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

Post image for Diary of a Southern Refugee, Judith White McGuire.

Diary of a Southern Refugee, Judith White McGuire.

August 29, 2012

Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War by Judith White McGuire

29th.—The Richmond papers of yesterday mention two severe skirmishes on the Rappahannock within a week The enemy are retreating through Culpeper, Orange, etc., and our men are driving them on. General Jackson has reached Warrenton. Burnside’s army is said to be near Fredericksburg, and Pope retreating towards Manassas. The safe situation of this town makes it a city of refuge to many. Several of our old friends are here. Mr. and Mrs. D., of Alexandria, are just across the passage from us; the J’s are keeping house, and Mrs. M. is boarding very near us. This evening our friends the S’s arrived. None but persons similarly situated can know the heartfelt pleasure of meeting with home friends, and talking of home scenes—of going back, as we did this evening, to the dear old times when we met together in our own parlours, with none to make us afraid. We see very little of Lynchburg society, but in this pleasant boarding-house, with refugee society, we want nothing more. The warmest feelings of my heart – have been called forth, by meeting with one of the most intimate friends of my youth—now Mrs. Judge D. We met the other day in the church-door, for the first time for many, many years. Time has done its work with us both, but we instantly recognized each other. Since that time, not a day has passed without some affectionate demonstration on her part towards us. At her beautiful home, more than a mile from town, I found her mother, my venerable and venerated friend Mrs. Judge C, still the elegant, accomplished lady, the cheerful, warm-hearted, Christian Virginia woman. At four-score, the fire kindles in her eye as she speaks of our wrongs. “What would your father and my husband have thought of these times,” she said to me— “men who loved and revered the Union, who would have yielded up their lives to support the Constitution, in its purity, but who could never have given up their cherished doctrines of State rights, nor have yielded one jot or tittle of their independence to the aggressions of the North?” She glories in having sons and grandsons fighting for the South. Two of the latter have already fallen in the great cause; I trust that the rest may be spared to her.

I see that the Northern papers, though at first claiming a victory at “Cedar Run,” now confess that they lost three thousand killed and wounded, two generals wounded, sundry colonels and other officers. The Times is severe upon Pope— thinks it extraordinary that, as he knew two days before that the battle must take place, he did not have a larger force at hand; and rather “strange” that he should have been within six miles of the battle-field, and did not reach it until the fight was nearly over! They say, as usual, that they were greatly outnumbered! Strange, that with their myriads, they should be so frequently outnumbered on the battle-field ! It is certain that our loss there was comparatively very small; though we have to mourn General Winder of the glorious Stonewall Brigade, and about two hundred others, all valuable lives.

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