Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War by Judith White McGuire

9th.—We hear of a little cavalry fight at Orange Court-House, in which we drove off the enemy. General Pope continues to commit depredations in his district of operations. He seems to have taken Butler as his model, and even to exceed him in ferocity. Our President has just given most sensible orders for retaliation. The [...]

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August 5.—The papers of last night brought us no news, except that our troops are firing upon the enemy's gun-boats near Coggin's Point. The result not known. A battle between Jackson and Pope still imminent. Major Bailey made a brilliant cavalry raid a few days since upon the enemy in Nicholas County, in which he [...]

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July 29.—No army news. In this quiet nook mail-day is looked forward to with the greatest anxiety, and the newspapers are read with avidity from beginning to end— embracing Southern rumours, official statements, army telegrams, Yankee extravaganzas, and the various et caeteras. The sick and wounded in the various hospitals are subjects for thought and [...]

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28th.—The report of Hindman's having captured Curtis untrue; but our army is doing well in the West. Murfreesboro', in Tennessee, has been captured by Confederates—a brigade, two brigadiers, and other officers, taken. "Jack Morgan" is annoying and capturing the Kentucky Yankees. The true Southerners there must endure an almost unbearable thraldom! A long letter from [...]

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21st.—Mr. _____ sick, but better to-day. This is the anniversary of the glorious battle of Manassas. Since that time we have had many reverses, but our victories, of late, have atoned for all, except the loss of life. We have had another naval fight on the Mississippi, just north of Vicksburg. Our large gun-boat, Arkansas, [...]

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Mecklenburg County, July 15.—Mr. _____ and myself summoned here a short time ago to see our daughter, who was very ill. Found her better—she is still improving. Richmond is disenthralled—the only Yankees there are in the "Libby" and other prisons. McClellan and his "Grand Army," on James River, near Westover, enjoying mosquitoes and bilious fevers. [...]

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June 30.—McClellan certainly retreating. We begin to breathe more freely; but he fights as he goes. Oh, that he may be surrounded before he gets to his gun-boats! Rumours are flying about that he is surrounded; but we do not believe it—only hope that he may be before he reaches the river. The city is [...]

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28th.—The casualties among our friends, so far, not very numerous. My dear R. T. C. is here, slightly wounded; he hopes to return to his command in a few days. Colonel Allen, of the Second Virginia, killed. Major Jones, of the same regiment, desperately wounded. Wood McDonald killed. But what touches me most nearly is [...]

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15th.—General Stuart has just returned to camp after a most wonderful and successful raid. He left Richmond two or three days ago with a portion of his command; went to Hanover Court-House, where he found a body of the enemy; repulsed them, killing and wounding several, and losing one gallant man, Captain Latane, of the [...]

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June 12.—We are more successful in Virginia than elsewhere. The whole Mississippi River, except Vicksburg and its environs, is now in the hands of the enemy, and that place must surrender, though it holds out most nobly, amidst the most inveterate efforts to take it. Memphis has fallen! How my spirit chafes and grieves over [...]

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9th, Night.—General Jackson is performing prodigies of valor in the Valley; he has met the forces of Fremont and Shields, and whipped them in detail. They fought at Cross Keys and Port Republic yesterday and to-day. I must preserve his last dispatch, it is so characteristic: "Through God's blessing, the enemy, near Port Republic, was [...]

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2d.—The battle continued yesterday near the field of the day before. We gained the day! For this victory we are most thankful. The enemy were repulsed with fearful loss; but our loss was great. The wounded were brought until a late hour last night, and to-day the hospitals have been crowded with ladies, offering their [...]

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13th.—General Jackson is doing so gloriously in the Valley that we must not let the fate of the "Virginia" depress us too much. On the 9th of May he telegraphed to General Cooper: "God blessed our arms with victory at McDowell yesterday." Nothing more has been given us officially, but private information is received that [...]

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12th.—Just returned from a visit to S. H. The family full of patriotism and very bright. While there, dear W's horse and servant came home. His family bore it well, considering imprisonment the least casualty that could have befallen him. If Richmond is invested, that beautiful country will be in the hands of the enemy; [...]

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7th.—Our "peaceful" Sabbath here was one of fearful strife at Williamsburg. We met and whipped the enemy Oh, that we could drive them from our land forever! Much blood spilt on both sides; our dear W. B. N. is reported "missing"—oh, that heart-sinking word! How short a time since that blessed glimpse of his bright [...]

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3d.—It is distressing to see how many persons are leaving Richmond, apprehending that it is in danger; but it will not—I know it will not—fall. It is said that the President does not fear; he will send his family away, because he thinks it is better for men, on whom the country's weal is so [...]

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May 2d.—The morning papers contain a most spirited letter by the Mayor of New Orleans, in reply to the Federal commander who demanded the surrender of the city, and that the Confederate flag should be taken down. He refuses to do either, telling him that the city is his by brute force, but he will [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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