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.

April 16, 2015

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

Sunday Night.—The Episcopal churches being closed, we went to the Rev. Dr. Hoge’s church. The rector was absent; he went off, to be in Confederate lines; but the Rev. Dr. Read, whose church is in ruins, occupied the pulpit.

Strange rumours are afloat to-night. It is said, and believed, that Lincoln is dead, and -Seward much injured. As I passed the house of a friend this evening, she raised the window and told me the report. Of course I treated it as a Sunday rumour; but the story is strengthened by the way which the Yankees treat it. They, of course, know all about it, and to-morrow’s papers will reveal the particulars. I trust that, if true, it may not be by the hand of an assassin, though it would seem to fulfil the warnings of Scripture. His efforts to carry out his abolition theories have caused the shedding of oceans of Southern blood, and by man it now seems has his blood been shed. But what effect will it have on the South? We may have much to fear. Future events will show. This event has made us wild with excitement and speculation.

General Lee has returned. He came unattended, save by his staff—came without notice, and without parade; but he could not come unobserved; as soon as his approach was whispered, a crowd gathered in his path, not boisterously, but respectfully, and increasing rapidly as he advanced to his home on Franklin Street, between 8th and 9th, where, with a courtly bow to the multitude, he at once retired to the bosom of his beloved family. When I called in to see his high-minded and patriotic wife, a day or two after the evacuation, she was busily engaged in her invalid’s chair, and very cheerful and hopeful. “The end is not yet,” she said, as if to cheer those around her; “Richmond is not the Confederacy.” To this we all most willingly assented, and felt very much gratified and buoyed by her brightness. I have not had the heart to visit her since the surrender, but hear that she still is sanguine, saying that “General Lee is not the Confederacy,” and that there is “life in the old land yet.” He is not the Confederacy; but our hearts sink within us when we remember that he and his noble army are now idle, and that we can no longer look upon them as the bulwark of our land. He has returned from defeat and disaster with the universal and profound admiration of the world, having done all that skill and valour could accomplish. The scenes at the surrender were noble and touching. General Grant’s bearing was profoundly respectful; General Lee’s as courtly and lofty as the purest chivalry could require. The terms, so honourable to all parties, being complied with to the letter, our arms were laid down with breaking hearts, and tears such as stoutest warriors may shed. “Woe worth the day!”

Previous post:

Next post: