June 25th.—A horrible day. The most horrible yet to me, because I’ve lost my nerve. We were all in the cellar, when a shell came tearing through the roof, burst upstairs, and tore up that room, the pieces coming through both floors down into the cellar. One of them tore open the leg of H.’s pantaloons. This was tangible proof the cellar was no place of protection from them. On the heels of this came Mr. J., to tell us that young Mrs. P. had had her thighbone crushed. When Martha went for the milk she came back horror-stricken to tell us the black girl there had her arm taken off by a shell. For the first time I quailed. I do not think people who are physically brave deserve much credit for it; it is a matter of nerves. In this way I am constitutionally brave, and seldom think of danger till it is over; and death has not the terrors for me it has for some others. Every night I had lain down expecting death, and every morning rose to the same prospect, without being unnerved. It was for H. I trembled. But now I first seemed to realize that something worse than death might come; I might be crippled, and not killed. Life, without all one’s powers and limbs, was a thought that broke down my courage. I said to H., “You must get me out of this horrible place; I cannot stay; I know I shall be crippled.” Now the regret comes that I lost control, for H. is worried, and has lost his composure, because my coolness has broken down.
______Note: To protect Mrs. Miller’s job as a teacher in New Orleans, the diary was published anonymously, edited by G. W. Cable, names were changed and initials were often used instead of full names — and even the initials differed from the real person’s initials.