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 24, 2015

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

W., 24th.—On Saturday evening my brother’s wagon met us at the depot and brought us to this place, beautiful in its ruins. We have not been here since the besom of destruction swept over it, and to us, who have been in the habit of enjoying its hospitality when all was bright and cheerful, the change is very depressing. We miss the respectful and respectable servants, born in the family and brought up with an affection for the household which seemed a part of their nature, and which so largely contributed to the happiness both of master and servant. Even the nurse of our precious little J., the sole child of the house, whose heart seemed bound up in her happiness, has gone. It is touching to hear the sweet child’s account of the shock she experienced when she found that her “mammy,” deceived and misled by the minions who followed Grant’s army, had left her; and to see how her affection still clings to her, showing itself in the ardent hope that her “mammy” has found a comfortable home. The army had respected the interior of the house, because of the protection of the officers. Only one ornament was missing, and that was the likeness of this dear child. Since the fall of Richmond, a servant of the estate, who had been living in Washington, told me that it was in the possession of a maid-servant of the house, who showed it to him, saying that she “looked at it every day.” We all try to be cheerful and to find a bright side; and we occupy the time as cheerfully as we can. The governess having returned to her home in Norfolk, I shall employ myself in teaching my bright little niece here and the dear children at S. H., and feel blessed to have so pleasant a duty.

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