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 29, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

July 29th.

This town, with its ten thousand soldiers, is more quiet than it was with the old population of seven thousand citizens. With this tremendous addition, it is like a graveyard in its quiet, at times. These poor soldiers are dying awfully. Thirteen went yesterday. On Sunday the boats discharged hundreds of sick at our landing. Some lay there all the afternoon in the hot sun, waiting for the wagon to carry them to the hospital, which task occupied the whole evening. In the mean time these poor wretches lay uncovered on the ground, in every stage of sickness. Cousin Will saw one lying dead without a creature by to notice when he died. Another was dying, and muttering to himself as he lay too far gone to brush the flies out of his eyes and mouth, while no one was able to do it for him. Cousin Will helped him, though. Another, a mere skeleton, lay in the agonies of death, too; but he evidently had kind friends, for several were gathered around holding him up, and fanning him, while his son leaned over him crying aloud. Tiche says it was dreadful to hear the poor boy’s sobs. All day our vis-à-vis, Baumstark, with his several aids, plies his hammer; all day Sunday he made coffins, and says he can’t make them, fast enough. Think, too, he is by no means the only undertaker here! Oh, I wish these poor men were safe in their own land! It is heartbreaking to see them die here like dogs, with no one to say Godspeed. The Catholic priest went to see some, sometime ago, and going near one who lay in bed, said some kind thing, when the man burst into tears and cried, “Thank God, I have heard one kind word before I die!” In a few minutes the poor wretch was dead.

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