Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Downing’s Civil War Diary.–Alexander G. Downing.

Downing’s Civil War Diary.–Alexander G. Downing.

August 13, 2013

Diary of Alexander G. Downing; Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry

Thursday, 13th—It is rumored that our brigade is to go to Natchez, Mississippi, in a few days, but we cannot tell whether it is true or not. I was on police duty today, for the first time, down in Vicksburg. There are more than a hundred men detailed each day to keep order in the city, and nobody is allowed on the streets without a pass from the provost marshal. We work on eight-hour shifts, and each man has a certain part of a street to patrol for two hours at a time, after which he is off duty for a period of four hours. I was on duty in a residence district, and while I was walking my beat, a lady came out of her home for an afternoon’s walk. I of course had to ask her to show her pass. I must have looked pretty fierce to her, with loaded gun, fixed bayonet and all accouterments on. I asked her kindly for her pass and she answered that she had none, whereupon I told her what my orders were; that she would have to return to her home and not come out on the streets again without a pass, or I would have to take her to the provost marshal’s office. She thanked me very politely as I closed her gate, saying that she wanted to obey orders and that she would send out and procure a pass before going on the street again. This lady is certainly experiencing war at her own dooryard, yet she showed the good breeding of the Southern lady.

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