
"Is he here?"
"Where can he be found?"
"At the office of Deputy —— ."
"I'm not going there. This is an order from General Pemberton for
move out of this house in two hours. He has selected it for
He will furnish you with wagons.".
"Will he furnish another house also?"
"Of course not."
"Has the owner been consulted?"
"He has not; that is of no consequence; it has been taken. Take
"I shall not take it, and I shall not move, as there is no place
to but the street."
"Then I'll take it to Mr. L."
"Very well, do so."
As soon as Mr. Impertine walked off I locked, bolted, and barred
door and window. In ten minutes H. came home.
"Hold the fort till I've seen the owner and the general," he
said, as I
locked him out.
Then Dr. B.'s remark in New Orleans about the effect of Dr. C.'s
presence on the Confederate officials there came to my mind. They
influenced in that way, I thought; I look rather shabby now, I
I made an elaborate toilet, put on the best and most becoming
dress I had,
the richest lace, the handsomest ornaments, taking care that all
appropriate to a morning visit; dressed my hair in the stateliest
and took a seat in the parlor ready for the fray. H. came to the
"Landlord says, 'Keep them out. Wouldn't let them have his house
price.' He is just riding off to the country and can't help us
I'm going to see Major C, who sent the order."
Next came an officer, banged at the door till tired, and walked
the orderly came again and beat the door — same result. Next, four
with bundles and lunch-baskets, followed by a wagon-load of
They went round the house, tried every door, peeped in the
pounded and rapped, while I watched them through the blind-slats.
Presently the fattest one, a real
man, came back to
door and rung a thundering peal. I saw the chance for fun and for
on their own grandiloquent style. Stealing on tiptoe to the door,
the key and bolt noiselessly, and suddenly threw wide back the
appeared behind it. He had been leaning on it, and nearly pitched
with an "Oh! what's this?" Then seeing me as he straightened up,
madam!" almost stuttering from surprise and anger, "are you aware
the right to break down this door if you hadn't opened it?"
"That would make no difference to me. I'm not the owner. You or
landlord would pay the bill for the repairs."
"Why didn't you open the door?"
"Have I not done so as soon as you rung? A lady does not open the
men who beat on it. Gentlemen usually ring; I thought it might be
"Well," growing much blander, "we are going to send you some
move; you must get ready."
"With pleasure, if you have selected a house for me. This is too
does not suit me."
"No, I didn't find a house for you."
"You surely don't expect me to run about in the dust and
look for it, and Mr. L. is too busy."
"Well, madam, then we must share the house. We will take the
"I prefer to keep the lower floor myself; you surely don't expect
go up and down stairs when you are so light and more able to do
He walked through the hall, trying the doors. "What room is
that?" — "The
parlor." "And this?" — "My bedroom." "And this?" — "The dining-room."
"Well, madam, we'll find you a house and then come and take
"Thank you, colonel. I shall be ready when you find the house.
I heard him say as he ran down the steps, "We must go back,
see I didn't know they were this kind of people."
Of course the orderly had lied in the beginning to scare me, for
Pemberton is too far away from Vicksburg to send such an order. He
looking about for General Grant. We are told he has gone out to
Johnston; and together they expect to annihilate Grant's army and
Vicksburg forever. There is now a general hospital opposite this
a small-pox hospital next door. War, famine, pestilence, and fire
us. Every day the band plays in front of the small-pox hospital. I
if it is to keep up their spirits? One would suppose quiet would
May 17th, 1863. — Hardly was our scanty breakfast over this
a hurried ring drew us both to the door. Mr. J., one of H.'s
stood there in high excitement.
"Well, Mr. L., they are upon us; the Yankees will be here by this
"What do you mean?"
"That Pemberton has been whipped at Baker's Creek and Big Black,
army are running back here as fast as they can come and the Yanks
them, in such numbers nothing can stop them. Hasn't Pemberton
acted like a
"He may not be the only one to blame," replied H.
"They're coming along the Big B. road, and my folks went down
there to be
safe, you know; now they're right in it. I hear you can't see the
for the dust; never was anything else known like it. But I must go
to bring my folks back here."
What struck us both was the absence of that concern to be
expected, and a
sort of relief or suppressed pleasure. After twelve some
men sat down under the window.
"What is the news?" I inquired.
"Retreat, retreat!" they said, in broken English — they were
About 3 o'clock the rush began. I shall never forget that woful
sight of a
beaten, demoralized army that came rushing back, — humanity in the
throes of endurance. Wan, hollow-eyed, ragged, footsore, bloody,
limped along unarmed, but followed by siege-guns, ambulances,
gun-carriages, and wagons in aimless confusion. At twilight two or
bands on the court-house hill and other points began playing
Blue Flag, and so on, and drums began to beat all about; I suppose
were rallying the scattered army.
THE SIEGE ITSELF.
May 28th, 1863. — Since that day the regular siege has
continued. We are
utterly cut off from the world, surrounded by a circle of fire.
shower of shells goes on day and night. H.'s occupation, of
gone, his office closed. Every man has to carry a pass in his
People do nothing but eat what they can get, sleep when they can,
dodge the shells. There are three intervals when the shelling
either for the guns to cool or for the gunners' meals, I
suppose, — about
eight in the morning, the same in the evening, and at noon. In
we have both to prepare and eat ours. Clothing cannot be washed or
anything else done. On the 19th and 22d, when the assaults were
the lines, I watched the soldiers cooking on the green opposite.
half-spent balls coming all the way from those lines were flying
that they were obliged to dodge at every turn. At all the caves I
see from my high perch, people were sitting, eating their poor
the cave doors, ready to plunge in again. As the first shell again
they dived, and not a human being was visible. The sharp crackle
musketry-firing was a strong contrast to the scream of the bombs.
all the dogs and cats must be killed or starved, we don't see any
pitiful animals prowling around . . . . The cellar is so damp and
bedding has to be carried out and laid in the sun every day, with
forecast that it may be demolished at any moment. The confinement
dreadful. To sit and listen as if waiting for death in a horrible
would drive me insane. I don't know what others do, but we read
when I am
not scribbling in this. H. borrowed somewhere a lot of Dickens's
and we reread them by the dim light in the cellar. When the
abates H. goes to walk about a little or get the "Daily Citizen,"
still issuing a tiny sheet at twenty-five and fifty cents a copy.
of course, but a rehash of speculations which amuses half an hour.
we heard while out that expert swimmers are crossing the
logs at night to bring and carry news to Johnston. I am so tired
corn-bread, which I never liked, that I eat it with tears in my
are lucky to get a quart of milk daily from a family near who have
they hourly expect to be killed. I send five dollars to market
morning, and it buys a small piece of mule-meat. Rice and milk is
food; I can't eat the mule-meat. We boil the rice and eat it cold
milk for supper. Martha runs the gauntlet to buy the meat and milk
day in a perfect terror. The shells seem to have many different
hear the soldiers say, "That's a mortar-shell. There goes a
That's a rifle-shell." They are all equally terrible. A pair of
chimney-swallows have built in the parlor chimney. The concussion
house often sends down parts of their nest, which they patiently
and reascend with.
Friday, June 5th, 1863. (In the cellar.) — Wednesday evening
H. said he
must take a little walk, and went while the shelling had stopped.
leaves me alone long, and when an hour had passed without his
grew anxious; and when two hours, and the shelling had grown
momentarily expected to see his mangled body. All sorts of horrors
the mind now, and I am so desolate here; not a friend. When he
said that passing a cave where there were no others near, he heard
and found a shell had struck above and caused the cave to fall in
man within. He could not extricate him alone, and had to get help
him out. He was badly hurt, but not mortally. I felt fairly sick
Yesterday morning a note was brought H. from a bachelor uncle out
trenches, saying he had been taken ill with fever, and could we
him if he came? H. sent to tell him to come, and I arranged one of
parlors as a dressing-room for him, and laid a pallet that he
back and forth to the cellar. He did not arrive, however. It is
in the evening to sit in the front room a little while in the
matches and candles held ready in hand, and watch the shells,
at night is shown by the fuse. H. was at the window and suddenly
up, crying, "Run!" — "Where?" — "Back!"
