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 18, 2015

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

Tuesday Night.—I try to dwell as little as possible on public events. I only feel that we have no country, no government, no future. I cannot, like some others, look with hope on Johnston’s army. He will do what he can; but ah, what can he do? Our anxiety now is that our President and other public men may get off in safety. O God! have mercy upon them and help them! For ourselves, like the rest of the refugees, we are striving to get from the city. The stereotyped question when we meet is, “When and where are you going?” Our country relatives have been very kind. My brother offers us an asylum in his devastated home at W. While there we must look around for some other place, in which to build up a home for our declining years. Property we have none—all gone. Thank God, we have our faculties; the girls and myself, at least, have health. Mr. —— bears up under our difficulties with the same hopeful spirit which he has ever manifested. “The Lord will provide,” is still his answer to any doubt on our part. The Northern officials offer free tickets to persons returning to their homes — alas! to their homes! How few of us have homes! Some are confiscated; others destroyed. The families of the army and navy officers are here. The husbands and sons are absent, and they remain with nothing to anticipate and nothing to enjoy. To-day I met a friend, the wife of a high official, whose hospitality I have often enjoyed in one of the most elegant residences in Virginia, which has been confiscated and used as a hospital for “contrabands.” Our conversation naturally turned on our prospects. Hearing where we were going, she replied, “I have no brother, but when I hear from my husband and son, I shall accept the whole-souled invitation of a relative in the country, who has invited me to make his house my home; but,” she added, as her beautiful eyes filled with tears, “when are our visits to end? We can’t live with our ruined relatives, and when our visits are over, what then? And how long must our visits of charity last?” The question was too sad; neither of us could command our voices, and we parted in silence and tears.

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