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.

July 4, 2013

Letters and diary of Laura M. Towne

[Diary] Saturday, July 4.

Up early and off to the Baptist church, after mixing medicine and cooking cornstarch for some of Dr. Brisbane’s surveyors who are ill. The school assembled in the church and we pinned our badges on. It is astonishing how many claimed to be our scholars! Then we marched out and stood under the flag and sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” After this, Mr. Folsom[1] read the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Lynch, the new colored Methodist minister, made an oration. The children sang, “Oh, None in All.” Mr. Pierce then spoke. Children sang “My Country.” Afterwards the people, led by “Billy,” sang many of their own songs, and we, having left our classes, sat on the platform under that noble oak. There were there many officers of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored), Colonel Shaw,[2] Major Ned Hallowell,[3] and the surgeon, Captain Hooper, Captain Saxton, Mrs. Sanders and others of our department. The people had now molasses and water and hard bread, for which they had a scramble. At “The Oaks” we had a full table. Colonel Shaw did not come, but Ned Hallowell did and others, and especially do I remember the surgeon (I think it was) who was so enthusiastic over the day — so happy that he had seen freedmen so free and well-behaved. We had a little “shout” by the children on the porch. Our Oaks people had loaded us with watermelons for the Fourth.

[1] Charles P. Folsom, of Massachusetts, who had volunteered as a superintendent.

[2] Robert Gould Shaw.

[3] Edward N. Hallowell.

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