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

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

April 8th [1863]. Mrs. Waugh came over this morning to see if we would go to Greenville with her. I did not feel well, but made the attempt to dress myself; I was still in doubt when she left us to dress. In attempting to put on my clothes I was so weak that I felt fainty, and so determined to delay. I wrote her a note, putting off till some other time. I had not finished it when in rushed Mary Harrison, almost wild with joy. In these sad times a little joy will sometimes leaven the whole lump. Mary has just received two letters from her aunt Ellen, whose husband is a colonel in our army. She is at Franklin, Louisiana, a few hours’ ride on the car from this place. She is there with Sibley’s army, and that army is mostly composed of “Texans.” “We were soon almost as excited as she—a certain wild hope of getting out, there and under the protection of some of our people; get to Texas, or at least, hear of our sisters and brothers. A Captain Harley, mentioned in the late taking of Galveston, is a friend of Mrs. Riley’s (Mary’s aunt). He is also a friend of Mr. Randolph’s, and is the very redoubtable hero to whose care he was about to commend us when he was stationed at Galveston before its first fall, and when we thought we had some chance of reaching it. This gentleman (knight, nowadays) his two friends proclaim to be the ugliest of the ugly, but he is accomplished, wise, kind and brave, and, like all brave men, ready to serve a woman (I don’t say “lady”). He is at Franklin, and what is more than probable, Dick and James Pye, who were also in Galveston’s defence service, are there. They, my brother-in-law’s brothers, would be friends indeed; many and many an unthinking, joyous day have we spent together in the old times past. Never then did they or we think of the brass buttons, the stripes, the shoulder-straps and the grey cloth which now represents a new idea (Greybacks, these Federals call our soldiers), when, in the old time, before our two families moved South, we sat on the banks of the blue Potomac, watching the white sails and listening to the “Hail, Columbia,” of the steamers; little did we think that the dear river would one day shut out old Maryland from our country. They are Texans now, wearing her colors, bearing her lone star banner, and we have a foothold still in this desolated Louisiana; and Maryland, our mother, is torn and oppressed by Federal soldiers, and she, for her undecided course, the scorn, the pity of the world. Oh, is it not best to die early?

I was almost forgetting Mary Harrison and her letters. Well, her aunt wants her, and indeed, the whole family, to come to her immediately; says she is splendidly situated with the army and can make them comfortable. The girls are crazy to go out, but all depends on their father and these Federals. Ginnie said to Mary, “Yes, you can hear from your friends, but we hear nothing.” With one of her impulses, Mary leaped from her chair, and throwing her arms around Ginnie, kissed her, saying, “Yes, I thought of you as soon as I got my letter; I ought to be ashamed to tell you of it.” She then fell to begging us to go out with them if they went, promising us a warm welcome at her aunt’s and a splendid time until we could get farther on our journey. I have met Mrs. Riley, and like her very much. She has seen much of the world, and yet preserves her kindliness; she is both cultivated and agreeable. I have almost a hope of getting out. Oh, what a joy it would be to be under the roof of kindred once more! Sister, the children, Claude and brother [Washington LeGrand]; I never knew how much I loved them until now. Mary’s excited talk gave her a headache, and we made her a cup of tea, and we sat and had a long chat. But for Mrs. Norton’s making us nervous, saying every now and then, “Can’t listen to anything I have to say,” we could have had a pleasant time. Presently Mr. Randolph came in, and he and Mary having met here so often, Ginnie met him in the parlor with, “Yes, Miss Harrison is here; walk in; she has been here for some time.” Whereupon he blushed mightily. Mary made Ginnie introduce her to him as he entered, which made him blush again. Mrs. Dameron was here, too, and the talk was too mixed up for Mrs. Norton to take it all in, and while Mr. Randolph was telling her something, she spoke sharply to Ginnie, who was listening to Mary, to “Stop and listen to somebody.” “I am listening to somebody,” returned Ginnie, bowing to Mary. This was high satire, and when I remarked that “Miss Harrison was annihilated,” and Mary said she would never have the boldness to speak again, and Mr. Randolph had stopped in the middle of his speech and blushed, she became confused, and in some sort made apology. “Well,” she said, “when anybody is telling anything interesting, I want every one to hush and hear it.” Mr. Randolph was trying to convince her that we had Farragut, and as we had heard all his arguments before, and as we were sitting

[Here the Journal, as preserved, abruptly ends.]

April 7th. I have been quite sick, and am still too weak to write and sew much; so depressed in spirits that I find no diversion in anything. Within the last week the great Yazoo expedition has been abandoned; so also has the Port Hudson one. What Banks has done so far can not aid his infamous Government much. A few days ago the paroled prisoners in town received a notice to appear before a certain person at a given hour, or be fetched by the military. They obeyed the order, not knowing what was to become of them, whereupon they were locked up in the Custom House and sent off to be exchanged secretly, so that no crowd could collect and see them off. They left at night, and spite of secret movements, some knew of them and would at least appear upon the levee, though they dared make no demonstration in favor of the Confederate cause. One gentleman waved his hat to the departing boat and was immediately arrested. He proved to be a Scotchman, and nothing could be done to him. Ladies are constantly arrested for the color of the roses they wear on their bosoms and bonnets. Alas! for handkerchiefs bearing the Confederate flag! One of the paroled prisoners about to depart was presented with two roses by a lady—one red and the other white; he placed them in his button-hole, and the defiant exhibition caused his arrest and return. He was Lieutenant Musselman, and he was much disappointed at not being able to go with his companions beyond the lines. A flag of truce boat arrived here, but none of our people were allowed to put foot on the shore or to receive their friends on the boat. Mrs. Shute, who has been separated from her son for two years, went down to the levee to try to get a glimpse of him. She was denied the privilege of even standing on the shore and even getting a far-off glance at him. She went to each authority in town, begging the privilege of seeing him but for a moment or two on board the boat, but was refused.

There has never been such great and small tyrannies practised in the world before, I verily believe, as by those who now conduct the affairs of this city. A lady can not give a party in her own home without she receives a permit from some such creature as Captain Miller, or has her company broken in upon by the police. Such things make my blood boil, “Confederate blood,” the Era would say. Mrs. Wells was here yesterday; just received a letter from her daughter whom she sent outside the lines months ago. The officers tell her, Mattie Wells says, that everything is going on splendidly for us, and that our troubles will be over in May. Sarah Wells also writes that they all look cheerful, and are far from starvation. Matty Wells has been the victim of a physician’s blunder—he gave her poison, fortunately not in sufficient quantities to cause death, but she was perfectly blind for days. The mother is almost crazed about her two girls. She is here alone, her husband’s property having been seized here. He ran the blockade and went to Vera Cruz. Her relations at the North are very rich. She says she would go to them but fears her girls would not be happy there. They were born in the South, though they have until now passed much time in the North, and loved it. The horrors of this civil strife are too great to realize. I saw a day or two ago two sad-looking women on the street. “This is fulfilling the Scriptures,” said one; “the sons are fighting against the fathers, and the fathers against the sons.”

Mrs. Wilkinson has not yet gone out, having been put off from day to day by these miserable wretches here. Those who have taken the oath and are favorable to the Federal cause, can go out. The officers will positively deny that there is a schooner or any other opportunity for removal, when they know just as positively that people of their own stamp, who will swear to anything, are going often. The Wilkinsons have frequently summoned their friends for last goodbyes, having been promised immediate transit, but here they are still. The Wilkinson girls hurried Mary Ogden and Betty Neely in from Greenville day before yesterday, having been promised by General Sherman that they should go out the next day; the same gentleman told Mrs. Wells the very same day that they would not get off for weeks. They are sitting with their trunks packed and their daily interests are suspended, having been told that they might receive but an hour’s notice to depart. They treat Mrs. Wilkinson this way because her sons are in the army, her husband killed at Manassas, and because she will not take the oath. Mary Ogden was here yesterday, looking very badly and complaining. Lizzie and Jule look like roses; so also does Betty Neely. Mrs. Dameron, too, looks very healthy and very pretty. She is plump and clean-looking. She has been parted from the kindest and best of husbands for a whole year now. What a blessed thing good nerves are; ’tis a good thing, too, to lack that realizing sense of surrounding evils which eats out the very life principle when it once takes possession. It kills Ginnie and myself; we dwell on our misfortunes and those of others until the whole world seems Hope’s sepulcher.

Doctor Cartwright once said to Ginnie, “Oh, what a joyous little creature you were intended to be by Nature—how happy you might have been.” The old Doctor saw that no disease but that of the mind preyed upon her. He tried once to learn of me what it was that made her so unhappy, but finding that I could not confide, he desisted and wound up by telling me that we must go about more and be cheerful. We must marry, he said; but learning that it was quite impossible for us to love anyone, he said that it was not necessary for a woman to love before marriage, so that a man did. “Every woman,” said he, “will love the man who is kind to her.” Heavens, what a theory! The Doctor is a theorist, I know, but I am glad that he has not the power to practice upon his patients after this style. He was horrified when I told him that if I married a person without love that I should hate him afterward and myself, too. Dr. C—— realizes more fully than any man I ever knew the word “philosopher,” but no man knows how to philosophize about a woman—there are pages in her heart-history which the wisest of them can never read.

Many friends have been to see us. Ginnie looks so tired and ill; she is constantly telling me that I look so; indeed, our great anxiety about each other does us much harm. To meet her sad, pale face in the mornings is sometimes as much as I can bear. We two have grown to love each other very tenderly. People laugh and say that they think of us as one person. Our most angry words with one another are in the other’s behalf. Indeed, I am often worried over Ginnie when she refuses to eat some little delicacy, which these hard times have made scarce, because I won’t take it, too. It is very common for us to say to each other, “I will not touch one mouthful unless you do, too.” This seems a silly way to act, and sillier to record, but even in small matters we think the most of the other’s comfort than our own; to save the other little labors more than repays for taking them to ourselves. I know that if I were to die Ginnie could not be comforted, and should I lose her, I am finished forever. Were there no death or suffering in the world such love would be a source of infinite sweetness, but as it is, there is fear in every heart-throb.

The time passes; we hear no word from those that are near and dear. If letters have been sent, they have failed to reach us in these sad times. My sisters, my poor maimed brother, can it be that we are never, never to meet any more? It seems so. We may die in this Yankee-beset town and have no kindred to close our eyes! I sometimes wonder if they are not very anxious about us; but they know that we have friends here, and may not remember us as we remember them. Indeed, I would not wish them to know how we suffer, knowing that they can not reach us with help. Whenever I have been able to send off a few lines to them, I have said that we are well and safe. God forgive the untruth, but I hope some of my words have reached them. We are as well as sleepless nights and headaches from anxiety can leave us, and we have some friends, and many who say they are friends—one whom I would trust as a brother and one to whom I would not fear to open my heart as to a sister. I shall never forget Mr. Randolph and Mrs. Waugh. Simple-hearted, honest, true and kind, wiser and more spirited than those who pretend to more.

Saturday, April 4th [1863]. Judge and Mrs. Montgomery were here this morning, bringing reports of a bloody engagement in Yazoo. The enemy have been cut off from return after passing up some of the small rivers of that region in their attempts to reach the rear of Vicksburg. Seventeen transports, with men and supplies, have been captured by our people. This news is certainly true, the Judge says, and he is not easily deceived by evidence, and never lets his hopes run away with his judgment.

Wednesday, April 1st [1863]. Mary Ogden here. She has been to see Mrs. Tutt, a lady who is just in. Mary Harrison called on her yesterday, and we had quite a laugh at her doleful face when she returned from the visit. “I have called to make you all miserable,” was her greeting as she entered. Then followed a volley of disappointment. Mrs. Tutt stood sponsor for all. Stonewall Jackson is not outside; he is in Virginia. The Hartford is not taken; nor the Albatross. All of our gunboats are injured and undergoing repairs. We have lost Pontchatoula. There are three fine gunboats in Mobile harbor, but only intended for its defence; last of all, the Confederates are not even thinking of taking this place. One by one we recovered from these explosions. We began to take Mrs. Tutt’s character into consideration. Indeed, she is not the sort of woman we could even expect to hear good tidings. She has no imagination; therefore, could tell nothing in its true light, for according to a theory popular with romantic people, the real truth underlies the common surface, and it is only by realizing what we feel and cannot see that we reach it. Stonewall J—— must be there in spite of Mrs. Tutt. But in disguise, as we had heard. Mrs. Tutt is as truthful as the sunlight, but so prosaic—who would expect her to realize so stupendous a romance as that, and as for the expected attack here—who would, for a moment, suppose that our Generals would be so silly as to tell their plans to Mrs. Tutt! So we went on laughing very much and sighing a great deal audibly now and then. We had heard that Mrs. Tutt had taken a solemn oath to the Confederates not to reveal one single thing which she had seen or heard. This meant a great deal, we thought; if she could honestly reveal nothing, what might we not believe? This is the matter which Mary Ogden went to settle. One member of her family had said she had taken that very solemn oath; another said that it was only the oath to the Confederacy—taken Yankee fashion. Mrs. Wilkinson says that such an oath has never been administered in the Confederacy; so the matter must stand as we heard at first. They did not appeal directly to Mrs. Tutt, for she is in deep grief on account of her recently lost husband.

However, one by one our hopes are dying out. Our imprisonment is terrible. It does not seem to have the same effect on others as on Ginnie and me. We are so uncongenially situated. After Mary Ogden had gone home, Lizzie and Jule, who had been passing the day in town, came in. The Mitchell girls were with them—all bright, rosy and cheerful. The last two, however, said they were very low-spirited at home now. “Pa has gone to his plantation and cannot get back.” They ran on cheerfully enough about their young matters, though. One of them raised her Beauregard (a small cape worn by Confederate women), and showed a huge button which she avowed to have stolen from “Somebody’s” coat. Ginnie called it a Yankee button, but she made great haste to show her Pelican. They know all the Spanish officers, and like them “so much.” We saw them to the cars and the Ogdens got in. Mrs. Saunders and Mr. R. ‘s little Eva were within. They called to us to come soon to Greenville. I wish we could go and stay awhile; they all come to see us so often and beg so earnestly for our return visits.

I have no fancy for Mr. S——. The Yankee Era to-day acknowledeged the loss of another gunboat, the Diana, in the Teche. We are told, too, that Sibley has beaten the Yankees well in the Teche country.

Weitzel is now in the city. The Yankees, too, have admitted that our men fought splendidly, and after capturing a number of them treated them in the kindest and most gallant manner. I do love this. Mrs. Roselius and ourselves were talking about this matter to-day. Mrs. Roselius repeated what she had heard from her husband. Weitzel has said that the men of Louisiana are as brave as any the world contains—they fought them splendidly, and afterwards treated their captives nobly, but it was astonishing to him that the women were so very bitter, so uncompromising, that they could not give an enemy a civil word. I said I was so sorry to hear this, and mentioned what Mr. Harrison, who has been a prisoner for months in the Custom House, had seen there of the rudeness of our women who went to see after the prisoners. Mrs. Norton burst out in her abrupt way, “Dear knows, they treat us bad enough; for my part, I don’t care what they say to them, the wretches.” I remarked that it was at least for a woman’s own sake that she avoid notoriety. Any notion that I may have formed of chivalry, true patriotism and courtesy I did not touch upon. Many women here insult the Federal soldiers, who will not sacrifice their love of finery for the sake of their anxious fathers and brothers. I would expect little true patriotism from such. Went to see Mrs. Gilmour and her daughter.

Mrs. G—— is a sweet, sweet old lady. She, too, is going to Texas on a visit to a married son there. She hopes that we may meet, and so do I. She knows a lady just in from Port Hudson. We have not captured the Hartford or Farragut, but he is yet between our batteries. The Indianola is under repairs at Alexandria, and is not destroyed. The Yankees are deserting Baton Rouge, after all their military display there. They are fortifying Donaldsonville, they say, because they wish to cut us off from supplies, but we say because they could not remain where they were; their men were deserting, a dozen, sometimes fifteen, a day, and refused to fight when Banks marched out with them. Reports of our having four vessels in the Gulf. I fear our hopes are vain, and we are not to be delivered yet.

Tuesday, 31st [March]. Mary Harrison, Mr. Randolph, Mrs. Waugh and Mary Ogden passed nearly the whole morning with us. Mary H—— stayed to dinner, as she missed the car for Greenville. Mr. Randolph was angry when we told him the Miller case. Said I should have sent for him. I had had an idea of beckoning to him from the gallery as he passed in the car, but I thought something might happen in that horrid court-room which might have brought trouble on him. I know he would never have allowed Miller to have treated us so without resenting it, and then he certainly would have gone to prison. He heard my story and took Captain Miller’s name down. He believes the Confederates are coming. “Why do you do that?” said Ginnie. He laughed and said, “I shall have a lock of his hair some day,” meaning that he intended to have his scalp. He has been so much in wild countries that he often talks in this Indian fashion. This was jest; but he declares that Miller shall apologize to Mrs. Norton on his knees. He says I must never go any more to such a place without calling on him. Mary Ogden has lately played a favorite caper of hers, which is representing some character of her fancy and deceiving her acquaintances. She has a perfect passion for this sort of thing, and does it remarkably well. She played rather too serious a game a few days ago. Mr. Randolph and some other gentlemen were at Judge Ogden’s, and Mary thought it proper to disguise herself as a lady just got in from Natchez. Of course, she was brimful of good Confederate items, and her accounts were so very brilliant that one gentleman, quite excited, cried out, “I knew it—I told you so, Judge; you can’t doubt now, Judge, with this lady just in from the outside.” This, for these anxious days, when men’s minds are drawn out to their finest tension and their hearts are longing for some precious tidings for a still doubtful cause, was rather too serious a game to play. Mary has a genius for this sort of acting, and can’t help it. Mr. Randolph was giving us some of this Natchez lady’s glad tidings, and we did not like the glances which he and Miss Mary exchanged. “If you doubt me, ladies,” said he, “I can bring the very lady to you.” “Oh, yes, go and get her,” Mary H— and some of the rest of us cried. Whereupon Mr. Randolph rose and took the Natchez lady by the hand and stood her up before the company. Mary Harrison and Mary Ogden spoke to each other again in quite a friendly manner. They do not visit yet.

