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.

October 15, 2012

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

Richmond, October 15th.—Yesterday morning my sister M., J. W., and myself, drove up from W. to the depot, seven miles, in a wagon, with four mules. It was a charming morning, and we had a delightful ride; took the accommodation cars at twelve and arrived here at two. We drove to the Exchange, and were delighted to find there our dear J. McI. And her little Bessie, on her way to W. to spend the winter. Poor thing, her lot is a sad one! She was excited by seeing us, and was more cheerful than I expected to see her; though she spoke constantly of her husband, and dwelt on her last days with him. She was in Memphis; her little Jemmie was excessively ill; she telegraphed for her husband in Arkansas. He came at once, and determined that it would be better to take the little boy to the house of his aunt in Louisiana, that J. might be with her sister. They took the boat, and after a few hours arrived at Mr. K’s house. The child grew gradually worse, and was dying, when a telegram came to General McIntosh from General Price, “Come at once—a battle is imminent.” He did not hesitate; the next steamer bore him from his dying child and sorrowing wife to the field of battle, Pea Ridge. He wrote to her, immediately on his arrival at camp, the most beautifully resigned letter, full of sorrow for her and for his child, but expressing the most noble, Christian sentiments. Oh, how she treasures it! The lovely boy died the day after his father left him! The mother said, “For a week H. and myself did nothing but decorate my little grave, and I took a melancholy pleasure in it; but darker days came, and I could not go even to that spot.” She dreamed, a few nights after little Jemmie’s death, of being at Fort Smith, her home before the war; standing on the balcony of her husband’s quarters, her attention was arrested by a procession—an officer’s funeral. As it passed under the balcony she called to a passer-by : “Whose funeral is that ?” “General McIntosh’s, madam.” She was at once aroused, and ran to her sister’s room in agony. She did what she could to comfort her, but the dream haunted her imagination. A few days afterwards she saw a servant ride into the yard, with a note for Mrs. K. Though no circumstance was more common, she at once exclaimed, “It is about my husband.” She did not know that the battle had taken place; but it was the fatal telegram. The soldiers carried his body to Fort Smith, and buried it there. To-morrow she returns, with her aunt, to W. She wishes to get to her mother’s home in Kentucky, but it is impossible for her to run the blockade with her baby, and there is no other way open to her.

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