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 16, 2013

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

January 16th [1863]. The Ogden and Harrison girls all in to-day from Greensville, looking rosy from the cold, and fat and cheerful in spite of blockades. They are brimful of the pride and glory and chivalry of “Rebeldom.” Our Southern heroes are fondly talked of by thousands of firesides from which they are shut out. I read an amusing letter written by an Englishman, one of the Alabama‘s men. Semme’s Southern chivalry, it seems is sometimes put to the test—he spared the Tonawando from destruction because of the female passengers, though it well nigh broke his heart to part with so fine a vessel. Ah, never let it be said that Southerners injure women! All prisoners are treated well, this Englishman says, though many are not grateful for having their lives spared. The Englishman says he is “taking both to the people, the ship, and the cause.”

Mr. Payne’s funeral took place to-day; died from brain affection brought on by trouble caused by this war. His sons are in the army, and he has left two young and pretty daughters. They have no mother and he was the fondest of fathers. The breaking up of the home is a solemn and awful thing to see. In after years we often realize how dear has been the common daily routine of the old home life.

A Yankee soldier remarked in the car to-day, “I wonder if these Southern girls can love as they hate? If they can, it would be well worth one’s trying to get one of them.” Another, passing the gate, said to his companions, “I tell you these Southerners have real pluck; if they were man to man with us they would whip us all to smash, but we have three to one, and that’s the only way we ’11 whip them.” Strange that they have so many men yet always complain when defeated that they were overwhelmed by numbers. I am told that there is a great speech of Valandingham out. How I admire this man, with his clear, keen, practical sense, imbued by a lofty sentiment; his rectitude, his strength, his sagacity to see the right, and his courage to speak it, in a time so corrupt that there is danger in so speaking. He can never become the mere man of wood that so many are. His noble protests against this cruel war have given positive comfort to me; it is so bitter to believe humanity corrupt. The number of his admirers in his own country proves that the Northern people are not all filled with spite and hatred of us, as so many believe. I love my own land as well as any man or woman that it nourishes! How gladly would I submit to sacrifices for her benefit or ennobling! How proudly would I shed my blood in her defence if I could, but my heart has yet to learn to take pleasure in the idea of evil in other lands! Love of country does not consist in hatred of other countries, or patriotism in believing that ours is free of faults; an honest desire to rectify the faults of one’s own country should stir the heart of each man and woman in it. This is a greater safeguard than boasting of our excellences. The statesman, or author, who tells us the truth is a greater benefactor than he who flatters our pride. No fear, with our English blood, of our becoming too humble-minded.

There is a war of parties expected at the North; I wish for it if it can result in letting the South pass in peace, but this great end gained, I cannot contemplate without horror the idea of civil war and its desolations. “They deserve it,” say my friends, who are ready to shake me for what they call luke-warmness. How painful it is never to be comprehended; of two evils, both for myself and my enemy, I would choose the least. If the North can suffer enough from the reign of her bloody radicals to bring back her good sense and humanity, I will be glad enough for her to suffer; further than this I wish her no ill; my prayer is ever that she may repent and go in peace. They have treated us cruelly and I wish companionship, fellowship and community of interest, never any more. Just heard from a gentleman from the North, that there is no hope of peace from that quarter. The radicals, knowing that they have the reins of Government in their own hands, are determined to press the war and overwhelm us before the Democrats can come into power. There is no hope that Lincoln will extend the time of Congress, and therefore the Democrats must sit in silent patience. These dreadful radicals are the jacobins of America and their cry is like the old one, “More blood!” The Democrats treat them, I hear, with the greatest contempt socially and politically. We have been hoping so for peace; my God, can we endure another year of war! Mrs. Roselius has just told us of some of the sufferings of Pierre Soule in Fort Lafayette; he was an intimate acquaintance of hers and she has learned much concerning him. A friend of Soule’s who knew how comfortably he had lived in New Orleans, got permission from the Government at Washington to send him little luxuries in prison. These she carried to him daily with her own hands, trusting none except the one to whom her little offerings were necessarily consigned—the jailer himself. What was her surprise after Mr. Soule’s release to hear that he had never received one of the articles which the jailer had made so many kind promises to deliver. Mr. Denman rode in the car in New York with an old woman who publicly cursed the secessionists and wished them all sorts of horrors; one of her sons they had killed outright, she said, and another to whom she was hastening had been wounded. “Were they drafted men, or did they enlist?” asked Mr. Denman. “They enlisted.” “Ah, well, they must have expected and been prepared for the consequences of war. They went to invade the South; their country was not invaded.”

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