A boy cried out,Extra,” and immediately there was a sensation. It proved much better than most of the cheats we have had lately. Quite a brilliant affair at Vicksburg. We drove back two gunboats and sunk two; one passed—the Benton—said to be so much damaged that the Albatross sailed up to her assistance. The Albatross and the Hartford said to be at the mouth of the canal, though Mr. Randolph insists that they both are ours, and that they only fly the Federal flag to attract others to run the gauntlet. If that were true, we would not cripple and sink them so. It must have been an awful sight. It happened in daylight, and quite a collection of men, women and children beheld the sinking vessel and cheered as she went down with all her crew. They are our enemies; they must be killed or conquered, but, my God, I do not think I could have found voice to cheer as she sunk, leaving but a black spot behind her! My heart would have stood still and my tongue, too. Vicksburg claims the title of “The Gibraltar of the South.” Went out with Mary Waugh to take a walk; came back and found a room full. Mr. Waugh says that Shepley has employed three or four hundred more policemen who are to hear (accidentally) conversations on the cars and in the streets. This sort of thing suits his tastes and instincts. He would like to adjust all sorts of cases of espionage himself. I hear, too (from Federal sources, it is said), that next week all houses are to be searched in which British officers have been entertained and the United States flag stamped on. I am told that putting foot on the United States flag while toasts are being drunk to the Confederacy is often part of the ceremony on such occasions. A very silly performance, I think; we could never think of Lee or Jackson at such a feast.

Mrs. Norton once proposed to have some of them here, but we did not wish it and as she would have made us the excuse for more company, we refused to give her opportunity. Indeed, I would not like to be introduced to strangers and foreigners under her chaperonage. She is so very abrupt and peculiar. Mrs. Roselius, our most intimate neighbor, was very anxious to entertain them, and she has so much taste, tact and good breeding that she could have made a pleasant affair of it; but her husband is such a determined Federal that she could not give the matter a thought. He, like all the Federals now, hates the English. The French and Spanish here are also our friends, and I hear a great deal of their visiting among our pretty girls. A handsome young Spaniard from one of the ships made quite a sensation among them. I have no heart any more; no spirit to do anything. Anxiety, sickness and grief have sapped the last remnant of merriment or interest in me.

Monday, 30th [March]. Late last night I wrote a note to Captain Brittain for Mrs. Norton, asking him to go with us tomorrow to court. I scarcely had a wink of sleep, and felt wretchedly in more ways than one this morning. Mrs. Norton was stirring before day. I might have slept then if I could have been quiet. Captain Brittain came very early, saying that we need not go down to the court so soon. Mrs. Norton said she had been told by the man who gave her the warrant to come at 7 o ‘clock A. M. The policeman then came to tell Mrs. Norton to appear before the Federal Court at 10 o’clock, where she is to be confronted with Mary. General Shepley had Mary and the children turned out of jail almost as soon as placed there, although put in by virtue of a search warrant. General Shepley is a deceitful, bad man, not so bold as Butler, but just as coarse and brutal. I feel very sorry for Mrs. Norton; she should have let this matter alone, but I will stand by her. I have the greatest repugnance to going to a court of any kind. She ought not to take me—I would not go for a thousand negroes of my own. I feel nervous, sick and wretched. I wish Mr. Randolph were not in Greenville, so that he could help us. I hate notoriety—all kinds of it, Federal notoriety the worst. This scurrilous Era may give a line to me tomorrow. It gave the other day a most disgusting article about a woman, and indeed, is constantly filled with insolence to our sex. They hate women here much more than men. The Era says, “The women of New Orleans screw up their thin, pale lips when they [the Federals] pass them, turn up their not very handsome noses and flash their handsome eyes—yes, they have handsome eyes, which they have inherited from negro ancestors.” One of the officers told Supt. McClean, a Confederate prisoner, that he might wear his uniform, but that the women of New Orleans were such d___d fools, that the mere sight of it might create an excitement. Lieutenant Andrews was very angry the other day because so many ladies rushed to see the captured Signal Corps and took them little comforts. No one goes now unless they can be of some real service. I have never been near them.

I have returned all safe, but tired and disgusted. This is my first visit to Canal Street for a long time. I hate the “Squares and Streets” as much as did ever the madman in “Maud,” especially Canal Street. At all times its show of hard business faces, mingled with the perplexed, wearied and sad ones, and its display of glittering fashionables trailing along, tired and depressed me. I used always to say that I returned from a shopping tour on Canal Street as wearied as if I had journeyed to the poles. Now I am sad, despairing, weary, angry all at once. It makes me furious to meet the insolent faces of the Massachusetts mob which has been sent to rule over us— despairing to think that they dare and are allowed to represent a great Republic; that they are a part of humanity, and that so much of my trust in it has been overthrown by them. It has been a cold, rainy day—such a one as always lays Mrs. Norton up sick. She would take no advice; she would go; we tried to persuade her that she could do nothing to recover Jake. She had no idea, she says, that she could recover Mary, but the boy she stole. She could not bear to let her servants triumph over her, at least without making an effort to prevent them.

