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 7, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

July 7th.

As we have no longer a minister — Mr. Gierlow having gone to Europe — and no papers, I am in danger of forgetting the days of the week, as well as those of the month; but I am positive that yesterday was Sunday because I heard the Sunday-School bells, and Friday I am sure was the Fourth, because I heard the national salute fired. I must remember that to find my dates by.

Well, last night being Sunday, a son of Captain Hooper, who died in the Fort Jackson fight, having just come from New Orleans, stopped here on his way to Jackson, to tell us the news, or rather to see Charlie, and told us afterwards. He says a boat from Mobile reached the city Saturday evening, and the captain told Mr. La Noue that he brought an extra from the former place, containing news of McClellan’s surrender with his entire army, his being mortally wounded, and the instant departure of a French, and English, man-of-war, from Hampton Roads, with the news. That revived my spirits considerably — all except McClellan’s being wounded; I could dispense with that. But if it were true, and if peace would follow, and the boys come home —! Oh, what bliss! I would die of joy as rapidly as I am pining away with suspense now, I am afraid!

About ten o’clock, as we came up, mother went to the window in the entry to tell the news to Mrs. Day, and while speaking, saw a man creeping by under the window, in the narrow little alley on the side of the house, evidently listening, for he had previously been standing in the shadow of a tree, and left the street to be nearer. When mother ran to give the alarm to Charlie, I looked down, and there the man was, looking up, as I could dimly see, for he crouched down in the shadow of the fence. Presently, stooping still, he ran fast towards the front of the house, making quite a noise in the long tangled grass. When he got near the pepper-bush, he drew himself up to his full height, paused a moment as though listening, and then walked quietly towards the front gate. By that time Charlie reached the front gallery above, and called to him, asking what he wanted. Without answering the man walked steadily out, closed the gate deliberately; then, suddenly remembering drunkenness would be the best excuse, gave a lurch towards the house, walked off perfectly straight in the moonlight, until seeing Dr. Day fastening his gate, he reeled again.

That man was not drunk! Drunken men cannot run crouching, do not shut gates carefully after them, would have no inclination to creep in a dim little alley merely to creep out again. It may have been one of our detectives. Standing in the full moonlight, which was very bright, he certainly looked like a gentleman, for he was dressed in a handsome suit of black. He was no citizen. Form your own conclusions! Well! after all, he heard no treason. Let him play eavesdropper if he finds it consistent with his character as a gentleman.

The captain who brought the extra from Mobile wished to have it reprinted, but it was instantly seized by a Federal officer, who carried it to Butler, who monopolized it; so that will never be heard of again; we must wait for other means of information. The young boy who told us, reminds me very much of Jimmy; he is by no means so handsome, but yet there is something that recalls him; and his voice, though more childish, sounds like Jimmy’s, too. I had an opportunity of writing to Lydia by him, of which I gladly availed myself, and have just finished a really tremendous epistle.

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