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

September 10, 2013

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Thursday, 10th September.

O my prophetic soul! part of your forebodings are already verified! And in what an unpleasant way!

Day before yesterday an English officer, not the one who came here, but one totally unknown to me, said at Mrs. Peirce’s he was going to visit the Confederate prisoners. He was asked if he knew any. Slightly, he said; but he was going this time by request; he had any quantity of messages to deliver to Colonel —— from Miss Sarah Morgan. “How can that be possible, since you are not acquainted with her?” Ada demanded. He had the impudence to say that the young lady I have already mentioned had requested him to deliver them for her, since she found it impossible. Fortunately for me, I have two friends left. Feeling the indelicacy of the thing, and knowing that there must be some mistake that might lead to unpleasant consequences, Ada and Marie, my good angels, insisted on hearing the messages. At first he refused, saying that they were entrusted to him confidentially; but being assured that they were really intimate with me, whereas the other was a perfect stranger, and that I would certainly not object to their hearing what I could tell a gentleman, he yielded, fortunately for my peace of mind, and told all.

I can’t repeat it. I was too horrified to hear all, when they told me. What struck me as being most shocking was my distorted explanation about the letters. It now set forth that I was not allowed to write myself, but would be happy to have him write to me; then there was an earnest assurance that my feelings toward him had not changed in the least —

Here I sprang from my chair and rushed to the window for a breath of air, wringing my hands in speechless distress. How a word more or less, an idea omitted or added, a syllable misplaced, can transform a whole sentence, and make what was before harmless, really shocking!

And if it had not been for Ada and Marie —! Blessed angels! they entreated him not to deliver any of his messages, insisting that there must be a mistake, that if he knew me he would understand that it was impossible for me to have sent such a message by a stranger. And although at first he declared he felt obliged to discharge the task imposed on him, they finally succeeded in persuading him to relinquish the errand, promising to be responsible for the consequences.

“Ah me!” I gasped last night, making frantic grimaces in the dark, and pinching myself in disgust, “why can’t they let me alone? . . . O women — women! I wish he could marry all of you, so you would let me alone! Take him, please; but en grâce don’t disgrace me in the excitement of the race!

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