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.

March 15, 2013

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

March 15th.—Weather dark and cloudy. We had a good congregation in our little church. Mr. —— read the service. The Bishop preached on ” Repentance.” Richmond was greatly shocked on Friday, by the blowing up of the Laboratory, in which women, girls, and boys were employed making cartridges; ten women and girls were killed on the spot, and many more will probably die from their wounds. May God have mercy upon them! Our dear friend Mrs. S. has just heard of the burning of her house, at beautiful Chantilly. The Yankee officers had occupied it as head-quarters, and on leaving it, set fire to every house on the land, except the overseer’s house and one of the servants’ quarters. Such ruthless Vandalism do they commit wherever they go! I expressed my surprise to Mrs. S. that she was enabled to bear it so well. She calmly replied, “God has spared my sons through so many battles, that I should be ungrateful indeed to complain of any thing else.” This lovely spot has been her home from her marriage, and the native place of her many children, and when I remember it as I saw it two years ago, I feel that it is too hard for her to be thus deprived of it. An officer (Federal) quartered there last winter, describing it in a letter to the New York Herald, says the furniture had been “removed,” except a large old-fashioned sideboard; he had been indulging his curiosity by reading the many private letters which he found scattered about the house; some of which, he says, were written by General Washington, “with whom the family seems to have been connected.” In this last surmise he was right, and he must have read letters from which he derived the idea, or he may have gotten it from the servants, who are always proud of the aristocracy of their owners; but not a letter written by General Washington did he see, for Mrs. S. was always careful of them, and brought them away with her; they are now in this house. The officer took occasion to sneer at the pride and aristocracy of Virginia, and winds up by asserting that “this establishment belongs to the mother of General J. E. B. Stuart,” to whom she is not at all related.

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