Before we left the house Ginnie became so uneasy about my being made a witness in Peabody’s court, that she obtained a promise from her that she would not go. So, according to previous agreement with Captain Brittain, she went to the Custom House, expecting to meet him. Owing to some misunderstanding, we did not find him. We saw Captain Miller’s carriage at the front and were on the pavement when the file of soldiers went up the steps. Captain Miller, the Mayor, organizes the court each day, and these soldiers, a hateful-looking set, attend on it. I was dreadfully afraid Mrs. Norton would go up; she was anxious, and as disagreeable as it would have been, I would have gone with her had I had the most distant idea that she would have escaped insult, and more than all, Era notoriety—worse than prison, worse than battle fire and pestilence, worse than Butler, do I dread the Era—the low, vulgar tongue of the Federal Government in this city! We paced up and down before that desolate-looking Custom House, listening to the drumbeats of the soldiers drilling upon the river bank; also to some few cannon. Dirty-looking soldiers guarded the different entrances, and vile-appearing negroes, in filthy blue clothes, looked from the windows. I felt quite as desolate as everything looked. How my heart ached for a brother’s strong arm on which to lean, or for that dear one, now lost to me forever. Well, we did not go up into the court-room. I escaped that shadow of infamy. After traipseing up and down for a full hour, and submitting to the gaze for that length of time of any infamous creature that chose to look at us, we walked up to the City Hall. The creature at the door of the Mayor’s parlor would not let us in; he knew Mrs. Norton; so we stood outside with the negroes and other applicants until we were ready to drop. After awhile a negro vacated a chair and I boldly seized it for Mrs. Norton. She was cold and tired and looked so woe-begone that I pitied her, though I could not understand why she should wish to submit herself to all this degradation. Seeing the policeman whom she had engaged to put Mary in jail come out of the Mayor’s parlor, she went into the hall to speak to him, and he told her that Mary was then in the Mayor’s parlor and that he had been telegraphed for. What had taken place he could not tell her there, but would come to see her and tell.

We went into the Mayor’s presence and his gentlemanship, the Mayor, came up to us instantly, with a face expressive of insolence and anger. I had never seen him before, but from Mrs. Norton’s account of him, had at least supposed him to be good-natured. She had been in the habit of saying what she pleased to him. “Mrs. Norton,” said he, “I have a very serious charge against you.” “What have I done !” said she, terrified at his manner. “Bribed a policeman,” he returned, with the greatest air of offended virtue. Mrs. Norton had unfortunately given the policeman $10 that very morning. She had pressed it upon him from a true feeling of gratitude, because he had seemed to take such an interest in her affairs, and had taken so much extra trouble for her and had left her without telling her where she could find him again and without asking any payment. She had called him back after he had gone out of the gate, and unfortunately gave him the $10. “Bribing a policeman!” we both cried in a breath; for the matter had never struck us in that light. “Yes,” returned he, “bribing a policeman.” “I never thought of such a thing,” said Mrs. Norton, and indeed, she had not. “Oh, don’t deny it,” said Captain Miller, with the most insufferable appearance; “I have the very $10 note here now to prove it on you.” “Do not bring it,” said Mrs. Norton, “I gave it to him.” “There must be some difference between a bribe and a reward,” said I, angrily; “this was a reward.” “He understood from the first he would be rewarded,” he returned insolently, “and there has been any quantity of this sort of thing, and it must be stopped. Now, see here, Mrs. Norton,” he continued, “I’ll make a bargain with you—if you don’t meddle with that woman, Mary, of yours, I’ll drop this matter, but so sure as you do, I’ll have you before the Provost Court for having bribed a policeman.” All this was said while he shook his hand almost in Mrs. Norton’s face. He was a young man, and I considered it mean and vulgar to speak in this way to an old feeble woman, especially, too, as he lived in her daughter’s house free of rent—after having driven her daughter out of it and made use of every article of provisions or clothing left behind, besides keeping all the servants and carriages. She had been prejudged; her side of the tale was not even heard —all of her servants were in Federal employ, and this last woman had not only stolen her little house boy, but other things. I was indignant, and but for the dread of that disgusting Era, would have spoken freely enough. “In the first place,” he went on, “you imposed upon the man who gave you the search warrant; if he had known that you had not taken the oath, he would not have given it to you.” “Is there no justice?” I cried out angrily; “justice is but justice at all times.” “Yes,” said he, “justice is justice, but only for some people; justice is for the loyal; search warrants are for the disloyal.” Then turning to Mrs. Norton, “Do you see this ten dollars? I intend to give it to your woman, Mary.”

With that we both rose from our seats and Captain Miller took a theatrical position in the middle of the room. Said Mrs. Norton as she swept by: “I’ll not take that oath—I’ll not swear to a lie.” “Then,” said he with much emphasis and gesture, “I swear by my sacred word and honor, you’ll never have your servant.” “There is no honor in your courts,” said I, stalking out as boldly as I could, all the time fearing that he would grab me by the arm; he was quite angry enough to have done it. When I got out I wished that I had told him that if he considered that a bribe, and if bribing was such an offence against the government he served, he had no right to drop the matter. He had bribed Mrs. Norton that she should not disturb Mary. Ginnie says I should have told him that I had two brothers serving in the army in Texas who would be happy to meet him some day. Every one had something to suggest, and of course every one could have arranged the interview in better style than we did. I was quite satisfied with my display of courage, for, from the manner in which Captain Chivalry turned toward me, I could judge that I had shown him quite a defiant face, as well as having put my few remarks in rather a high key. I was indeed angry; so angry that I almost forgot the Era. A little more and Mrs. Norton and myself would have graced the annals of a police court, and above all, an abolition Federal court. The gallant Miller had no idea of my nerve. Mrs. Norton has never been so crushed and cowed in her life. To my astonishment she was silent when threatened; I, whom she thinks lacking in spirit, had to speak up in her defence. She was white and trembling when we came out, and was very unwell all day afterward. I was very sorry for her. She is convinced now that it is of no use to try and get justice from the Federals, and she may be induced to keep away from them now.

We paid Mrs. and Miss Callender a visit. Miss Betty looks like death—she is dying with consumption—her old mother will then be childless. I felt sorry to see her, knowing what must soon happen. I go out so seldom that when I came in Miss Betty clapped her hands and said it would certainly hail. I laughed and returned that “It was quite cold enough.” When we reached home we had our experience to give to every one. We fought our battles over again—at least, I did, for Mrs. Norton invariably turns to me and says, “You tell, for I can’t; I cannot forget that man’s looks.”

