Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

December 5, 2012

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

5th.—Broke camp this morning, marched southerly through the village of Stafford, the most miserable and dilapidated looking place the imagination can picture, unless it should take for its pattern some other Virginia village. About a mile and a half south of Stafford Court House we crossed, at Brooks’ Station, the railroad leading from Fredericksburg to the mouth of Acquia Creek, and, after marching about one mile further, in the night, we bivouaced in a most woe-be-gone, hilly, pine-covered, tobacco-eaten country.

Shortly after passing Stafford Court House, I rode up to some “negro quarters,” to see if I could get a canteen of milk, or something “fresh” for my supper. An old black woman came to the door, expressed gratification at our arrival, and fears that we should not be able to retain our hold in the country. She seemed about seventy years old. I asked her if she cared anything for her freedom, or whether she would rather continue a slave, and be taken care of by her master?

“Ah, massa, my freedom ain’t wuf much to me now, but if it please de Laud, I would love to live to see dis a Free State; seem like’t would be so good to die in a free country, and den when I sings praises in hebben, it would be so nice to tell de Laud to his face, how I lub him for dat goodness.”

The slave may be “satisfied with his condition,” but it strikes me that this expresses a strange yearning for change in a mind already satisfied.

Previous post:

Next post: