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

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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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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.

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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 [...]

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