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 31, 2012

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

December 31st [1862]. I write, this beautiful last day of December, with a heart filled with anxiety and sorrow; with my own sad history that of others mingles. Our side has gained again. The Confederate banner floats in pride and security, but who can help mourning over the details of that ghastly battle of the Rappahannock. Oh, Burnside! moral coward to lead men, the sons of women, into such a slaughter-pen to gratify a senseless president and a tyrannical giver of orders!

Our town is filled with rumors. There has been a bloody fight at Port Hudson, it is said, and the brazen cannon which we have so often seen dragged through these streets have all been taken by our Confederate troops. Banks has ordered the return of the Federal troops sent up the river so proudly and confidently a short while ago, but it is reported that they are so surrounded by the Confederates that they cannot extricate themselves. It is rumored that we are to have a negro insurrection in the New Year (New Year’s Day). The Federal Provost-Marshal has given orders that the disarmed Confederates may now arm again and shoot down the turbulent negroes (like dogs). This after inciting them by every means to rise and slay their masters. I feel no fear, but many are in great alarm. I have had no fear of physical ill through all this dreary summer of imprisonment, but it may come at last. Fires are frequent—it is feared that incendiaries are at work. Last night was both cold and windy. The bells rang out and the streets resounded with cries. I awoke from sleep and said, “Perhaps the moment has come.” Well, well, perhaps it is scarcely human to be without fear. I wonder my Ginnie and I cannot feel as others do—whether we suffer too much in heart to fear in body, or whether we lack that realizing sense of danger which forces us to prepare for it. Mrs. Norton has a hatchet, a tomahawk, and a vial of some kind of spirits with which she intends to blind all invaders. We have made no preparations, but if the worst happen we will die bravely no doubt.

The cars passed furiously twice about midnight, or later; we were all awaked by sounds so unusual. There are patrols all over the city and every preparation has been made to meet the insurrectionists. I indeed expect no rising now, though some of the Federals preach to the negroes in the churches, calling on them to “sweep us away forever.” General Banks is not like Butler; he will protect us. The generality of the soldiers hate the negroes and subject them to great abuse whenever they can. This poor, silly race has been made a tool of—enticed from their good homes and induced to insult their masters. They now lie about, destitute and miserable, without refuge and without hope. They die in numbers and the city suffers from their innumerable thefts.

Christmas passed off quietly, and, to us, sadly. The ladies gave a pleasant dinner to the Confederate prisoners of war now in the city. Rumors from Lafourche that Weitzel has been defeated. His resignation was sent on the Spaulding, but has not been received yet by the President. He resigns, they say, to marry an heiress, Miss Gaskett. She, a Creole of Louisiana, consents to marry one who has spent months in command of soldiers who have been desolating her country.

Previous post:

Next post: