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.

September 25, 2012

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

25th.—The tables were turned on Saturday, as we succeeded in driving a good many of them into the Potomac. Ten thousand Yankees crossed at Shepherdstown, but unfortunately for them, they found the glorious Stonewall there. A fight ensued at Boteler’s Mill, in which General Jackson totally routed General Pleasanton and his command. The account of the Yankee slaughter is fearful. As they were recrossing the river our cannon was suddenly turned upon them. They were fording. The river is represented as being blocked up with the dead and dying, and crimsoned with blood. Horrible to think of! But why will they have it so? At any time they might stop fighting, and return to their own homes. We do not want their blood, but only to be separated from them as a people, eternally and everlastingly. Mr.—— , Mrs. D., and myself, went to church this evening, and after an address from Mr. K. we took a delightful ride.

A letter from B. H. M., the first she has been able to write for six months, except by “underground railroad,” with every danger of having them read, and perhaps published by the enemy. How, in the still beautiful but much injured Valley, they do rejoice in their freedom! Their captivity—for surrounded as they were by implacable enemies, it is captivity of the most trying kind—has been very oppressive to them. Their cattle, grain, and every thing else, have been taken from them. The gentlemen are actually keeping their horses in their cellars to protect them. Now they are rejoicing in having their own Southern soldiers around them; they are busily engaged nursing the wounded; hospitals are established in Winchester, Berryville, and other places.

Letters from my nephews, W. B. N. and W. N. The first describes the fights of Boonesborough, Sharpsburg, and Shepherdstown. He says the first of these was the severest hand-to-hand cavalry fight of the war. All were terrific. W. speaks of his feelings the day of the surrender of Harper’s Ferry. As they were about to charge the enemy’s intrenchments, he felt as if he were marching into the jaws of death, with, scarcely a hope of escape. The position was very strong, and the charge would be up a tremendous hill over felled timber, which lay thickly upon it—the enemy’s guns, supported by infantry in intrenchments, playing upon them all the while. What was their relief, therefore, to descry the white flag waving from the battlements! He thinks that, in the hands of resolute men, the position would have been impregnable. Thank God, the Yankees thought differently, and surrendered, thus saving many valuable lives, and giving us a grand success. May they ever be thus minded!

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