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

August 3, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

August 3d, Westover.

Enfin nous sommes arrivées! And after what a trip! As we reached the ferry, I discovered I had lost the pass, and had to walk back and search for it, aided by Mr. Tunnard, who met me in my distress, as it has always been his luck to do. But somebody had already adopted the valuable trifle, so I had to rejoin mother and Miriam without it. The guard resolutely refused to let us pass until we got another, so off flew Mr. Tunnard to procure a second — which was vastly agreeable, as I knew he would have to pay twenty-five cents for it, Yankees having come down as low as that, to procure money. But he had gone before we could say anything, and soon returned with the two-bits’ worth of leave of absence. Then we crossed the river in a little skiff after sundown, in a most unpleasant state of uncertainty as to whether the carriage was waiting at the landing for us, for I did not know if Phillie had received my note, and there was no place to go if she had not sent for us. However, we found it waiting, and leaving mother and Miriam to pay the ferry, I walked on to put our bundles in the carriage. A man stepped forward, calling me by name and giving me a note from Charlie before I reached it; and as I placed my foot on the step, another came up and told me he had left a letter at home for me at one o’clock. I bowed Yes (it was from Howell; must answer to-morrow). He asked me not to mention it was “him”; a little servant had asked his name, but he told her it was none of her business. I laughed at the refined remark, and said I had not known who it was — he would hardly have been flattered to hear I had not even inquired. He modestly said that he was afraid I had seen him through the window. Oh, no! I assured him. “Well, please, anyhow, don’t say it’s me!” he pleaded most grammatically. I answered, smiling, “I did not know who it was then, I know no more now, and if you choose, I shall always remain in ignorance of your identity.” He burst out laughing, and went off with, “Oh, do, Miss Morgan, forget all about me!” as though it was a difficult matter! Who can he be?

We had a delightful drive in the moonlight, though it was rather long; and it was quite late when we drove up to the house, and were most cordially welcomed by the family. We sat up late on the balcony listening for the report of cannon, which, however, did not come. Baton Rouge is to be attacked to-morrow, “they say.” Pray Heaven it will all be over by that time! Nobody seems to doubt it, over here. A while ago a long procession of guerrillas passed a short distance from the house, looking for a party of Yankees they heard of in the neighborhood, and waved their hats, for lack of handkerchiefs, to us as we stood on the balcony.

I call this writing under difficulties! Here I am employing my knee as a desk, a position that is not very natural to me, and by no means comfortable. I feel so stupid, from want of sleep last night, that no wonder I am not even respectably bright. I think I shall lay aside this diary with my pen. I have procured a nicer one, so I no longer regret its close. What a stupid thing it is! As I look back, how faintly have I expressed things that produced the greatest impression on me at the time, and how completely have I omitted the very things I should have recorded! Bah! it is all the same trash! And here is an end of it — for this volume, whose stupidity can only be equaled by the one that precedes, and the one that is to follow it. But who expects to be interesting in war times? If I kept a diary of events, it would be one tissue of lies. Think! There was no battle on the 10th or 11th, McClellan is not dead, and Gibbes was never wounded! After that, who believes in reliable information? Not I!

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