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.

February 12, 2013

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

12th.—We have lately had a little fight on the Blackwater. The Yankees intended to take General Pryor by surprise, but he was wide awake, and ready to receive and repulse them handsomely. The late democratic majorities at the North seem to have given the people courage; denunciations are heard against the despotism of the Government, Gold has gone up to 160, causing a ferment. Oh that they would “bite and devour one another!” Since I have been so occupied in nursing B. I have not had as much time for the hospital, but go when I can. A few days ago, on going there in the morning, I found Miss T. deeply interested about a soldier who had been brought in the evening before. The gentleman who accompanied him had found him in the pouring rain, wandering about the streets, shivering with cold, and utterly unable to tell his own story. The attendants quickly replaced his wet clothes by dry ones, and put him into a warm bed; rubbing and warm applications were resorted to, and a surgeon administered restoratives. Physical reaction took place, but no clearing of the mind. When soothingly asked about his name, his home, and his regiment, he would look up and speak incoherently, but no light was thrown on the questions. He was watched and nursed during the night. His pulse gradually weakened, and by the break of day he was no more. That morning I found the nameless, homeless boy on the couch which I had so often seen similarly occupied. The wind had raised one corner of the sheet, and as I approached to replace it a face was revealed which riveted me to the spot. It was young, almost boyish, and though disease and death had made sad ravages, they could not conceal delicately-carved features, a high, fair forehead, and light hair, which had been well cared for. He looked like one of gentle blood. All seemed so mysterious, my heart yearned over him, and my tears fell fast. Father, mother, sisters, brothers—where are they? The morning papers represented the case, and called for information. He may have escaped in delirinm from one of the hospitals! That evening, kind, gentle hands placed him in his soldier’s coffin, and he had Christian burial at “Hollywood,” with the lonely word ” Stranger” carved upon the headboard. We trust that the sad story in the papers may meet some eye of which he had once been the light, for he was surely “Somebody’s Darling.” Sweet lines have been written, of which this sad case reminds me:—

“Into a ward of the whitewashed walls,
Where the dead and dying lay—
Wounded by bayonets, shells, and balls—
Somebody’s darling was borne one day:—
Somebody’s darling! so young and brave,
Wearing yet on his sweet, pale face—
Soon to be hid in the dust of the grave—
The lingering light of his boyhood’s grace.
“Matted and damp are the curls of gold,
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
Pale are the lips of delicate mould—
Somebody’s darling is dying now.
Back from the beautiful, blue-veined brow,
Brush his wandering waves of gold;
Cross his hand on his bosom now—
Somebody’s darling is still and cold.
“Kiss him once for somebody’s sake;
Murmur a prayer soft and low;
One bright curl from its fair mates take,—
They were somebody’s pride, you know
Somebody’s hand hath rested there;
Was it a mother’s, soft and white?
Or have the lips of a sister fair
Been baptized in their waves of light?
“God knows best! He has somebody’s love .
Somebody’s heart enshrined him there;
Somebody wafted his name above,
Night and morn, on wings of prayer.
Somebody wept when he marched away,
Looking so handsome, brave, and grand!
Somebody’s kiss on his forehead lay;
Somebody clung to his parting hand.
“Somebody’s watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her heart;
And there he lies with his blue eyes dim,
And the smiling, childlike lips apart.
Tenderly bury the fair young dead,
Pausing to drop on his grave a tear;
Carve on a wooden slab o’er his head—
‘Somebody’s darling slumbers here!'”

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