A Confederate Girl’s Diary

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I was right in that prophecy. For this was not the Will Pinckney I saw last. So woebegone! so subdued, careworn, and sad! No trace of his once merry self. He is good-looking, which he never was before. But I would rather never have seen him than have found him so changed. I was talking to a ghost. His was a sad story. He had held one bank of the river until forced to retreat with his men, as their cartridges were exhausted, and General Lovell omitted sending more. They had to pass through swamps, wading seven and a half miles, up to their waists in water. He gained the edge of the swamp, saw they were over the worst, and fell senseless. Two of his men brought him milk, and “woke him up,” he said. His men fell from exhaustion, were lost, and died in the swamp; so that out of five hundred, but one hundred escaped. This he told quietly and sadly, looking so heartbroken that it was piteous to see such pain. He showed me his feet, with thick clumsy shoes which an old negro had pulled off to give him; for his were lost in the swamp, and he came out bare-footed. They reached the Lafourche River, I believe, seized a boat, and arrived here last night. His wife and child were aboard. Heaven knows how they got there! The men he sent on to Port Hudson, while he stopped here. I wanted to bring his wife to stay with us; but he said she could not bear to be seen, as she had run off just as she had happened to be at that moment. In half an hour he would be off to take her to his old home in a carriage. There he would rejoin his men, on the railroad, and march from Clinton to the Jackson road, and so on to Corinth. A long journey for men so disheartened! But they will conquer in the end. Beauregard’s army will increase rapidly at this rate. The whole country is aroused, and every man who owns a gun, and many who do not, are on the road to Corinth. We will conquer yet.

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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