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

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Wild Times in Mississippi

November 15, 2012

War Diary of a Union Woman in the South by Dora Richards Miller

Nov. 15, 1862.—Yesterday a letter was handed me from H. Grant’s army was moving, he wrote, steadily down the Mississippi Central and might cut the road at Jackson. He has a house and will meet me in Jackson to-morrow.

When Bessie J. and I went in to dinner to-day, a stranger was sitting by Mr. W.; a dark, heavy-looking man who said but little. I excused myself to finish packing. Presently Bessie rushed upstairs flushed and angry.

“I shall give Mr. W. a piece of my mind. He must have taken leave of his senses!”

“What is the matter, Bessie?”

“Why, G., don’t you know whom you’ve been sitting at table with?”

“That stranger, you mean; I suppose Mr. W. forgot to introduce him.”

“Forgot! He knew better than to introduce him! That man is a nigger-chaser. He’s got his bloodhounds here now.”

“Did you see the dogs?”

“No, I asked Hester if he had them, and she said, ‘Yes.’ Think of Mr. W. bringing him to table with us. If my brothers knew it there would be a row.”

“Where are your brothers? At college still?”

“No, in the army; Pa told them they’d have to come and fight to save their property. His men cost him twelve to fifteen hundred dollars apiece and are too valuable to lose.”

“Well, I wouldn’t worry about this man, he may be useful some day to save that kind of property.”

“Of course, you can take it easily, you’re going away; but if Mr. W. thinks I’m going to sit at table with that wretch he’s vastly mistaken.”


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.

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