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

Post image for Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne.

Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne.

March 3, 2015

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne

St. Helena Village, S.C., March 3, 1865.

I just scribble a note to thank you all, tell you I am well, and that I am, as you suppose, busy distributing to the refugees. We clothed about one hundred almost naked and entirely filthy people, who had had no change of clothing for months, and who had generally been very ill. Then the supply stopped. There arrived just five boxes and a barrel for me, and these we gave. But no other boxes have come since, and the people come to our yard and stand mute in their misery, not annoying me with questions, but just watching me to see if I have any news of the coming clothing for them. There some of them stand nearly every morning when I go to school, and there they are when we come home. I believe there are some boxes for me and many for Mr. Tomlinson at the Head, but the storm, we suppose, has cut off the supply of coal, and the steamers cannot bring them up. For the same reason no rations could be brought up for them, and there has been something very like starvation here. I have, fortunately, had some money of Mr. Wright’s, and I have bought rice from Mr. Ruggles, and to avoid actually giving to beggars, have only supplied such as Hastings designated as starving, except in a few cases where we had personal knowledge of the people. I think the little grits and rice we have given have kept soul and body together more than once. They have found out that we will buy moss from the trees for our cow who, stupid beast, will not eat hay.

I am elected superintendent of the Philadelphia schools and agent for the Pennsylvania Freedmen’s Relief Association down here.

My box has not come, nor the schooner been heard of. This stormy weather has kept it out, I suspect. Thank H. for both drafts.

What a pleasure my life is!

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