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.

October 15, 2015

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne

October 15,1865.

The people receive the rebels better than we expected, but the reason is that they believe Johnson[1] is going to put them in their old masters’ power again, and they feel that they must conciliate or be crushed. They no longer pray for the President — our President, as they used to call Lincoln — in the church. They keep an ominous silence and are very sad and troubled.

However, one of the best and most powerful of the old rebels returned awhile ago, and has been living in his old home on sufferance. His people all went to tell him “huddy,” and he was convinced of their toleration. So he told them he should get back his land and wanted to know how many would be willing to work for him for wages. They said none. “Why,” he said, “had n’t you as lief work for me as for these Yankees?” “No, sir,” they answered through their foreman; “even if you pay as well, sir, we had rather work for the Yankees who have been our friends.”

On the mainland it is so dangerous for a negro to go about, especially with the United States Uniform on, that orders are out that no more will be allowed to go to recover their families and bring them here as they have been doing. Some of the happiest reunions have come under our observation. But now people well-to-do here have to leave wives, old mothers, and children (sold away) to starve on the mainland, when they are anxious to bring them here and provide for them. It is not true that the negro soldiers do not behave well. Here, at least, they have always been patterns, as every commander of the post will testify. These stories about them are manufactured for a purpose.

[1] President Andrew Johnson.

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