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

July 21st.

It is impossible to discover the true story of last night’s alarm. Some say it was a gang of negroes who attacked the pickets in revenge for having been turned out of the Garrison; others say it was a number of our soldiers who fired from the bushes; and the most amusing story is that they took alarm at an old white horse, which they killed, mistaking him for the Confederates. One regiment has refused to do picket duty; and the story runs among these poor soldiers that our army, which is within a mile, is perfectly overwhelming. The excitement still continues.

I have been writing to the Brunots the news confirming the death of McClellan, the surrender of his army, and the good tidings of our Ram’s recent exploits above Vicksburg, and her arriving safely under the guns there. If we could keep all the dispatches that have passed between us since the battle of the forts, what a collection of absurdity and contradiction it would be! “Forts have been taken.” “Their ships have passed; forts safe; Yankees at our mercy.” “Ships at New Orleans. City to be bombarded in twelve hours.” “Forts surrendered.” “City under British protection.” “No, it is n’t.” “City surrendered.” “Mistake.” “Baton Rouge to be burned when Yankee ships come.” And so on, sometimes three times a day, each dispatch contradicting the other, and all equally ridiculous.

The crowd here seems to increase. The streets are thronged with the military, and it will soon be impossible to go even to Mrs. Brunot’s, which will be a great privation to me. . . . Five thousand are to come next week, and then it will really be impossible to go in the streets.

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