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.

February 3, 2013

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

February 3rd [1863]. Read in the back parlor at Judge Ogden’s the last speech of Valandingham, to Ginnie and the girls; we were all profoundly affected. There is something in this man’s eloquence which stirs the depths of my nature. This magnificent address, strong, argumentative, forcible and earnest, seemed to me the wail of a great and good spirit over a lost nationality and a dissevered country. To think of a people choosing Lincoln for a supreme ruler with a man like this among them. Witnessed a march of the Federals into the city; some thousands. I never have seen so many men together before. Crowds have always awed and excited me, thrilled me with sensations strange and indefinable, but these soldiers—our professed enemies—moving with solemn countenances and measured tread, with starry banners floating and, what was once, our national music playing, filled me with a sort of excited melancholy never felt before. Images of the many fields wet with the blood of brothers, in which the stars and stripes and our own stars and bars had met in angry strife and floated in pride, then sunk in blood, mingled with thoughts of all that these people had still to do. How many mothers are to be made desolate by this war. It seems to me to be very hard to be so very near soldiers and not be able to respond to their cheers or to shake the hand of even one, or to say, God speed you! These people have the old camping ground of our Confederate soldiers, then called “Camp Lewis,” now camp Weitzel, in compliment to that Dutch-American who commands them. Saw to-day that Magruder’s camp of instruction is at Hampstead, in Texas, where sister lives; read several very romantic incidents of the attack at Galveston. Captain Wainwright’s little son, only ten years old, fought over the body of his dead father. Two brothers met and one answering the cry of “Yield or I kill you,” said, “You had better look at me, Joe, before you fire.” A gentleman named Lea, who was of the boarding party, killed his own son; his grief upon this discovery was terrible to witness. A Mr. Holland, too, of the boarding party, was met by Captain Wainwright for the first time since he had entertained him as a friend in London. Such things forbid comment. Ah, cruel civil war! On returning late, after spending the evening at the Randolphs, Judge Scott read an “extra” brought from town; the blockade at Charleston is removed by a bold Confederate attack; the Mercidita and Quaker Citysunk, not a Federal vessel in sight. Great rejoicing at Charleston; foreign consuls informed. Ah, peace, is it really coming in the—no, not the distance—she must be near. Charleston claims open port for sixty days. We laughed to-day at an officer’s caper; Mrs. Harrison sent Ginnie some nice things for lunch; an officer strolling on the railroad told the boy Andrew that he was there to inspect all covered dishes. After looking within and asking questions, he gave his royal permission to the proceeding. “Oh,” said he, “as it is for a sick lady, you may take it to her.” Mrs. Norton sent Mary Jane out for us with a note, asking us to come back. The girls said she made our passport an excuse for getting us home again, as she is lonely. She sent because an order in the Yankee Delta made known to us that those “enemies” who wished for passports and had registered, should come in person to receive them. Sent her word that we would come.

Next morning Ginnie was sick, too sick to get up, so I rose early and wrote a few lines to Colonel Clarke, stating facts; also wrote a few to Mr. Randolph, claiming the fulfillment of a promise to us that he would serve us under all circumstances. He came over directly after breakfast to tell me how glad he was that we had called on him at last, and that he would deliver our note to some of our rulers and extort a passport if possible. I thanked him in earnest, for it is really something to ask. The Federal rulers here are less accessible than the most august of sovereigns, and even if one is admitted they send him from one to another until his patience is worn out, each official seeming to emulate the last in rude behavior—with the single exception of Colonel Clarke, who has been dismissed from office, having shown what the Yankees here term “secesh” tendencies. He is a gentleman and Ginnie says a most sorrowful one. Before we went to Greenville, Mrs. Norton, Ginnie and Mrs. Dameron went to the city hall—found there a great crowd through which they had to wedge their way. A young official made his appearance and after roughly demanding what their business was, was answered curtly by Mrs. Norton: “I don’t intend to tell you my business,” said she; “I will go to headquarters.” She makes a point of always speaking in this way and cannot be persuaded that she gives them great advantage over her. “Well, madam,” returned the young man, “I don’t want to know your business, and if you can’t tell it, just step back until others are served who can.” Mrs. Dameron blushed and said, “Ah, why will Ma put herself in a position to be insulted?” Ginnie and she got out of the way as fast as possible, and Mrs. Norton was so innocent about it that she didn’t know what they meant by feeling abashed. Colonel French sat with his feet in the air, answered almost rudely when spoken to, and gave them no satisfaction. Colonel Clarke, though out of office that very day and to be succeeded by a creature called Colonel Bowgen, did all he could toward granting their requests. Mrs. Norton and Ginnie got arrest papers for servants, also registered for passports. Colonel Bowgen watched Colonel Clarke sharply, fearing, Ginnie said, that he might do or promise something kind. “Colonel Clarke has a soft spot in his heart,” he significantly remarked. For this soft spot he has been dismissed from office; he goes out to the verge of “rebeldom,” however, with all exchanged prisoners and enemies whenever they are sent, and is always so kind, so truly generous that many are attached to him. One lady who had smuggled a Confederate flag felt compunctious after receiving so much kindness, and brought it out to the Colonel. He had not permitted either their trunks or persons to be searched. She waved her little flag and said that she loved it and asked his permission to carry it over the lines; “Oh, yes,” said he, “take it; I don’t think it will cause the death of any of us.”

The trip to the lines that time was a delightful one, both to the ladies and Colonel Clarke, and upon the arrival of the boat at Madisonville, two hundred Confederate soldiers marched down to meet the ladies.

Oh! such a time! such a joyful meeting! Our soldiers went on board and had quite a “jollification,” it is said, and were kindly entertained by the Federal officers. This was as it should be, but things will never be conducted in that way again. The last time the enemies went out, Colonel Clarke went with them, indeed, but he could do nothing which he wished. On being appealed to by a lady, he said, “Ah, madam, there is a new ruler in Jerusalem.” On this occasion the ladies’ trunks were searched, also their persons, with two exceptions. A little contraband quinine was found and we were all glad to hear that one of the infamous women badly cut her hand whilst ripping up a lady’s sleeve to look for it. Even babies were searched and left shivering in the cold without their clothes. Flannels were taken from all, and a little bag of flour which a very poor woman, who was going out to meet her husband, had taken to thicken her baby’s milk, was cruelly thrown into water. Is it possible that we can ever take the Yankees by the hand again! To me the very sight of them is disgusting after hearing of their enormities.

Mr. Randolph got our passports after waiting hours; he was treated roughly at first, but upon speaking firmly and politely, they changed tone. He was even told to come back again if he needed more trunks than those allowed us. In the passports we are numbered, not named. We have since had a note from a friend, beginning, “Dear No. 46.”

With another dinner at the Harrisons and another tea at the Randolphs, our visit to Greenville closed. The girls would not give us up and persuaded us day after day to stay, but Mrs. Norton came after us herself on Sunday, the 8th of February. We came in on the cars quite late, so late that the Judge and Mr. R—— both went with us to the station and would have proceeded to town, but we would only consent to accept the company of one.

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