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

September 3, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

September 3d.

Political news it would be absurd to record; for our information is more than limited, being frequently represented by a blank. Of the thirteen battles that Gibbes has fought in, I know the names of four only: Bull Run, Stonebridge, Port Republic, and Cedar Run. Think of all I have yet to hear! To-day comes the news of another grand affair, the defeat of McClellan, Pope, and Burnside combined. If I dared believe it! But accounts are too meagre as yet. Both Gibbes and George were in it, if there was a fight, and perhaps Jimmy, too. Well! I must wait in patience. We have lost so much already that God will surely spare those three to us. Oh! if they come again, if we can meet once more, what will the troubles of the last six months signify? If I dared hope that next summer would bring us Peace! I always prophesy it just six months off; but do I believe it?

Indeed, I don’t know what will become of us if it is delayed much longer. If we could only get home, it would be another thing; but boarding, how long will mother’s two hundred and fifty last? And that is all the money she has. As to the claims, amounting to a small fortune, she might as well burn them. They will never be paid. But if we get home, what will we do for bedding? The Yankees did not leave us a single comfort, and only two old bars and a pair of ragged sheets, which articles are not to be replaced at any price in the Confederacy, so we must go without. How glad I am that we gave all our blankets to our soldiers last summer! So much saved from the Yankees!

Poor Lavinia! She fancies us comfortably settled at home; I dare say she spends all her time in picturing to herself what we may be doing, and recalling each piece of furniture the rooms contained. Wonder if she would not be shocked if the real scene were suddenly revealed to her, and she should see the desolated house and see us fugitives in a strange town. Wonder how the cry of “Where are those three damned Secesh women?” would have struck her, had she heard the strange oaths and seen the eager search which followed? I dare say it would have frightened her more than it did me when I was told of it. William Waller says it is God’s mercy that we had escaped already, for we certainly would have suffered. I hardly think we could have been harmed, though, and shall always regret that we did not return immediately after the battle. It took them from that day to the evacuation to finish the work; and I rather think that our presence would have protected the house.

Our servants they kindly made free, and told them they must follow them (the officers). Margret was boasting the other day of her answer, “I don’t want to be any free-er than I is now — I’ll stay with my mistress,” when Tithe shrewdly remarked, “Pshaw! Don’t you know that if I had gone, you’d have followed me?” The conduct of all our servants is beyond praise. Five thousand negroes followed their Yankee brothers from the town and neighborhood; but ours remained. During the fight, or flight, rather, a fleeing officer stopped to throw a musket in Charles Barker’s hands, and bade him fight for his liberty. Charles drew himself up, saying, “I am only a slave, but I am a Secesh nigger, and won’t fight in such d— a crew!” Exit Yankee, continuing his flight down to the riverside.

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