27th.—The country is shrouded in gloom because of the fall of New Orleans! It was abandoned by General Lovell—necessarily, it is thought. Such an immense force was sent against the forts which protected it, that they could not be defended. The steamer Mississippi, which was nearly finished, had to be burnt. We hoped so much [...]
Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War by Judith White McGuire
21st.—The ladies are now engaged making sand-bags for the fortifications at Yorktown; every lecture-room in town crowded with them, sewing busily, hopefully, prayerfully. Thousands are wanted. No battle, but heavy skirmishing at Yorktown. Our friend, Colonel McKinney, has fallen at the head of a North Carolina regiment. Fredericksburg has been abandoned to the enemy. Troops [...]
20th.—On Wednesday we saw eight thousand troops pass through town. We were anxious to see many who were among them. The sidewalks were thronged with ladies, many of them in tears. General C. passed with his brigade, containing the 17th, with its familiar faces. Colonel H. and himself rode to the sidewalk for a shake [...]
15th.—A panic prevails lest the enemy should get to Richmond. Many persons are leaving town. I can't believe that they will get here, though it seems to be their end and aim. My mind is much perturbed; we can only go on doing our duty, as quietly as we can.
11th.—The "Virginia" went out again to-day. The Federal Monitor would not meet her, but ran to Fortress Monroe, either for protection, or to tempt her under the heavy guns of the fortress; but she contented herself by taking three brigs and one schooner, and carrying them to Norfolk, with their cargoes. Soldiers are constantly passing [...]
10th.—Spent yesterday in the hospital by the bedside of Nathan Newton, our little Alabamian. I closed his eyes last night at ten o'clock, after an illness of six weeks. His body, by his own request, will be sent to his mother. Poor little boy! He was but fifteen, and should never have left his home. [...]
9th.—Our victory at Shiloh complete, but General Albert Sydney Johnston was killed. The nation mourns him as one of our most accomplished officers. He fell while commanding in the thickest of the fight. It is an overwhelming loss to the Western army, and to the whole country. Beauregard pursued the enemy, but their General (Grant) [...]
April 7.—Just returned from a little trip to the country in time to hear the morning news of a splendid victory yesterday, at Shiloh. No particulars received. Skirmishing near Yorktown reported; nothing definite.
29th.—After much anxiety, more authentic information from the "Valley" received this morning. We gave them a good fight, but the field was left in the enemy's hand. Poor, noble Winchester, to what degradation is she brought! Our dear W. B. C. was shot through the hip; the wound painful, but not mortal; he was carried [...]
March 27.—This has been a day of uneasiness to us all. General Jackson has had a fight at Kernstown, near Winchester. No particulars, except that the enemy were repulsed, and our loss heavy. Many that are so dear to us are in that "Stonewall Brigade;" and another day of suspense must pass before we can [...]
24th.—Our people continue to make every effort to repel the foe, who, like the locusts of Egypt, overrun our land, carrying the bitterest enmity and desolation wherever they go. Troops are passing through Richmond on their way to Goldsborough, N. C, where it is said that Burnside is expected to meet them. Everybody is busy [...]
Monday Night.—This morning I was at the funeral, at St. Paul's Church; the service was read by the Rev. J. P. McGuire and Rev. C. J. Gibson. Bishop Johns made a most solemn address. The procession, long and sad, then wended its way to Hollywood Cemetery.
15th.—Our army has fallen back to the Rappahannock, thus giving up the splendid Valley and Piedmont country to the enemy. This, I suppose, is right, but it almost breaks our hearts to think of it. Winchester was occupied last Wednesday! Lord, how long shall our enemies prosper? Give us grace to bear our trials.
Saturday Night.—Spent to-day at the hospital. Heard of the shelling of Newbern, N. C., and of its fall. My heart sickens at every acquisition of the Federals. No further news from Arkansas. Yesterday evening I went to see the body of our dear Bishop; cut a piece of his hair; kissed his forehead, and took [...]
March 14th.—Our beloved Bishop Meade is dead! His spirit returned to the God who gave, redeemed, and sanctified it, this morning about seven o'clock. The Church in Virginia mourns in sackcloth for her great earthly head. We knew that he must die, but this morning, when we had assembled for early prayers, it was announced [...]
13th.—Our hearts are overwhelmed to-day with our private grief. Our connection, Gen. James McIntosh, has fallen in battle. It was at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on the 7th, while making a dashing cavalry charge. He had made one in which he was entirely successful, but seeing the enemy reforming, he exclaimed, "We must charge again. My [...]
March 11th.—Yesterday we heard good news from the mouth of James River. The ship "Virginia," formerly the Merrimac, having been completely incased with iron, steamed out into Hampton Roads, ran into the Federal vessel Cumberland, and then destroyed the Congress, and ran the Minnesota ashore. Others were damaged. We have heard nothing further; but this [...]
8th.—The family of Captain _____, of the navy, just arrived. They have been "refugeeing" in Warrenton; but now that there is danger of our army falling back from the Potomac to the Rappahannock, they must leave Warrenton, and are on their way to Danville. Their sweet home is utterly destroyed; the house burned, etc. Like [...]
7th.—Just returned from the hospital. Several severe cases of typhoid fever require constant attention. Our little Alabamian seems better, but so weak! I left them for a few moments to go to see Bishop Meade; he sent for me to his room. I was glad to see him looking better, and quite cheerful. Bishops Wilmer [...]
6th.—To-day we saw Bishop Wilmer consecrated— Bishop Meade presiding, Bishops Johns and Elliott assisting. The services were very imposing, but the congregation was grieved by the appearance of Bishop Meade; he is so feeble! As he came down the aisle, when the consecration services were about to commence, every eye was fixed on him; it [...]
Ash-Wednesday, March 5.—This morning Dr. Wilmer gave us a delightful sermon at St. Paul's. He will be consecrated to-morrow Bishop of Alabama. To-night Bishop Elliott of Georgia preached for us, on the power of thought for good or evil. I do admire him so much in every respect.
4th.—In statu quo as far as our armies are concerned. The Nashville, a Confederate steamer, that has been watched by eight Federal war vessels, came into port the other day, at Beaufort, North Carolina, after many hairbreadth escapes, bringing a rich burden.
March 3.—Last Friday was the third day appointed by our President as a day of fasting and prayer within nine months. The churches were filled to overflowing, with, I trust, heart-worshippers, and I believe that God, in his great mercy, will direct our Government and our army.
27th.—Nothing new or important in our army. We were relieved to hear that the number who surrendered at Donelson was not so great as at first reported; the true number is 7,000, which is too many for us to lose! I trust they may be kindly treated. I know that we have friends at the [...]
23d.—Notwithstanding the violence of the rain yesterday, the Capitol Square, the streets around it, and the adjacent houses, were crowded. The President stood at the base of that noble equestrian statue of Washington, and took the oath which was taken by the "Father of his Country" more than seventy years ago—just after the "great rebellion," [...]