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Aug. 20.—Sitting in my easy chair to-day, looking out upon a grassy slope of the hill in the rear of this house, I have looked over this journal as if in a dream; for since the last date sickness and sorrow have been with me. I feel as if an angry wave had passed over me bearing away strength and treasure. For on one day there came to me from New Orleans the news of Mrs. B.’s death, a friend whom no tie of blood could have made nearer. The next day my beautiful boy ended his brief life of ten days and died in my arms. My own illness caused him to perish; the fatal cold in the cave was the last straw that broke down strength. The colonel’s sweet wife has come, and I do not lack now for womanly companionship. She says that with such a pre-natal experience perhaps death was the best for him. I try to think so, and to be glad that H. has not been ill, though I see the effects. This book is exhausted, and I wonder whether there will be more adventures by flood and field to cause me to begin another.

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July 23d, 1863.—We moved again two days ago.

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July 14th, 1863.—Moved yesterday into a house I call “Fair Rosamond’s bower” because it would take a clue of thread to go through it without getting lost. One room has five doors opening into the house, and no windows. The stairs are like ladders, and the colonel’s contraband valet won’t risk his neck taking down water, but pours it through the windows on people’s heads. We shan’t stay in it. Men are at work closing up the caves; they had become hiding-places for trash. Vicksburg is now like one vast hospital—every one is getting sick or is sick. My cook was taken to-day with bilious fever, and nothing but will keeps me up.

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July 7th, 1863.—I did not enjoy quiet long. First came Martha, who announced her intention of going to search for her sons, as she was free now. I was hardly able to stand since the severe cold taken in the cave that night, but she would not wait a day. A colored woman came in wanting a place, and said she had asked her mistress for wages and her mistress had turned her out. I was in no condition to stand upon ceremony then, and engaged her at once, but hear to-day that I am thoroughly pulled to pieces in Vicksburg circles; there is no more salvation for me. Next came two Federal officers and wanted rooms and board. To have some protection was a necessity; both armies were still in town, and for the past three days every Confederate soldier I see has a cracker in his hand. There is hardly any water in town, no prospect of rain, and the soldiers have emptied one cistern in the yard already and begun on the other. The colonel put a guard at the gate to limit the water given. Next came the owner of the house and said we must move; he wanted the house, but it was so big he’d just bring his family in; we could stay till we got one. They brought boarders with them too, and children. Men are at work all over the house shoveling up the plaster before repairing. Upstairs they are pouring it by bucketfuls through the windows. Colonel D. brought work for H. to help with from headquarters. Making out the paroles and copying them has taken so long they wanted help. I am surprised and mortified to find that two-thirds of all the men who have signed made their mark; they cannot write. I never thought there was so much ignorance in the South. One of the men at headquarters took a fancy to H. and presented him with a portfolio, that he said he had captured when the Confederates evacuated their headquarters at Jackson. It contained mostly family letters written in French, and a few official papers. Among them was the following note, Read more

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July 4th, 1863.—It is evening. All is still. Silence and night are once more united. I can sit at the table in the parlor and write. Two candles are lighted. I would like a dozen. We have had wheat supper and wheat bread once more. H. is leaning back in the rocking-chair; he says:

“G., it seems to me I can hear the silence, and feel it too. It wraps me like a soft garment; how else can I express this peace?”

But I must write the history of the last twenty-four hours. About five yesterday afternoon, Mr. J., H.’s assistant, who, having no wife to keep him in, dodges about at every change and brings us the news, came to H. and said:

“Mr. L., you must both come to our cave to-night. I hear that to-night the shelling is to surpass anything yet. An assault will be made in front and rear. You know we have a double cave; there is room for you in mine, and mother and sister will make a place for Mrs. L. Come right up; the ball will open about seven.”

