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 8, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

August 8th, Friday.

Again last night, about nine, we heard cannon in Baton Rouge, and watched the flashes which preceded the reports by a minute, at least, for a long time. We must have seen our own firing; perhaps we wanted to find out the batteries of the enemy. It was not the most delightful thing imaginable to watch what might be the downfall of our only home! And then to think each ball might bring death to some one we love! Ah, no! it was not pleasant!

Miriam and I have many friends in Breckinridge’s division, I expect, if we could only hear the names of the regiments. The Fourth is certainly there. And poor Will! I wonder if he has had his supper yet? I have been thinking of him ever since Mr. Scales told me he was there, and praying myself sick for his safety and that of the rest. I shut my eyes at every report and say, “Oh, please! poor Will! —and the others, too!” And when I don’t hear the cannon, I pray, to be in advance of the next.

It is now midday, and again we hear firing; but have yet to learn the true story of the first day’s fight. Preserve me from the country in such stirring days! We might as well be in Europe as to have the Mississippi between us and town.

By unanimous consent, the little lane in front of the house has been christened “Guerrilla Lane,” and the long one leading to the river, “Arkansas.” What an episode that was, in our lives! The officers go by the name of Miriam’s, Ginnie’s, Sarah’s, as though they belonged to each!

Those girls did me the meanest thing imaginable. Mr. Talbot and I were planning a grand combined attack on Baton Rouge, in which he was to command a fleet and attack the town by the river, while I promised to get up a battalion of girls and attack them in the rear. We had settled it all, except the time, when just then all the others stopped talking. I went on: “And now, it is only necessary for you to name the day —” Here the girls commenced to giggle, and the young men tried to suppress a smile; I felt annoyed, but it did not strike me until after they had left, that I had said anything absurd. What evil imaginations they must have, if they could have fancied I meant anything except the battle!

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