29th [March]. A vote of thanks has been passed in our Confederate Congress to all those who were true and brave enough to refuse allegiance to the United States. This is well; I feel glad and proud and a thrill passes through me, knowing that I never, for one instant, faltered; neither did Ginnie. We were both begged, too, and considered obstinate and romantic. No outsider can ever realize the state of mind to which the people of this city were reduced in those days. Our ideas of Butler’s character enabled us easily to realize in full force any evil which report proclaimed him about to do. Prison, hard labor; exile we feared; evils of all sorts. A cotton press was fixed up by the authorities for some purpose. Report instantly proclaimed that it was for “Rebel women”—intended to put them to work at it. So also with a large stable which underwent some repairs; the women were to be confined there and made to wash and cook for Yankee soldiers. We tied up the few relics which we thought to conceal; burned many a dear old letter and made a general consignment to those who had taken the oath, then sat down patiently to wait our fate.

We knew that Butler had vowed to humiliate the women of New Orleans. We knew that the police were bribed as well as the servants to inform on every member of every household who had defied him, and the sufferings of Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Coan in solitary confinement on Ship Island enabled us to realize any fate which the tyrant might choose for us. Until the coming of General Banks we never knew what would be done with us or to us. How can an outsider ever know what a temptation it was to us to take that oath. Many women, and men, too, took it in tears. Some went with the intention of taking it, and found they could not. Some fainted and some went crazy. Upon the whole, my opinion of the earnestness of our people was greatly strengthened by the hateful tests which Butler applied to their character. Mrs. Norton would go to town every day while the oathing was going on, and return each day with new reports. “We will be alone, girls, I do believe,” she would say; “everybody is taking the oath.” So we knew there would be no escape for us. I had really forgotten that Mrs. Roselius had taken it, although she had used so many arguments to make us do so, and to-day sent her Doctor Palmer’s letter on the oath-taking. I was sorry for it afterward. She came over after dinner and cried as bitterly as she did the day she took it. She does not spare herself. “I should not have yielded to Mr. Roselius,” she does not scruple to say. She is the warmest of Confederates and continues to talk like one, and hates the Yankees a thousand times worse than before. Mr. Roselius, though he made her take the oath, continually throws up the recollection to her. I despise French husbands! He is a Federal, too!

Mrs. Norton has been watching constantly for the policeman to whom she entrusted the warrant for Mary. He has discovered that Mary is with Jake, Emma and Reuben, her husband. Just three weeks ago she ran in to her mistress for protection against Reuben, who had threatened to kill her. Mrs. Norton went to Mary’s to get Jake, and Reuben slammed the door in her face—her hand barely escaping. Her hand was resting on the side of the jamb. He gave her much impudence, too, she says; so did Mary. The policeman came to-night late, saying that he had just got the three in jail; she has to appear early tomorrow in court and swear that Mary stole Jake; she has asked me to go with her. It makes me nervous to think of it. We have all advised and begged her not to meddle with her negroes now, knowing that the Federals will protect them, no matter what Mrs. Norton can say or do. Ginnie saw Reuben in this part of town to-day, pointing out this house to negro soldiers, and Jane saw white ones stoop and look at the name on the gate.

Saturday, 28th [March]. Mr. Randolph here, and we all talked about Farragut and the Hartford for about two hours. He will have it that we have both. Nowadays there seem to be but two classes of individuals, those that believe everything and those who believe nothing. I have fallen into a state of general infidelity. My head is dazed with talk and rumors. Mr. Randolph has his spy story. A Confederate officer is in, in Federal uniform; he says that Farragut never passed all the batteries at Port Hudson, but being crippled by passing the first, was forced to surrender. He was then sent as a prisoner to Jackson and thence to Richmond. The Hartford still floating the Federal stars and stripes, then proceeded on her way to Vicksburg, and as we had captured the signals, she lies there to entice other Federal vessels from the other fleet to run the Vicksburg batteries to come to her assistance; should they do so, they will fall into our hands, as did the Queen of the West and others. The officer says, too, that the Indianola is safe. The Federals here say that she sank and rose no more. He says, too, that the Confederates are coming soon to the defence of this poor city. Mr. Randolph believes in this officer, and says he has good reason to do so. We told him of our general infidelity which, for our better spirit’s sake, he tried to combat.

The Era reports Farragut safe at the mouth of the famous canal, waiting for coal barges to pass down to him; it gives a threatening letter of his to the Mayor of Natchez, said threats to be carried out should the guerrillas fire on him. (The Era distinguishes these irregulars as “Gorillas”). The capture of this famous rear-admiral is a great deal to us Confederates. He is a brave fellow, and his loss would give our enemies quite a blow, and the more of that stamp they lose the better. It seems a silly thing to me that he should place himself in such a dangerous position—parted from his fleet and hemmed in by batteries, deadly in their effectiveness. If we do not catch him, we should. In spite of the bravado and inflation of the Era, a very sensible fear of the Admiral’s position appears. Banks is safe here in the city, and all his military show towards Port Hudson has come to naught. He says that he has done all that he wished to do—which was to march in great array out of Baton Rouge and then make a hasty retreat thereto without striking a blow at our strong point. The Federals, I believe, have changed their tactics; finding that the “gorilla” is strong, they very sublimely sit themselves down until he starves to death. It is amusing to hear how dreadfully we need everything (from their papers). Our people are suffering from the want of many accustomed luxuries, but the blessings of freedom and peace, I pray God, may so entice them from the future that they may continue to bear a bold front toward a ruthless and home-desolating foe. Mr. Randolph tells us that if the Confederates do not come in for fifty days, quite a large sum of money will be saved to him; but, said he, “I would rather have them in to-morrow, and lose it.” He comes of the blood of old John Randolph; if he had taken the oath, he says, his mother and his brothers in the army would have disowned him. “When the oath-taking was going on last summer, he was so disheartened by the sight that he came up from town one day, just to be cheered by the sight of those he knew would never take it. He brought us one of the ballads which flood the city. It represents the reception of old John Brown into a place which shall be nameless in these decorous pages. He brought something better, however—Doctor Palmer’s letter to Mr. Perkins on the subject of the oath-taking in this city. It is a fine thing, this letter, but I think, much too severe, and would have come with much better grace from one who had remained here and suffered the various influences of temptation which surrounded our poor people here under Butler’s brutal reign.

Friday, 27th [March], Did not feel well enough to go to the Cathedral. The celebration of the Confederate Fast is contraband, and if held in any other church but the Catholic would be broken in upon. Mr. Harrison, Mr. Roselius, Detty Harrison and Mary and Mrs. Jeaurenand took up our whole morning. I was doing up collars, too, and they quite interfered with my time. Kitty brought Ginnie a letter from her young mistress in Europe, to read for her. It came in a letter to Mrs. Roselius. The child wrote very affectionately, and begged Kitty to think of her as often as she thought of Kitty. She has something very pretty for her, bought with her own money, and her mother has such a present for Kitty as will astonish her when she sees it. She wants to surprise her, and won’t tell. This note had a great effect on the girl and made her dazed, blear eyes sparkle. She had told Mrs. Norton in the morning that she intended to run away, but after we talked to her and begged her not to listen to anything which bad people said to her, she seemed greatly moved. She will not go if Mrs. Norton does not frighten her to death by her manner, and if others do not take her off. We would not let her touch our bed-room yesterday or to-day, but she seems really anxious to do little things for us. I believe I could manage Kitty by myself. I hardly think we would have lost Julie if we had been at home, though she acted badly, I admit. Mrs. Roselius here again this afternoon; Mrs. White, Mrs. Dameron and all sat on the gallery. I did not go out. Mary Jane makes a very poor business of cooking. Mrs. Norton’s boast that she could do better without Mary than with her has not held good. Mrs. Norton has a warrant out for Mary on the plea that she carried off Jake; the police are after her. Mary Jane has seen her. Mary told her that she had been to Mayor Miller’s office and had obtained from him a free pass. It is easy to be generous with the property of other people. He and his master, General Shepley, should be content to live free in Mrs. Brown’s house without further injuring her aged mother. When these people took possession of Mrs. Brown’s elegant establishment they drove Mrs. Dameron out. She had moved to her sister’s during the absence of her husband for the sake of her companionship; but Mr. Brown falling under the Federal ban, Mrs. Brown grew alarmed for his safety; his health was feeble and he could not have lived through a short imprisonment even. He is kept alive by the easiest and most comfortable life.

They accordingly fled in secret, old Phelps, who is really the best of the Federals, having good-naturedly given them passes. This was in Butler’s day; if they had been caught, heaven alone knows what might have happened. Mrs. Dameron was not allowed to take anything out of the house. She waited days before she could even get her baby’s crib or her children’s clothing. Nothing of her sister’s was she allowed to touch. Mrs. Brown had already shipped off silver and other valuables; they, I believe, safely reached the Confederacy. She did not tell any of her family where they were lest old Butler would imprison them, as he did others, and make them tell where they were. Her carpets and curtains she shipped to New York; after Shepley came to the house a regular search was made for everything. Mrs. Brown’s servants were all retained—her elegant carriage made a hack of, and her common one also. Her servants were questioned and cross-questioned about linens and other things, and the clerk who sent off the carpets and the very draymen who carried them to the boat were threatened with ball and chain unless they betrayed where everything had been taken. They recovered everything except the silver, and are living finely in the fine house. Mrs. Norton had been told by Mrs. Brown that she could take over unto herself the quantities of provisions of all kinds left in the storeroom; also a great deal of coal. Mrs. Dameron was surprised by two officers jumping over the railing one day whilst she was at dinner. Frightened, she ran upstairs, but the officers questioning her name of the servants, very wittily remarked that she better damn downstairs pretty quick. From that time the guard never left the house. They were insolent and searched everything, even the basket of soiled clothes.

Mrs. Dameron’s friends soon filled the house and Mrs. Richardson, who has interest with the Federals, had the guard removed and a more courteous couple sent in their place. “But she is not to remove even a teaspoon,” said Colonel French. The last guard behaved decently, refusing even to leave the gallery at night; so Mrs. Dameron did them the honor to pour out their coffee herself the next morning. She left the house and its belongings to the Federals that day. Mrs. Norton asked General Shepley for the provisions; he said he had no objections; she sent for them, and had her dray returned with a note from one of Shepley’s staff (Captain Miller). He could “not think,” he said, “of depriving the poor servants of the provisions, as they had been deserted by their owners without a support for the coming winter.” This was cool, certainly, after having driven Mrs. Dameron from her sister’s house and preventing the servants from going to her. Captain Miller, with his own hands, opened Mrs. Brown’s trunks; he told Mrs. Norton himself that he was on the search for linen. The carpets were brought back from New York, and one day when Mrs. Norton called, she found the General, or Governor, as he calls himself, overseeing the packing-box; he looked a little abashed, having that much grace left, and remarked that if he “had not gotten hold of the carpets and curtains, they would have been eaten with moth.” Heaven preserve Lee and Stonewall from such saving propensities! Well, this same Captain Miller has given Mary a pass independent of her mistress. General Banks has nestled himself in Mrs. Harrison’s house. She also is a daughter of Mrs. Norton. The editor of the Yankee Delta, now the Era, has carried off the books and splendid Magdalen of Mr. Harrison’s. Mrs. Dameron and myself went over the house the day the transition was going on, to-wit, the removal of French’s staff of officers and the editor of the Delta, and the coming in of General Banks and his staff.


Letter to General Banks.

New Orleans, Jan. 14th, 1863.

To Major Gen’l Banks:

Sir:—I have understood that articles of value have been taken from the residence of my son-in-law, Mr. J. P. Harrison, since the military seizure of it.

