Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Journal of Julia LeGrand.

Journal of Julia LeGrand.

December 20, 2012

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

December 20th [1862].


The Ladies’ Farewell To Brutal Ferocity Butler.


We fill this cup to one made up

Of beastliness alone,

The caitiff of his dastard crew,

The seeming paragon,

Who had a coward heart bestowed,

And brutal instincts given

In fiendish mirth, then spawned on earth

To shame the God of Heaven;

His every tone is murder’s own

Like those unhallowed birds

Who feed on corpses, and the lie

Dwells ever in his words.

His very face a living curse

To mankind’s lofty state,

Marked with the stain of branded Cain,

None knew him but to hate.

Fair woman’s fame he makes his game,

On children wreaks his spite,

A tyrant mid his bayonets,

He never dared to fight.

Think you a mother’s holy smile

Ere beamed for him? Ah, no.

The jackal nursed the whelp accursed,

Humanity’s worst foe.

On every hand, in every land

The scoundrel is despised,

In Butler’s name the foulest wrongs

And crimes are all comprised.

‘Twill live the sign of infamy

Unto time’s utmost verge,

Ages unborn will tell in scorn,

Of him, as mankind’s scourge.

We fill this cup to one made up

Of beastliness alone;

The vampire of his Yankee crew,

The lauded paragon.

Farewell and if in h—l there dwell

A demon such as thou

Then Satan yield thy scepter up—

Thy mission’s over now.


I copied this parody of Pickney’s beautiful poem almost in sorrow, to see anything so filled with sweet and tender fancies so desecrated, but these things are waifs borne on the wind, indicating whence they blow, and, as such, are valuable. The town of late has been flooded with things of this kind. Bank’s arrival and Butler’s disgrace has created a vent for a long pent-up disgust. It would have been nobler, perhaps, to have had these papers circulated while Butler was here in power, but men cannot indulge in such pastimes when cruel balls and chains and dark prison forts are waiting for them. Butler then, after his long, disgusting stay here has been compelled to yield his place, his sword, and much of his stolen property.

General Banks has, so far, by equitable rule commanded the respect of his enemies. We know him as an enemy, it is true, but an honest and respectable one. Every rich man is not his especial foe, to be robbed for his benefit. Butler left on the steamer Spaulding, was accompanied to the wharf by a large crowd, to which he took off his hat. There was not one hurrah, not one sympathizing cry went up for him from the vast crowd which went to see him off—a silent rebuke. I wonder if he felt it!

Ginnie saw Julia Ann in the street to-day; did not speak but watched her closely. She left us during the summer, having previously stolen money from our box. We had so spoiled her that she would not take the trouble to answer unless she pleased. She pouted always, and passed all of her time in the street. She was persuaded off by a policeman’s wife. She had been with us ever since an infant—about our person—and was consequently associated with much that is past and dear. Though she behaved ill often, we would not allow her to be punished, and the day she ran away was as unhappy a one as I ever passed, though I tried to conceal my feelings from the other servants. Some days after her flight a policeman took her up in the street and was about to convey her to jail. She preferred being brought to us, she said, and we gave the man ten dollars to leave her here, as she cried and appeared to be repentant. She stayed at Mrs. Waugh’s, where we were obliged to place her near us, just three days. We had not even cast a reproach upon her for her behavior, but encouraged her in every way. Mrs. Norton wanted us to let her go to jail and when she ran away again I believe felt much triumph over us for our continued confidence in her. We had made every effort to bring Julie up an honorable and even high-toned woman, but she preferred lying to confidence, stealing to asking, and a life of vagrancy to a respectable and comfortable one. I have learned this lesson both from experience and observation that negroes only respect those they fear.

Heard to-day of the existence of a negro society here called the “vaudo” (I believe). All who join it promise secrecy on pain of death. Naked men and women dance around a huge snake and the room is suddenly filled with lizards and other reptiles. The snake represents the devil which these creatures worship and fear. The existence of such a thing in New Orleans is hard to believe. I had read of such a thing in a book which Doctor Cartwright gave us, but he is so imaginary and such a determined theorist that I treated it almost as a jest. The thing is a living fact. The police have broken up such dens, but their belief and forms of worship are a secret. These people would be savages again if free. I find that no negroes discredit the power of the snake; those who do not join the society abstain from fear and not from want of faith.

Previous post:

Next post: