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

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A Confederate Girl’s Diary

January 4, 2013

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Sunday, January 4th.

One just from Baton Rouge tells us that my presentiment about our house is verified; Yankees do inhabit it, a Yankee colonel and his wife. They say they look strangely at home on our front gallery, pacing up and down. . . . And a stranger and a Yankee occupies our father’s place at the table where he presided for thirty-one years. . . . And the old lamp that lighted up so many eager, laughing faces around the dear old table night after night; that with its great beaming eye watched us one by one as we grew up and left our home; that witnessed every parting and every meeting; by which we sang, read, talked, danced, and made merry; the lamp that Hal asked for as soon as he beheld the glittering chandeliers of the new innovation, gas; the lamp that all agreed should go to me among other treasures, and be cased in glass to commemorate the old days, — our old lamp has passed into the hands of strangers who neither know nor care for its history. And mother’s bed (which, with the table and father’s little ebony stand, alone remained uninjured) belongs now to a Yankee woman! Father prized his ebony table. He said he meant to have a gold plate placed in its centre, with an inscription, and I meant to have it done myself when he died so soon after. A Yankee now sips his tea over it, just where some beau or beauty of the days of Charles II may have rested a laced sleeve or dimpled arm. . . .[1]

Give the devil his due. Bless Yankees for one thing; they say they tried hard to save our State House.

[1] This “little ebony table”— which happened to be mahogany so darkened with age as to be recognized only by an expert many years after the war — and a mahogany rocking-chair are the two pieces of furniture which survived the sacking of Judge Morgan’s house and remain to his descendants to-day. Such other furniture as could be utilized was appropriated by negroes. — W. D

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