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

July 4, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

July 4th.

Here I am, and still alive, having wakened but once in the night, and that only in consequence of Louis and Morgan crying; nothing more alarming than that. I ought to feel foolish; but I do not. I am glad I was prepared, even though there was no occasion for it.

While I was taking my early bath, Lilly came to the bath-house and told me through the weatherboarding of another battle. Stonewall Jackson has surrounded McClellan completely, and victory is again ours. This is said to be the sixth battle he has fought in twenty days, and they say he has won them all. And the Seventh Regiment distinguished itself, and was presented with four cannon on the battlefield in acknowledgment of its gallant conduct! Gibbes belongs to the “ragged howling regiment that rushed on the field yelling like unchained devils and spread a panic through the army,” as the Northern papers said, describing the battle of Manassas. Oh, how I hope he has escaped!

And they say “Palmerston has urged the recognition of the Confederacy, and an armed intervention on our side.” Would it not be glorious? Oh, for peace, blessed peace, and our brothers once more! Palmerston is said to have painted Butler as the vilest oppressor, and having added he was ashamed to acknowledge him of Anglo-Saxon origin. Perhaps knowing the opinion entertained of him by foreign nations, caused Butler to turn such a somersault. For a few days before his arrival here, we saw a leading article in the leading Union paper of New Orleans, threatening us with the arming of the slaves for our extermination if England interfered, in the same language almost as Butler used when here; three days ago the same paper ridiculed the idea, and said such a brutal, inhuman thing was never for a moment thought of, it was too absurd. And so the world goes! We all turn somersaults occasionally.

And yet, I would rather we would achieve our independence alone, if possible. It would be so much more glorious. And then I would hate to see England conquer the North, even if for our sake; my love for the old Union is still too great to be willing to see it so humiliated. If England would just make Lincoln come to his senses, and put an end to all this confiscation which is sweeping over everything, make him agree to let us alone and behave himself, that will be quite enough. But what a task! If it were put to the vote to-morrow to return free and unmolested to the Union, or stay out, I am sure Union would have the majority; but this way, to think we are to be sent to Fort Jackson and all the other prisons for expressing our ideas, however harmless, to have our houses burned over our heads, and all the prominent men hanged, who would be eager for it? — unless, indeed, it was to escape even the greater horrors of a war of extermination.

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