We got ready, shut up the house, told Martha to go to the church again if she preferred it to the cellar, and walked up to Mr. J.’s. When supper was eaten, all secure, and the ladies in their cave night toilet, it was just six, and we crossed the street to the cave opposite. As I crossed a mighty shell flew screaming over my head. It was the last thrown into Vicksburg. We lay on our pallets waiting for the expected roar, but no sound came except the chatter from the neighboring caves, and at last we dropped asleep. I woke at dawn stiff. A draught from the funnel-shaped opening had been blowing on me all night. Every one was expressing surprise at the quiet. We started for home and met the editor of the “Daily Citizen.” H. said:

“This is strangely quiet, Mr. L.”

“Ah, sir,” shaking his head gloomily, “I’m afraid the last shell has been thrown into Vicksburg.”

“Why do you fear so?”

“It is surrender. At six last evening a man went down to the river and blew a truce signal; the shelling Read more

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July 3d, 1863.—H. was going to headquarters for the requisite pass, and he saw General Pemberton crawling out of a cave, for the shelling has been as hot as ever. He got the pass, but did not act with his usual caution, for the boat he secured was a miserable, leaky one—a mere trough. Leaving Martha in charge, we went to the river, had our trunks put in the boat, and embarked; but the boat became utterly unmanageable, and began to fill with water rapidly. H. saw that we could not cross it and turned to come back; yet in spite of that the pickets at the battery fired on us. H. raised the white flag he had, yet they fired again, and I gave a cry of horror that none of these dreadful things had wrung from me. I thought H. was struck. When we landed H. showed the pass, and said that the officer had told him the battery would be notified we were to cross. The officer apologized and said they were not notified. He furnished a cart to get us home, and to-day we are down in the cellar again, shells flying as thick as ever. Provisions are so nearly gone, except the hogshead of sugar, that a few more days will bring us to starvation indeed. Martha says rats are hanging dressed in the market for sale with mule meat,—there is nothing else. The officer at the battery told me he had eaten one yesterday. We have tried to leave this Tophet and failed, and if the siege continues I must summon that higher kind of courage—moral bravery—to subdue my fears of possible mutilation.

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July 1st, 1863.—Some months ago, thinking it might be useful, I obtained from the consul of my birthplace, by sending to another town, a passport for foreign parts. H. said if we went out to the lines we might be permitted to get through on that. So we packed the trunk, got a carriage, and on the 30th drove out there. General V. offered us seats in his tent. The rifle-bullets were whizzing so zip, zip from the sharp-shooters on the Federal lines that involuntarily I moved on my chair. He said, “Don’t be alarmed; you are out of range. They are firing at our mules yonder.” His horse, tied by the tent door, was quivering all over, the most intense exhibition of fear I’d ever seen in an animal. General V. sent out a flag of truce to the Federal headquarters, and while we waited wrote on a piece of silk paper a few words. Then he said, “My wife is in Tennessee. If you get through the lines, give her this. They will search you, so I will put it in this toothpick.” He crammed the silk paper into a quill toothpick, and handed it to H. It was completely concealed. The flag-of-truce officer came back flushed and angry. “General Grant says that no human being shall pass out of Vicksburg; but the lady may feel sure danger will soon be over. Vicksburg will surrender on the 4th.”

“Is that so, general?” inquired H. “Are arrangements for surrender made?”

“We know nothing of the kind. Vicksburg will not surrender.”

“Those were General Grant’s exact words, sir,” said the flag-officer. “Of course it is nothing but their brag.”

We went back sadly enough, but to-day H. says he will cross the river to General Porter’s lines and try there; I shall not be disappointed.

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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.

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June 21st, 1863.—I had gone upstairs to-day during the interregnum to enjoy a rest on my bed and read the reliable items in the “Citizen,” when a shell burst right outside the window in front of me. Pieces flew in, striking all round me, tearing down masses of plaster that came tumbling over me. When H. rushed in I was crawling out of the plaster, digging it out of my eyes and hair. When he picked up beside my pillow a piece as large as a saucer, I realized my narrow escape. The window-frame began to smoke, and we saw the house was on fire. H. ran for a hatchet and I for water, and we put it out. Another (shell) came crashing near, and I snatched up my comb and brush and ran down here. It has taken all the afternoon to get the plaster out of my hair, for my hands were rather shaky.

