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

February 3, 2014

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Wednesday, February 3d.

Last night we were thrown into the most violent state of commotion by the unexpected entrance of Captain Bradford. He has been brought here a prisoner, from Asphodel, where he has been ever since the surrender of Port Hudson, and taking advantage of his tri-weekly parole, his first visit was naturally here, as he has no other friends.

Poor creature, how he must have suffered! The first glance at his altered face where suffering and passion have both left their traces unmistakably since we last met, and the mere sight of his poor lame leg, filled my heart with compassion.

• • • • • • • •

How he hates Mr. Halsey! I could not forego the pleasure of provoking him into a discussion about him, knowing how they hated each other. He would not say anything against him; understand, that as a gentleman and a companion, Mr. Halsey was his warmest and best friend; there was no one he admired more; but he must say that as a soldier, he was the worst he had ever seen — not that he was not as brave and gallant a man as ever lived, but he neglected his duties most shamefully while visiting Linwood so constantly, eluding the sentinels daily as he asked for neither pass nor permission, and consulting only his inclinations instead of his superior officers or his business. And that last night at Linwood, when he absented himself without leave, why could he not have signified to him, his Captain, that he wished to say good-bye, instead of quietly doing as he pleased? When the Colonel sent for a report of the number of men, quantity of forage and ammunition, etc., and it was discovered that John Halsey was absent without leave, with the books locked up and the keys in his pocket — even after this lapse of time, the fire flashed through the ice as the Captain spoke. Sergeant Halsey, I am sorry for you when you reported yourself next day! All the fun that could have been crowded into an evening at Linwood could not have repaid you for the morning’s scene. And after all, what was it beyond very empty pleasure, with a great deal of laughter? He could have dispensed with it just as well. Looking back, I congratulate myself on being the only one who did not ask him to stay.

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