I started through the back room, H. after me. I was just within
when the crash came that threw me to the floor. It was the most
sensation I'd ever known. Worse than an earthquake, which I've
experienced. Shaken and deafened I picked myself up; H. had struck
to find me. I lighted mine, and the smoke guided us to the parlor
fixed for Uncle J. The candles were useless in the dense smoke,
and it was
many minutes before we could see. Then we found the entire side of
room torn out. The soldiers who had rushed in said, "This is an
eighty-pound Parrott." It had entered through the front and burst
pallet-bed, which was in tatters; the toilet service and
in the room was smashed. The soldiers assisted H. to board up the
with planks to keep out prowlers, and we went to bed in the cellar
usual. This morning the yard is partially plowed by two shells
there in the night. I think this house, so large and prominent
river, is perhaps mistaken for headquarters and specially shelled.
descend at night to the lower regions, I think of the evening hymn
grandmother taught me when a child:
"Lord, keep us safe this night,
Secure from all our fears;
May angels guard us while we
Till morning light appears."
June 7th, 1863. (In the cellar.) — I feel especially
grateful that amid
these horrors we have been spared that of suffering for water. The
has been dry a long time, and we hear of others dipping up the
ditches and mud-holes. This place has two large underground
good cool water, and every night in my subterranean dressing-room
of cold water is the nerve-calmer that sends me to sleep in spite
roar. One cistern I had to give up to the soldiers, who swarm
hungry animals seeking something to devour. Poor fellows! my heart
for them. They have nothing but spoiled, greasy bacon, and bread
musty pea-flour, and but little of that. The sick ones can't bolt
come into the kitchen when Martha puts the pan of corn-bread in
and beg for the bowl she has mixed it in. They shake up the
water, put in their bacon, and boil the mixture into a kind of
is easier to swallow than pea-bread. When I happen in they look so
of their poor clothes. I know we saved the lives of two by giving
meals. To-day one crawled upon the gallery to lie in the breeze.
as if shells had lost their terrors for his dumb and famished
taught Martha to make first-rate corn-meal gruel, because I can
easier that way than in hoe-cake, and I prepared him a saucerful,
and sugar and nutmeg — I've actually got a nutmeg. When he ate it
ran from his eyes. "Oh, madam, there was never anything so good! I
June 9th, 1863. — The churches are a great resort for those
who have no
caves. People fancy they are not shelled so much, and they are
and the pews good to sleep in. We had to leave this house last
were shelling our quarter so heavily. The night before, Martha
cellar for a church. We went to H.'s office, which was com
quiet last night. H. carried the bank box; I the case of matches;
the blankets and pillows, keeping an eye on the shells. We slept
of old newspapers. In the streets the roar seems so much more
feel sure I shall run right into the way of a shell. They seem to
five different sounds from the second of throwing them to the
wandering among the hills, which sounds the most blood-curdling of
June 13th, 1863. — Shell burst just over the roof this
tore through both floors down into the dining-room. The entire
that room fell in a mass. We had just left it. Every piece of
the table was smashed. The "Daily Citizen" to-day is a foot and a
long and six inches wide. It has a long letter from a Federal
P. Hill, who was on the gun-boat Cincinnati, that was sunk
Says it was found in his floating trunk. The editorial says, "The
confidence is felt that we can maintain our position until succor
from outside. The undaunted Johnston is at hand."
June 18th. — To-day the "Citizen" is printed on wall paper;
grown a little in size. It says, "But a few days more and Johnston
here"; also that "Kirby Smith has driven Banks from Port Hudson,"
"the enemy are throwing incendiary shells in."
June 20th. — The gentleman who took our cave came yesterday
to invite us
to come to it, because, he said, "it's going to be very bad
don't know why he thought so. We went, and found his own and
family in it; sat outside and watched the shells till we concluded
cellar was as good a place as that hill-side. I fear the want of
is breaking down H. I know from my own feelings of weakness, but
not an American constitution and has a recuperative power that his
June 21st, 1863. — I had gone upstairs to-day during the
enjoy a rest on my bed and read the reliable items in the
a shell burst right outside the window in front of me. Pieces flew
striking all round me, tearing down masses of plaster that came
over me. When H. rushed in I was crawling out of the plaster,
out of my eyes and hair. When he picked up beside my pillow a
large as a saucer, I realized my narrow escape. The window-frame
smoke, and we saw the house was on fire. H. ran for a hatchet and
water, and we put it out. Another (shell) came crashing near, and
snatched up my comb and brush and ran down here. It has taken all
afternoon to get the plaster out of my hair, for my hands were
June 25th. — A horrible day. The most horrible yet to me,
lost my nerve. We were all in the cellar, when a shell came
through the roof, burst upstairs, and tore up that room, the
through both floors down into the cellar. One of them tore open
the leg of
H.'s pantaloons. This was tangible proof the cellar was no place
protection from them. On the heels of this came Mr. J., to tell us
young Mrs. P. had had her thighbone crushed. When Martha went for
she came back horror-stricken to tell us the black girl there had
taken off by a shell. For the first time I quailed. I do not think
who are physically brave deserve much credit for it; it is a
nerves. In this way I am constitutionally brave, and seldom think
danger till it is over; and death has not the terrors for me it
some others. Every night I had lain down expecting death, and
morning rose to the same prospect, without being unnerved. It was
for H. I
trembled. But now I first seemed to realize that something worse
death might come; I might be crippled, and not killed. Life,
one's powers and limbs, was a thought that broke down my courage.