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June 20th.—The gentleman who took our cave came yesterday to invite us to come to it, because, he said, “it’s going to be very bad to-day.” I don’t know why he thought so. We went, and found his own and another family in it; sat outside and watched the shells till we concluded the cellar was as good a place as that hill-side. I fear the want of good food is breaking down H. I know from my own feelings of weakness, but mine is not an American constitution and has a recuperative power that his has not.

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June 18th.—To-day the “Citizen” is printed on wall paper; therefore has grown a little in size. It says, “But a few days more and Johnston will be here”; also that “Kirby Smith has driven Banks from Port Hudson,” and that “the enemy are throwing incendiary shells in.”

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June 13th, 1863.—Shell burst just over the roof this morning. Pieces tore through both floors down into the dining-room. The entire ceiling of that room fell in a mass. We had just left it. Every piece of crockery on the table was smashed. The “Daily Citizen” to-day is a foot and a half long and six inches wide. It has a long letter from a Federal officer, P. P. Hill, who was on the gun-boat Cincinnati, that was sunk May 27th. Says it was found in his floating trunk. The editorial says, “The utmost confidence is felt that we can maintain our position until succor comes from outside. The undaunted Johnston is at hand.”

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June 9th, 1863.—The churches are a great resort for those who have no caves. People fancy they are not shelled so much, and they are substantial and the pews good to sleep in. We had to leave this house last night, they were shelling our quarter so heavily. The night before, Martha forsook the cellar for a church. We went to H.’s office, which was com paratively quiet last night. H. carried the bank box; I the case of matches; Martha the blankets and pillows, keeping an eye on the shells. We slept on piles of old newspapers. In the streets the roar seems so much more confusing, I feel sure I shall run right into the way of a shell. They seem to have five different sounds from the second of throwing them to the hollow echo wandering among the hills, which sounds the most blood-curdling of all.

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June 7th, 1863. (In the cellar.)—I feel especially grateful that amid these horrors we have been spared that of suffering for water. The weather has been dry a long time, and we hear of others dipping up the water from ditches and mud-holes. This place has two large underground cisterns of good cool water, and every night in my subterranean dressing-room a tub of cold water is the nerve-calmer that sends me to sleep in spite of the roar. One cistern I had to give up to the soldiers, who swarm about like hungry animals seeking something to devour. Poor fellows! my heart bleeds for them. They have nothing but spoiled, greasy bacon, and bread made of musty pea-flour, and but little of that. The sick ones can’t bolt it. They come into the kitchen when Martha puts the pan of corn-bread in the stove, and beg for the bowl she has mixed it in. They shake up the scrapings with water, put in their bacon, and boil the mixture into a kind of soup, which is easier to swallow than pea-bread. When I happen in they look so ashamed of their poor clothes. I know we saved the lives of two by giving a few meals. To-day one crawled upon the gallery to lie in the breeze. He looked as if shells had lost their terrors for his dumb and famished misery. I’ve taught Martha to make first-rate corn-meal gruel, because I can eat meal easier that way than in hoe-cake, and I prepared him a saucerful, put milk and sugar and nutmeg—I’ve actually got a nutmeg. When he ate it the tears ran from his eyes. “Oh, madam, there was never anything so good! I shall get better.”

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Friday, June 5th, 1863. (In the cellar.)—Wednesday evening H. said he must take a little walk, and went while the shelling had stopped. He never leaves me alone long, and when an hour had passed without his return I grew anxious; and when two hours, and the shelling had grown terrific, I momentarily expected to see his mangled body. All sorts of horrors fill the mind now, and I am so desolate here; not a friend. When he came he said that passing a cave where there were no others near, he heard groans, and found a shell had struck above and caused the cave to fall in on the man within. He could not extricate him alone, and had to get help and dig him out. He was badly hurt, but not mortally. I felt fairly sick from the suspense.