Some days before you entered into possession of it, I took the liberty of addressing you a note requesting permission to go through the house to ascertain from a personal examination whether, and to what extent, the rumors on the subject were true. Having received no reply to this note, I concluded to call on you in person, and did so at the residence of my son-in-law, but you seemed to be too much occupied to hear what I had to say and left me before I had time to renew my request.

Believing it to be my duty, in the absence of my son-in-law, to bring the matter to your attention, I now take the liberty of saying, that I have reason to believe that articles of value have been taken from the house since the seizure, and before your occupancy of it, to-wit:

1st.—A handsome painting purchased in Europe, and known in the family as “The Mag dalten.”

2nd.—Lace curtains to parlor windows.

3rd.—Some large marble vases.

4th.—Books of value.

5th.—The wines and liquors—principally in bottles; there was, however, a quarter-cask of Madeira, purchased at $12.00 a gallon, and from which little had been drawn up to the time of seizure. I also have reason to believe that one or two or more bedsteads and bedding have been taken away.

If these or any other articles be missing, you are the only person having power to order their return. All I can do is to bring the matter to your attention, and desire to do so, and hope I have done so respectfully.

Yours respectfully,

A. P. Norton.

P. S.—My residence fronts on the Carrollton Railroad—5th—No. 655, and near the crossing of Washington Street. Written for Mrs. Norton, Jan. 14th, 1863.—J. E. LeGrand.


Mr. Harrison’s brother has had some interviews with General Banks, having been introduced by a mutual friend (civil war makes strange connections). He found Banks a cold, selfish, disagreeable fellow, he says. Expected police to bring news of Mary and the children to-night. Left the lamp burning. This is an awful life. We try to persuade Mrs. Norton to be quiet, but she is restless and cannot.

Thursday, 26th [March]. Mrs.Dameron,Ginnie, Mrs. White, Mrs. Waugh and myself paid a visit to the establishment of Mr. Burnside. He is very rich and an old bachelor and ladies are often asked to view his gardens and pictures. The house is built and furnished after the European fashion (on a small scale),and is really a bijou of comfort inside, though homely without. The pictures disappointed me, except in two instances. The china-closet had nothing old in it. I have seen a far more beautiful collection of the real antique in my dear mother’s closet at “Portland Manor,” before we sold out in Maryland. Mr. B made his money himself, and I would not in the least object to being as rich as he. Whether new blood or old, I respect blood, but three generations of extreme poverty, with all the mean cares and roughening labors which surely accompanies it, changes its promptings as well as its color. The proud noble, warded off from every detrimental influence, may imagine himself formed by high heaven of the rarest porcelain, but he is a money production after all. And the famous blue blood is but a compound of the best of food and influences, relieved from commonness. I am observer enough to be thus far a materialist. Came home from the tour tired enough. We were desired to leave our names, and as I left that of Mrs. Dameron, the sister-in-law of Mr. Shepherd Brown, the richest man in town, and in whose house General Shepley is now living, I felt sure of being recommended by the servants at least; they were vastly polite and attentive. Mary Ogden and Rose Wilkinson took dinner with us. The latter hopes to get out of town soon. General Sherman has promised her mother a pass and a passage out. This officer has been very kind to the Wilkinsons. When Mrs.W—— was imprisoned he offered to do her shopping for her. Found out that the small round silk capes that we women folk are now wearing are called “Beauregards.” Mrs. White says that that story of the hero which depressed me so, is not true. I hope not—yet, he is a Creole. I have not faith in their domestic relations. Doctor Fenner was up to-day; he is clever, but I do not fancy him somehow. Anything outside of the common path would disturb and shock him. He is well-bred and amiable, however. Mr. Dudley was up with him; we all walked over to Mrs. Dameron’s. Ginnie and I then paid a visit to Mrs. Wells and Mrs. Montgomery. They were very glad to see us.

Mrs. M—— is not long for this world, I think.

The Judge looks rosy and hale as an Englishman. He will live to get another wife, I expect—this is his second—but he is devotedly attached to her.

Heard much report. Read Jeff Davis’ proclamation respecting the day appointed for fasting and prayer. It is to be celebrated to-morrow in the Cathedral in the lower part of the city. The Catholics are bolder here than others; ’tis said that they wish to provoke the Federals to attack them. Even Butler could never awe Father Mullen, who, when summoned to his presence, answered him boldly; when being accused of having refused to bury a Federal, replied fearlessly, “No, sir, I would bury you all with pleasure.” He told Butler that his soul was his own, also his lips, and that he would pray for the Southern Confederacy, and whatsoever he pleased. “Do you know,” said Butler, “that I can send you to Fort Jackson?” “Do you know,” returned Father Mullen, “that I can send your soul to hell?” Butler pronounced Doctor Stone and Father Mullen the boldest and bravest men in town. The first he sent to prison; the latter he never touched. This was because he feared to excite the indignation of his Catholic troops. We will go to the Cathedral if the weather and our health permit. Met Mrs. Miller, a sweet woman, returning from a visit to us in our absence. Found Mr. Waugh, Mrs. Waugh and Annie and Mrs. Evans when we reached home. The burning of the Bio Bio, which took place at the wharf on Sunday, was much discussed. The ladies were discussing whether the damaged silks would not be better and cheaper to wear than the now royal calico. Cotton seems really king at last. We hear daily of the burning of this valuable ware by the Confederates to prevent its falling into Federal hands. The Yankee Era reports the capture of three schooners laden with it at Manchac; also the taking of Pontchatoula by them. There was a great cannon on the newspaper, though no fight had taken place. Our Camp was some miles from Pontchatoula. This cannon belongs to the old press of the Delta, which was taken from its editors among other printing paraphernalia. I remarked that the Yankees had fired this cannon with more effect than any other since the war commenced. They often have it stuck in for a fancied victory. Farragut has been heard of. He is not captured, the Era says, but is on his way to Vicksburg for coal. Barges of it will be brought to him through the famous canal. What can our boats be about if Farragut is free to run our batteries?