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.

April 8, 2013

The Journal of Julia LeGrand

April 8th [1863]. Mrs. Waugh came over this morning to see if we would go to Greenville with her. I did not feel well, but made the attempt to dress myself; I was still in doubt when she left us to dress. In attempting to put on my clothes I was so weak that I felt fainty, and so determined to delay. I wrote her a note, putting off till some other time. I had not finished it when in rushed Mary Harrison, almost wild with joy. In these sad times a little joy will sometimes leaven the whole lump. Mary has just received two letters from her aunt Ellen, whose husband is a colonel in our army. She is at Franklin, Louisiana, a few hours’ ride on the car from this place. She is there with Sibley’s army, and that army is mostly composed of “Texans.” “We were soon almost as excited as she—a certain wild hope of getting out, there and under the protection of some of our people; get to Texas, or at least, hear of our sisters and brothers. A Captain Harley, mentioned in the late taking of Galveston, is a friend of Mrs. Riley’s (Mary’s aunt). He is also a friend of Mr. Randolph’s, and is the very redoubtable hero to whose care he was about to commend us when he was stationed at Galveston before its first fall, and when we thought we had some chance of reaching it. This gentleman (knight, nowadays) his two friends proclaim to be the ugliest of the ugly, but he is accomplished, wise, kind and brave, and, like all brave men, ready to serve a woman (I don’t say “lady”). He is at Franklin, and what is more than probable, Dick and James Pye, who were also in Galveston’s defence service, are there. They, my brother-in-law’s brothers, would be friends indeed; many and many an unthinking, joyous day have we spent together in the old times past. Never then did they or we think of the brass buttons, the stripes, the shoulder-straps and the grey cloth which now represents a new idea (Greybacks, these Federals call our soldiers), when, in the old time, before our two families moved South, we sat on the banks of the blue Potomac, watching the white sails and listening to the “Hail, Columbia,” of the steamers; little did we think that the dear river would one day shut out old Maryland from our country. They are Texans now, wearing her colors, bearing her lone star banner, and we have a foothold still in this desolated Louisiana; and Maryland, our mother, is torn and oppressed by Federal soldiers, and she, for her undecided course, the scorn, the pity of the world. Oh, is it not best to die early?

I was almost forgetting Mary Harrison and her letters. Well, her aunt wants her, and indeed, the whole family, to come to her immediately; says she is splendidly situated with the army and can make them comfortable. The girls are crazy to go out, but all depends on their father and these Federals. Ginnie said to Mary, “Yes, you can hear from your friends, but we hear nothing.” With one of her impulses, Mary leaped from her chair, and throwing her arms around Ginnie, kissed her, saying, “Yes, I thought of you as soon as I got my letter; I ought to be ashamed to tell you of it.” She then fell to begging us to go out with them if they went, promising us a warm welcome at her aunt’s and a splendid time until we could get farther on our journey. I have met Mrs. Riley, and like her very much. She has seen much of the world, and yet preserves her kindliness; she is both cultivated and agreeable. I have almost a hope of getting out. Oh, what a joy it would be to be under the roof of kindred once more! Sister, the children, Claude and brother [Washington LeGrand]; I never knew how much I loved them until now. Mary’s excited talk gave her a headache, and we made her a cup of tea, and we sat and had a long chat. But for Mrs. Norton’s making us nervous, saying every now and then, “Can’t listen to anything I have to say,” we could have had a pleasant time. Presently Mr. Randolph came in, and he and Mary having met here so often, Ginnie met him in the parlor with, “Yes, Miss Harrison is here; walk in; she has been here for some time.” Whereupon he blushed mightily. Mary made Ginnie introduce her to him as he entered, which made him blush again. Mrs. Dameron was here, too, and the talk was too mixed up for Mrs. Norton to take it all in, and while Mr. Randolph was telling her something, she spoke sharply to Ginnie, who was listening to Mary, to “Stop and listen to somebody.” “I am listening to somebody,” returned Ginnie, bowing to Mary. This was high satire, and when I remarked that “Miss Harrison was annihilated,” and Mary said she would never have the boldness to speak again, and Mr. Randolph had stopped in the middle of his speech and blushed, she became confused, and in some sort made apology. “Well,” she said, “when anybody is telling anything interesting, I want every one to hush and hear it.” Mr. Randolph was trying to convince her that we had Farragut, and as we had heard all his arguments before, and as we were sitting

[Here the Journal, as preserved, abruptly ends.]

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