to H., "You must get me out of this horrible place; I cannot stay;
I shall be crippled." Now the regret comes that I lost control,
for H. is
worried, and has lost his composure, because my coolness has
July 1st, 1863. — Some months ago, thinking it might be
obtained from the consul of my birthplace, by sending to another
passport for foreign parts. H. said if we went out to the lines we
be permitted to get through on that. So we packed the trunk, got a
carriage, and on the 30th drove out there. General V. offered us
his tent. The rifle-bullets were whizzing so zip, zip from
sharp-shooters on the Federal lines that involuntarily I moved on
chair. He said, "Don't be alarmed; you are out of range. They are
at our mules yonder." His horse, tied by the tent door, was
over, the most intense exhibition of fear I'd ever seen in an
General V. sent out a flag of truce to the Federal headquarters,
we waited wrote on a piece of silk paper a few words. Then he
wife is in Tennessee. If you get through the lines, give her this.
will search you, so I will put it in this toothpick." He crammed
paper into a quill toothpick, and handed it to H. It was
concealed. The flag-of-truce officer came back flushed and angry.
Grant says that no human being shall pass out of Vicksburg; but
may feel sure danger will soon be over. Vicksburg will surrender
"Is that so, general?" inquired H. "Are arrangements for
"We know nothing of the kind. Vicksburg will not surrender."
"Those were General Grant's exact words, sir," said the
course it is nothing but their brag."
We went back sadly enough, but to-day H. says he will cross the
General Porter's lines and try there; I shall not be disappointed.
July 3d, 1863. — H. was going to headquarters for the
requisite pass, and
he saw General Pemberton crawling out of a cave, for the shelling
as hot as ever. He got the pass, but did not act with his usual
for the boat he secured was a miserable, leaky one — a mere trough.
Martha in charge, we went to the river, had our trunks put in the
and embarked; but the boat became utterly unmanageable, and began
with water rapidly. H. saw that we could not cross it and turned
back; yet in spite of that the pickets at the battery fired on us.
raised the white flag he had, yet they fired again, and I gave a
horror that none of these dreadful things had wrung from me. I
was struck. When we landed H. showed the pass, and said that the
had told him the battery would be notified we were to cross. The
apologized and said they were not notified. He furnished a cart to
home, and to-day we are down in the cellar again, shells flying as
as ever. Provisions are so nearly gone, except the hogshead of
a few more days will bring us to starvation indeed. Martha says
hanging dressed in the market for sale with mule meat, — there is
else. The officer at the battery told me he had eaten one
have tried to leave this Tophet and failed, and if the siege
must summon that higher kind of courage — moral bravery — to subdue my
of possible mutilation.
July 4th, 1863. — It is evening. All is still. Silence and
night are once
more united. I can sit at the table in the parlor and write. Two
are lighted. I would like a dozen. We have had wheat supper and
bread once more. H. is leaning back in the rocking-chair; he says:
"G., it seems to me I can hear the silence, and feel it too. It
like a soft garment; how else can I express this peace?"
But I must write the history of the last twenty-four hours. About
yesterday afternoon, Mr. J., H.'s assistant, who, having no wife
him in, dodges about at every change and brings us the news, came
"Mr. L., you must both come to our cave to-night. I hear that
shelling is to surpass anything yet. An assault will be made in
rear. You know we have a double cave; there is room for you in
mother and sister will make a place for Mrs. L. Come right up; the
will open about seven."
We got ready, shut up the house, told Martha to go to the church
she preferred it to the cellar, and walked up to Mr. J.'s. When
eaten, all secure, and the ladies in their cave night toilet, it
six, and we crossed the street to the cave opposite. As I crossed
shell flew screaming over my head. It was the last thrown into
We lay on our pallets waiting for the expected roar, but no sound
except the chatter from the neighboring caves, and at last we
asleep. I woke at dawn stiff. A draught from the funnel-shaped
been blowing on me all night. Every one was expressing surprise at
quiet. We started for home and met the editor of the "Daily
"This is strangely quiet, Mr. L."
"Ah, sir," shaking his head gloomily, "I'm afraid the last shell
thrown into Vicksburg."
"Why do you fear so?"
"It is surrender. At six last evening a man went down to the
blew a truce signal; the shelling stopped at once."
When I entered the kitchen a soldier was there waiting for the
scrapings. (They took turns for it.)
"Good-morning, madam," he said; "we won't bother you much longer.
thank you enough for letting us come, for getting this soup boiled
helped some of us to keep alive, but now all this is over."
"Is it true about the surrender?"
"Yes; we have had no official notice, but they are paroling out
lines now, and the men in Vicksburg will never forgive Pemberton.
granny! A child would have known better than to shut men up in
trap to starve to death like useless vermin." His eyes flashed
insane fire as he spoke. "Haven't I seen my friends carted out
four in a box, that had died of starvation! Nothing else, madam!
to death because we had a fool for a general."
"Don't you think you're rather hard on Pemberton? He thought it
to wait for Johnston."
"Some people may excuse him, ma'am, but we'll curse him to our
Anyhow, you'll see the blue-coats directly."
Breakfast dispatched, we went on the upper gallery. The street
deserted, save by a few people carrying home bedding from their
Among these was a group taking home a little creature, born in a
few days previous, and its wan-looking mother. About 11 o'clock a
blue came sauntering along, looking about curiously. Then two
him, then another.
"H., do you think these can be the Federal soldiers?"
"Why, yes; here come more up the street."
Soon a group appeared on the court-house hill, and the flag began
to rise to the top of the staff. As the breeze caught it, and it
out like a live thing exultant, H. drew a long breath of
"Now I feel once more at home in my own country."
In an hour more a grand rush of people set in toward the
river, — foremost
among them the gentleman who took our cave; all were flying as if
"What can this mean, H.? Are the populace turning out to greet
"Oh," said H., springing up, "look! It is the boats coming around
Truly, it was a fine spectacle to see that fleet of transports
around the curve and anchor in the teeth of the batteries so
vomiting fire. Presently Mr. J. passed and called:
"Aren't you coming, Mr. L.? There's provisions on those boats:
flour. 'First come, first served,' you know."
"Yes, I'll be there pretty soon," replied H.
But now the new-comers began to swarm into our yard, asking H. if
coin to sell for greenbacks. He had some, and a little bartering
with the new greenbacks. H. went out to get provisions. When he
Confederate officer came with him. H. went to the box of
and took out four hundred dollars, and the officer took off his
plain gold one, and laid it on the table, saying, "We have not
and I must get home to my family." H. added a five-dollar
greenback to the
pile, and wished him a happy meeting. The townsfolk continued to
through the streets with their arms full, canned goods
Towards five Mr. J. passed again. "Keep on the lookout," he said;
army of occupation is coming along," and in a few minutes the head
column appeared. What a contrast to the suffering creatures we had
long were these stalwart, well-fed men, so splendidly set up and
accoutered! Sleek horses, polished arms, bright plumes, — this was
pride and panoply of war. Civilization, discipline, and order
enter with the measured tramp of those marching columns; and the
turned with throbs of added pity to the worn men in gray, who were
blindly dashed against this embodiment of modern power. And now
"silence that is golden" indeed is over all, and my limbs are
I suppose if I were Catholic, in my fervent gratitude, I would hie
a rich offering to the shrine of "our Lady of Mercy."
