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.

January 12, 2013

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

January 12th [1863]. “Picayune extra” is called through the streets to-day and late to-night. Terrible slaughter at the battle of Murfreesboro on both sides; all Rosecranz’s staff killed; Breckenridge’s division on our side defeated; the Federals mowed down by thousands and their slaughter, especially in officers, to use their own words, “heartrending.” The dauntless Confederates, our splendid braves, went down by thousands, leaving many a sweet babe fatherless and many a widow mourning. Ah, when will this deadly, wild war be past? The Monitor is destroyed. Lincoln about to take the field in person, and McClellan restored to command. He is the only Federal general I either fear or respect. Two long trains of artillery passed our door to-day.

One young officer particularly attracted my attention; he looked so truly gallant—some mother ‘s darling, I know. In his young enthusiasm he has come to fight for the Union; he will die for it, probably, without in any way contributing to its restoration. We find a great difference in the appearance of Banks’ troops and those of Butler; the last appeared to be mere scum of the earth, nevertheless I am sorry for them because they suffer. A Federal officer stopped at Mrs. Harrison’s gate a day or two ago, asking a few rosebuds that he might press them to send to his wife; there are no flowers where she is now. This pure remembrance and thought of the soldier touched me. I was touched, too, at the remark of a private passing the gate. “Here I am,” said he, “so many miles from home, and not a soul that cares a damn whether I live or die, or what becomes of me.” Another remarked, when the newsboy cried out “a new order,” “I wish it were an order for peace and one to go home.” Mrs. Norton got quite impatient with Miss Marcella Wilkinson to-day for praising several of the officers who had been kind to her family, and interested themselves in procuring the release of her brother, who had been arrested by Butler. Mrs. N thinks no-one can be a true Southerner and praise a Yankee. She thought it no honor “to be treated decently by one of the wretches; she wished the devils were all killed.” There is a difference even among devils, it seems, as some of Banks’ people do try to be kind to us, while Butler’s were just the reverse. How few people have an enlarged liberality! I wonder if it will ever be possible for a novelist to render to view the faults of his countrymen in this land; the mention of one failing even in private conversation raises a sort of storm, not always polite either. I am thought all sorts of things because I endeavor to do justice to all parties; one day I am an abolitionist, another a Yankee, another too hot a “rebel,” another all English, and sometimes I love my Maryland, and no other State; all the while I love my own land, every inch of it, better than all the world and feel a burning desire ever kindling in my heart that my countrymen should be first in all the world for virtue. They are so kind, so generous, so brave, so gallant to women that I desire for them all the good that belongs to human character, the graces of chivalry as well as its sturdy manhood, and the elegant liberality of philosophy and benevolence.

Went with Mrs. Dameron and Ginnie to look at a house, after the sale of her home; we found one room filled with pretty furniture, which the old man said he could not remove without asking Banks, or Clark, or some of our Yankee rulers, the owners thereof having left town when it was captured and being Confederates, their property having been seized. We found a garden filled with sweet blooming roses and jessamines and violets; also an old picture which interested me,”The Soldier’s Dream,” the foreground representing a man covered with a blanket by a rude camp fire; the background, which is misty and dreamlike, presents a woman and little ones clasping a returned soldier almost at the hamlet door. This picture made me very sad. It suits our present times very well. Will men ever be civilized and let war cease? Did not go out again all day, but saw several visitors in our rooms; I hate the squares and streets .and would be content in a prison to be rid of them.

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