“My dear aunt, what are you doing here?” “I came to look for you; where are you going?”—Diary of a Southern Refugee, Judith White McGuire.

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

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 of the hand, but the rest could only raise their hats in recognition. I knew the cavalry would pass through Franklin Street, and hurried there to see my dear W. B. N. The order “Halt” was given just as he, at the head of his troop, was passing. I called him aloud. Amid the din and tumult of course he could not hear, but as he raised his cap to salute the ladies near him, his quick eye met mine; in an instant he was at my side: “My dear aunt, what are you doing here?” “I came to look for you; where are you going?” “Our orders extend to the steamers at the wharf,” he replied; “but don’t be uneasy, we are going to the right place.” His face glowed with animation, and I meant to appear cheerful to him, but I found, after he was gone, that my face was bathed in tears. They all looked as if the world were bright before them, and we were feeling the appalling uncertainty of all things. A mother stood by, straining her weeping eyes for the parting glance at her first-born; and so many others turned their sad, weary steps homewards, as their dear ones passed from their sight.