July 7th, 1863. — I did not enjoy quiet long. First came
announced her intention of going to search for her sons, as she
now. I was hardly able to stand since the severe cold taken in the
that night, but she would not wait a day. A colored woman came in
a place, and said she had asked her mistress for wages and her
had turned her out. I was in no condition to stand upon ceremony
engaged her at once, but hear to-day that I am thoroughly pulled
in Vicksburg circles; there is no more salvation for me. Next came
Federal officers and wanted rooms and board. To have some
protection was a
necessity; both armies were still in town, and for the past three
every Confederate soldier I see has a cracker in his hand. There
any water in town, no prospect of rain, and the soldiers have
cistern in the yard already and begun on the other. The colonel
guard at the gate to limit the water given. Next came the owner of
house and said we must move; he wanted the house, but it was so
just bring his family in; we could stay till we got one. They
boarders with them too, and children. Men are at work all over the
shoveling up the plaster before repairing. Upstairs they are
pouring it by
bucketfuls through the windows. Colonel D. brought work for H. to
with from headquarters. Making out the paroles and copying them
so long they wanted help. I am surprised and mortified to find
two-thirds of all the men who have signed made their mark; they
write. I never thought there was so much ignorance in the South.
the men at headquarters took a fancy to H. and presented him with
portfolio, that he said he had captured when the Confederates
their headquarters at Jackson. It contained mostly family letters
in French, and a few official papers. Among them was the following
which I will copy here, and file away the original as a curiosity
war is over.
HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF TENN.
TUPELO, AUG 6, 1862.
Capt.: The Major-General Commanding directs me to say that he
altogether to your own discretion whether you make the attempt
General Grant or not. While the exploit would be very brilliant
successful, you must remember that failure might be disastrous
to you and
your men. The General commends your activity and energy and
expects you to
continue to show these qualities.
I am, very respectfully, yr. obt. svt.
Thomas L. Snead, A.A.G.
CAPT. GEO. L. BAXTER,
Commanding Beaureguard Scouts.
I would like to know if he tried it and came to grief or
project. As letters can now get through to New Orleans, I wrote
July 14th, 1863. — Moved yesterday into a house I call "Fair
bower" because it would take a clue of thread to go through it
getting lost. One room has five doors opening into the house, and
windows. The stairs are like ladders, and the colonel's contraband
won't risk his neck taking down water, but pours it through the
people's heads. We shan't stay in it. Men are at work closing up
caves; they had become hiding-places for trash. Vicksburg is now
vast hospital — every one is getting sick or is sick. My cook was
to-day with bilious fever, and nothing but will keeps me up.
July 23d, 1863. — We moved again two days ago.
Aug. 20. — Sitting in my easy chair to-day, looking out upon
slope of the hill in the rear of this house, I have looked over
journal as if in a dream; for since the last date sickness and
been with me. I feel as if an angry wave had passed over me
strength and treasure. For on one day there came to me from New
the news of Mrs. B.'s death, a friend whom no tie of blood could
nearer. The next day my beautiful boy ended his brief life of ten
died in my arms. My own illness caused him to perish; the fatal
the cave was the last straw that broke down strength. The
wife has come, and I do not lack now for womanly companionship.
that with such a pre-natal experience perhaps death was the best
I try to think so, and to be glad that H. has not been ill, though
the effects. This book is exhausted, and I wonder whether there
more adventures by flood and field to cause me to begin another.
Author's name is
Richards Miller is generally credited with writing the diary. She was born in the West Indies and later moved to New Orleans. “Union woman” would refer to her union sympathies rather than her being from the North.
- "Life, fortune, and sacred honor."
References the last line of the Declaration of Independence.
Episcopal Church. Probably Christ Church, the first
Protestant church in New Orleans. The minister was probably the Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk, a rabid secessionist who left the pulpit to serve in the Confederate army as the "Fighting Bishop." Despite his zeal, he war regarded as a poor general.
- "Cabined, cribbed, confined."
Quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth, describing being bound mentally by fears.
- Journal des Debats.
A small boat.
omission. — Cable's note.
Twelve feet square. More
likely twelve yards. — Cable's note.
- "Blockade runner."
This term applied to individual smugglers like the woman mentioned here and also to privately owned steam ships used to cross the 3500 mile long Union blockade.
Farm of Mr. W.'s. On this
plantation, and in this domestic circle, I myself afterward
sojourned, and from them enlisted in the Confederate army. The
are fictitious, but the description is perfect. — Cable's note.
Having the qualities of Sir John Falstaff, a jovial rascal in Shakespeare's Henry IV
Cable, George Washington.
“War Diary of a Union Woman in the South: 1860-63.” Strange True Stories of Louisiana.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890. 261-350. Internet
Archive. 2 Aug. 2007. Web. 22 May 2013.
archive. org/ details/ strange true stori 00cabluoft>.
- Taylor Holton
- Bruce R. Magee
- Daniel Miller
- Moira Neary
Anthology of Louisiana