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 25, 2013

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne

[Diary ] March 25.

This morning about a dozen of the black soldiers came armed into our church in school-time, and hid there. They were on the watch for some man who was to be taken as a soldier. They suddenly rushed out of church, to the great alarm of our children, clashing their arms. They looked at our boys to see if they were old enough to seize, but Tony and Aaron were not there. The children screamed in terror. We shall complain. The colored soldiers ought not to be left to manage this business alone. They do not understand yet the proper restrictions of their authority. To-day they have caught many. Robert, of Oaklands, afraid of being taken, asked my advice what to do. I told him that if he remained at home he could only lead a skulking life and never have any peace. But that if he went and volunteered, or let the soldiers take him quietly, as the island was picketed and he could not go now and volunteer at Beaufort, he would soon be discharged, for I knew him to be quite unfitted for service by rheumatism. He, however, took to the marsh when he saw the soldiers approach Oaklands, and he has not since been heard of.

Mr. Pierce came and examined our school. He asked the children questions which they answered pretty readily. To-night I had a long talk with him about Miss Ruggles’ school. She complains that the children will not go to her and will come to us. She thinks we ought to forbid them. We maintain that they were our scholars long before she came down here, that they are attached to us and we to them, that they complain of having no regular school, and no such advantages as slates and copy-books.

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