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.

March 28, 2013

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

Saturday, 28th [March]. Mr. Randolph here, and we all talked about Farragut and the Hartford for about two hours. He will have it that we have both. Nowadays there seem to be but two classes of individuals, those that believe everything and those who believe nothing. I have fallen into a state of general infidelity. My head is dazed with talk and rumors. Mr. Randolph has his spy story. A Confederate officer is in, in Federal uniform; he says that Farragut never passed all the batteries at Port Hudson, but being crippled by passing the first, was forced to surrender. He was then sent as a prisoner to Jackson and thence to Richmond. The Hartford still floating the Federal stars and stripes, then proceeded on her way to Vicksburg, and as we had captured the signals, she lies there to entice other Federal vessels from the other fleet to run the Vicksburg batteries to come to her assistance; should they do so, they will fall into our hands, as did the Queen of the West and others. The officer says, too, that the Indianola is safe. The Federals here say that she sank and rose no more. He says, too, that the Confederates are coming soon to the defence of this poor city. Mr. Randolph believes in this officer, and says he has good reason to do so. We told him of our general infidelity which, for our better spirit’s sake, he tried to combat.

The Era reports Farragut safe at the mouth of the famous canal, waiting for coal barges to pass down to him; it gives a threatening letter of his to the Mayor of Natchez, said threats to be carried out should the guerrillas fire on him. (The Era distinguishes these irregulars as “Gorillas”). The capture of this famous rear-admiral is a great deal to us Confederates. He is a brave fellow, and his loss would give our enemies quite a blow, and the more of that stamp they lose the better. It seems a silly thing to me that he should place himself in such a dangerous position—parted from his fleet and hemmed in by batteries, deadly in their effectiveness. If we do not catch him, we should. In spite of the bravado and inflation of the Era, a very sensible fear of the Admiral’s position appears. Banks is safe here in the city, and all his military show towards Port Hudson has come to naught. He says that he has done all that he wished to do—which was to march in great array out of Baton Rouge and then make a hasty retreat thereto without striking a blow at our strong point. The Federals, I believe, have changed their tactics; finding that the “gorilla” is strong, they very sublimely sit themselves down until he starves to death. It is amusing to hear how dreadfully we need everything (from their papers). Our people are suffering from the want of many accustomed luxuries, but the blessings of freedom and peace, I pray God, may so entice them from the future that they may continue to bear a bold front toward a ruthless and home-desolating foe. Mr. Randolph tells us that if the Confederates do not come in for fifty days, quite a large sum of money will be saved to him; but, said he, “I would rather have them in to-morrow, and lose it.” He comes of the blood of old John Randolph; if he had taken the oath, he says, his mother and his brothers in the army would have disowned him. “When the oath-taking was going on last summer, he was so disheartened by the sight that he came up from town one day, just to be cheered by the sight of those he knew would never take it. He brought us one of the ballads which flood the city. It represents the reception of old John Brown into a place which shall be nameless in these decorous pages. He brought something better, however—Doctor Palmer’s letter to Mr. Perkins on the subject of the oath-taking in this city. It is a fine thing, this letter, but I think, much too severe, and would have come with much better grace from one who had remained here and suffered the various influences of temptation which surrounded our poor people here under Butler’s brutal reign.

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