Yesterday morning a note was brought H. from a bachelor uncle out in the trenches, saying he had been taken ill with fever, and could we receive him if he came? H. sent to tell him to come, and I arranged one of the parlors as a dressing-room for him, and laid a pallet that he could move back and forth to the cellar. He did not arrive, however. It is our custom in the evening to sit in the front room a little while in the dark, with matches and candles held ready in hand, and watch the shells, whose course at night is shown by the fuse. H. was at the window and suddenly sprang up, crying, “Run!”—”Where?”—”Back!”

I started through the back room, H. after me. I was just within the door when the crash came that threw me to the floor. It was the most appalling sensation I’d ever known. Worse than an earthquake, which I’ve also experienced. Shaken and deafened I picked myself up; H. had struck a light to find me. I lighted mine, and the smoke guided us to the parlor I had fixed for Uncle J. The candles were useless in the dense smoke, and it was many minutes before we could see. Then we found the entire side of the room torn out. The soldiers who had rushed in said, “This is an eighty-pound Parrott.” It had entered through the front and burst on the pallet-bed, which was in tatters; the toilet service and everything else in the room was smashed. The soldiers assisted H. to board up the break with planks to keep out prowlers, and we went to bed in the cellar as usual. This morning the yard is partially plowed by two shells that fell there in the night. I think this house, so large and prominent from the river, is perhaps mistaken for headquarters and specially shelled. As we descend at night to the lower regions, I think of the evening hymn that grandmother taught me when a child:

“Lord, keep us safe this night,
Secure from all our fears;
May angels guard us while we sleep,
Till morning light appears.”

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May 28th, 1863.—Since that day the regular siege has continued. We are utterly cut off from the world, surrounded by a circle of fire. The fiery shower of shells goes on day and night. H.’s occupation, of course, is gone, his office closed. Every man has to carry a pass in his pocket. People do nothing but eat what they can get, sleep when they can, and dodge the shells. There are three intervals when the shelling stops, either for the guns to cool or for the gunners’ meals, I suppose,—about eight in the morning, the same in the evening, and at noon. In that time we have both to prepare and eat ours. Clothing cannot be washed or anything else done. On the 19th and 22d, when the assaults were made on the lines, I watched the soldiers cooking on the green opposite. The half-spent balls coming all the way from those lines were flying so thick that they were obliged to dodge at every turn. At all the caves I could see from my high perch, people were sitting, eating their poor suppers at the cave doors, ready to plunge in again. As the first shell again flew they dived, and not a human being was visible. The sharp crackle of the musketry-firing was a strong contrast to the scream of the bombs. I think all the dogs and cats must be killed or starved, we don’t see any more pitiful animals prowling around…. The cellar is so damp and musty the bedding has to be carried out and laid in the sun every day, with the forecast that it may be demolished at any moment. The confinement is dreadful. To sit and listen as if waiting for death in a horrible manner would drive me insane. I don’t know what others do, but we read when I am not scribbling in this. H. borrowed somewhere a lot of Dickens’s novels, and we reread them by the dim light in the cellar. When the shelling abates H. goes to walk about a little or get the “Daily Citizen,” which is still issuing a tiny sheet at twenty-five and fifty cents a copy. It is, of course, but a rehash of speculations which amuses half an hour. To-day we heard while out that expert swimmers are crossing the Mississippi on logs at night to bring and carry news to Johnston. I am so tired of corn-bread, which I never liked, that I eat it with tears in my eyes. We are lucky to get a quart of milk daily from a family near who have a cow they hourly expect to be killed. I send five dollars to market each morning, and it buys a small piece of mule-meat. Rice and milk is my main food; I can’t eat the mule-meat. We boil the rice and eat it cold with milk for supper. Martha runs the gauntlet to buy the meat and milk once a day in a perfect terror. The shells seem to have many different names; I hear the soldiers say, “That’s a mortar-shell. There goes a Parrott. That’s a rifle-shell.” They are all equally terrible. A pair of chimney-swallows have built in the parlor chimney. The concussion of the house often sends down parts of their nest, which they patiently pick up and reascend with.

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May 17th, 1863.—Hardly was our scanty breakfast over this morning when a hurried ring drew us both to the door. Mr. J., one of H.’s assistants, stood there in high excitement.

“Well, Mr. L., they are upon us; the Yankees will be here by this evening.”

“What do you mean?”

“That Pemberton has been whipped at Baker’s Creek and Big Black, and his army are running back here as fast as they can come and the Yanks after them, in such numbers nothing can stop them. Hasn’t Pemberton acted like a fool?”

“He may not be the only one to blame,” replied H.

“They’re coming along the Big B. road, and my folks went down there to be safe, you know; now they’re right in it. I hear you can’t see the armies for the dust; never was anything else known like it. But I must go and try to bring my folks back here.”

What struck us both was the absence of that concern to be expected, and a sort of relief or suppressed pleasure. After twelve some worn-out-looking men sat down under the window.

“What is the news?” I inquired.

“Retreat, retreat!” they said, in broken English—they were Louisiana Acadians.

About 3 o’clock the rush began. I shall never forget that woful sight of a beaten, demoralized army that came rushing back,—humanity in the last throes of endurance. Wan, hollow-eyed, ragged, footsore, bloody, the men limped along unarmed, but followed by siege-guns, ambulances, gun-carriages, and wagons in aimless confusion. At twilight two or three bands on the court-house hill and other points began playing Dixie, Bonnie Blue Flag, and so on, and drums began to beat all about; I suppose they were rallying the scattered army.

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May 9th, 1863.—This morning the door-bell rang a startling peal. Martha being busy; I answered it. An orderly in gray stood with an official envelope in his hand.

“Who lives here?”

“Mr. L.”

Very imperiously—”Which Mr. L.?”

“Mr. H.L.”

“Is he here?”

“No.”

“Where can he be found?”

“At the office of Deputy——.”

“I’m not going there. This is an order from General Pemberton for you to move out of this house in two hours. He has selected it for headquarters. He will furnish you with wagons.”.

“Will he furnish another house also?”

“Of course not.”

“Has the owner been consulted?”

“He has not; that is of no consequence; it has been taken. Take this order.”

“I shall not take it, and I shall not move, as there is no place to move to but the street.” Read more

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Vicksburg, May 1st, 1863.—Ever since we were deprived of our cave, I had been dreading that H. would suggest sending me to the country, where his relatives live. As he could not leave his position and go also without being conscripted, and as I felt certain an army would get between us, it was no part of my plan to be obedient. A shell from one of the practicing mortars brought the point to an issue yesterday and settled it. Sitting at work as usual, listening to the distant sound of bursting shells, apparently aimed at the court-house, there suddenly came a nearer explosion; the house shook, and a tearing sound was followed by terrified screams from the kitchen. I rushed thither, but met in the hall the cook’s little girl America, bleeding from a wound in the forehead, and fairly dancing with fright and pain, while she uttered fearful yells. I stopped to examine the wound, and her mother bounded in, her black face ashy from terror. “Oh! Miss G., my child is killed and the kitchen tore up.” Seeing America was too lively to have been killed, I consoled Martha and hastened to the kitchen. Evidently a shell had exploded just outside, sending three or four pieces through. When order was restored I endeavored to impress on Martha’s mind the uselessness of such excitement. Looking round at the close of the lecture, there stood a group of Confederate soldiers laughing heartily at my sermon and the promising audience I had. They chimed in with a parting chorus:

“Yes, it’s no use hollerin’, old lady.”

“Oh! H.,” I exclaimed, as he entered soon after, “America is wounded.”

“That is no news; she has been wounded by traitors long ago.”

“Oh, this is real, living, little, black America. I am not talking in symbols. Here are the pieces of shell, the first bolt of the coming siege.”

“Now you see,” he replied, “that this house will be but paper to mortar-shells. You must go into the country.”

The argument was long, but when a woman is obstinate and eloquent, she generally conquers. I came off victorious, and we finished preparations for the siege to-day. Hiring a man to assist, we descended to the wine-cellar, where the Read more

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April 28th, 1863.—What shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothed? We have no prophet of the Lord at whose prayer the meal and oil will not waste. As to wardrobe, I have learned to darn like an artist. Making shoes is now another accomplishment. Mine were in tatters. H. came across a moth-eaten pair that he bought me, giving ten dollars, I think, and they fell into rags when I tried to wear them; but the soles were good, and that has helped me to shoes. A pair of old coat-sleeves—nothing is thrown away now—was in my trunk. I cut an exact pattern from my old shoes, laid it on the sleeves, and cut out thus good uppers and sewed them carefully; then soaked the soles and sewed the cloth to them. I am so proud of these home-made shoes that I think I’ll put them in a glass case when the war is over, as an heirloom. H. says he has come to have an abiding faith that everything he needs to wear will come out of that trunk while the war lasts. It is like a fairy-casket. I have but a dozen pins remaining, I gave so many away. Every time these are used they are straightened and kept from rust. All these curious labors are performed while the shells are leisurely screaming through the air; but as long as we are out of range we don’t worry. For many nights we have had but little sleep because the Federal gun-boats have been running past the batteries. The uproar when this is happening is phenomenal. The first night the thundering artillery burst the bars of sleep, we thought it an attack by the river. To get into garments and rush upstairs was the work of a moment. From the upper gallery we have a fine view of the river, and soon a red glare lit up the scene and showed a small boat towing two large barges, gliding by. The Confederates had set fire to a house near the bank. Another night, eight boats ran by, throwing a shower of shot, and two burning houses made the river clear as day. One of the batteries has a remarkable gun they call “Whistling Dick,” because of the screeching, whistling sound it gives, and certainly it does sound like a tortured thing. Added to all this is the indescribable Confederate yell, which is a soul-harrowing sound to hear. I have gained respect for the mechanism of the human ear, which stands it all without injury. The streets are seldom quiet at night; even the dragging about of cannon makes a din in these echoing gullies. The other night we were on the gallery till the last of the eight boats got by. Next day a friend said to H., “It was a wonder you didn’t have your heads taken off last night. I passed and saw them stretched over the gallery, and grape-shot were whizzing up the street just on a level with you.” The double roar of batteries and boats was so great, we never noticed the whizzing. Yesterday the Cincinnati attempted to go by in daylight, but was disabled and sunk. It was a pitiful sight; we could not see the finale, though we saw her rendered helpless.

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April 2d, 1863.—We have had to move, and have thus lost our cave. The owner of the house suddenly returned and notified us that he intended to bring his family back; didn’t think there’d be any siege. The cost of the cave could go for the rent. That means he has got tired of the Confederacy and means to stay here and thus get out of it. This house was the only one to be had. It was built by ex-Senator G., and is so large our tiny household is lost in it. We only use the lower floor. The bell is often rung by persons who take it for a hotel and come beseeching food at any price. To-day one came who would not be denied. “We do not keep a hotel, but would willingly feed hungry soldiers if we had the food.” “I have been traveling all night and am starving; will pay any price for just bread.” I went to the dining-room and found some biscuits, and set out two, with a large piece of corn-bread, a small piece of bacon, some nice sirup, and a pitcher of water. I locked the door of the safe and left him to enjoy his lunch. After he left I found he had broken open the safe and taken the remaining biscuits.

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March 20th.—The slow shelling of Vicksburg goes on all the time, and we have grown indifferent. It does not at present interrupt or interfere with daily avocations, but I suspect they are only getting the range of different points; and when they have them all complete, showers of shot will rain on us all at once. Non-combatants have been ordered to leave or prepare accordingly. Those who are to stay are having caves built. Cave-digging has become a regular business; prices range from twenty to fifty dollars, according to size of cave. Two diggers worked at ours a week and charged thirty dollars. It is well made in the hill that slopes just in the rear of the house, and well propped with thick posts, as they all are. It has a shelf, also, for holding a light or water. When we went in this evening and sat down, the earthy, suffocating feeling, as of a living tomb, was dreadful to me. I fear I shall risk death outside rather then melt in that dark furnace. The hills are so honeycombed with caves that the streets look like avenues in a cemetery. The hill called the Sky-parlor has become quite a fashionable resort for the few upper-circle families left here. Some officers are quartered there, and there is a band and a field-glass. Last evening we also climbed the hill to watch the shelling, but found the view not so good as on a quiet hill nearer home. Soon a lady began to talk to one of the officers: “It is such folly for them to waste their ammunition like that. How can they ever take a town that has such advantages for defense and protection as this? We’ll just burrow into these hills and let them batter away as hard as they please.”

“You are right, madam; and besides, when our women are so willing to brave death and endure discomfort, how can we ever be conquered?”

Soon she looked over with significant glances to where we stood, and began to talk at H.

“The only drawback,” she said, “are the contemptible men who are staying at home in comfort when they ought to be in the army if they had a spark of honor.”

I cannot repeat all, but it was the usual tirade. It is strange I have met no one yet who seems to comprehend an honest difference of opinion, and stranger yet that the ordinary rules of good breeding are now so entirely ignored. As the spring comes on one has the craving for fresh, green food that a monotonous diet produces. There was a bed of radishes and onions in the garden, that were a real blessing. An onion salad, dressed only with salt, vinegar, and pepper, seemed a dish fit for a king, but last night the soldiers quartered near made a raid on the garden and took them all.

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Feb. 25th, 1863.—A long gap in my journal, because H. has been ill unto death with typhoid fever. I nearly broke down from loss of sleep, there being no one to relieve me. It was terrible to be alone at night with a patient in delirium, and no one within call. To wake Martha was simply impossible. I got the best doctor here, but when convalescence began the question of food was a trial. I got with great difficulty two chickens. The doctor made the drug-store sell two of their six bottles of port; he said his patient’s life depended on it. An egg is a rare and precious thing. Meanwhile the Federal fleet has been gathering, has anchored at the bend, and shells are thrown in at intervals.

edited by G.W. Cable

January 7th, 1863.—I have had little to record recently, for we have lived to ourselves, not visiting or visited. Every one H. knows is absent, and I know no one. H. tells me of the added triumph since the repulse of Sherman in December, and the one paper published here shouts victory as much as its gradually diminishing size will allow. Paper is a serious want. There is a great demand for envelopes in the office where H. is. He found and bought a lot of thick and smooth colored paper, cut a tin pattern, and we have whiled away some long evenings making envelopes. I have put away a package of the best to look at when we are old. The books I brought from Arkansas have proved a treasure, but we can get no more. I went to the only book-store open; there were none but Mrs. Stowe’s “Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands.” The clerk said I could have that cheap, because he couldn’t sell her books, so I am reading it now. The monotony has only been broken by letters from friends here and there in the Confederacy. One of these letters tells of a Federal raid and says, “But the worst thing was, they would take every tooth-brush in the house, because we can’t buy any more; and one cavalry man put my sister’s new bonnet on his horse, and said ‘Get up, Jack,’ and her bonnet was gone.”

edited by G.W. Cable

No date is provided in the published text for this material from the book

We reached Vicksburg that night and went to H.’s room. Next morning the cook he had engaged arrived, and we moved into this house. Martha’s ignorance keeps me busy, and H. is kept close at his office.

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