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

Post image for A Confederate Girl’s Diary

A Confederate Girl’s Diary

September 14, 2012

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

Sunday, September 14th, 1862.

I have been so busy making Lieutenant Bourge’s shirt that I have not had time to write, besides having very little to write about. So my industry saved my paper and spared these pages a vast amount of trash. I would not let any one touch Lieutenant Bourge’s shirt except myself; and last evening, when I held it up completed, the loud praises it received satisfied me it would answer. Miriam and Miss Ripley declared it the prettiest ever made. It is dark purple merino. The bosom I tucked with pleats a quarter of an inch deep, all the way up to the collar, and stitched a narrow crimson silk braid up the centre to hold it in its place. Around the collar, cuffs, pockets, and band down the front, the red cord runs, forming a charming contrast to the dark foundation. Indeed, I devoted the sole article the Yankees let fall from my two workboxes — a bunch of soutache — to the work. Large white pearl buttons completed the description, and my shirt is really as quiet, subdued, and pretty a one as I ever saw. I should first hear the opinion of the owner, though. If he does not agree with all the others, I shall say he has no taste.

I got a long sweet letter from Sophie on Friday that made me happy for the whole day. They were about leaving for Alexandria. I was glad to hear they would be out of danger, but still I was sorry they were going so far away. I have been laying a hundred wild schemes to reach Baton Rouge and spend a day or two with them, which is impossible now. Sophie writes just as she talks — and that means remarkably well, so I can at least have the pleasure of corresponding. At Dr. Carnal’s they will be out of the reach of all harm and danger; so I ought to rejoice. There is one thing in which Sophie and I agree, and that is in making Stonewall Jackson our hero. Talk of Beauregard! he never had my adoration; but Stonewall is the greatest man of the age, decidedly.

Still no authentic reports of the late battles in Virginia. I say late, referring to those fought two weeks ago. From the Federal accounts, glowing as they usually are, I should gather the idea that their rout was complete. I cannot imagine why we can hear nothing more from our own side. . . .

I think my first act on my return home will be to take a cup of coffee and a piece of bread, two luxuries of which I have been deprived for a long while. Miriam vows to devour an unheard-of number of biscuits, too. How many articles we considered as absolutely necessary, before, have we now been obliged to dispense with! Nine months of the year I reveled in ice, thought it impossible to drink water without it. Since last November, I have tasted it but once, and that once by accident. And oh, yes! I caught some hail-stones one day at Linwood! Ice-cream, lemonade, and sponge cake was my chief diet; it was a year last July since I tasted the two first, and one since I have seen the last. Bread I believed necessary to life; vegetables, senseless. The former I never see, and I have been forced into cultivating at least a toleration of the latter. Snap beans I can actually swallow, sweet potatoes I really like, and one day at Dr. Nolan’s I “bolted” a mouthful of tomatoes, and afterwards kept my seat with the heroism of a martyr. These are the minor trials of war. If that were all — if coarse, distasteful food were the only inconvenience!

When I think of what Lavinia must suffer so far from us, and in such ignorance of our condition, our trials seem nothing in comparison to hers. And think how uneasy Brother must be, hearing of the battle, and not knowing where we fled to! For he has not heard of us for almost two months. In return we are uneasy about him and Sister. If New Orleans is attacked, what will become of them with all those children?

Previous post:

Next post: