A Confederate Girl’s Diary

Sunday, November 9th.

I hardly know how these last days have passed. I have an indistinct recollection of rides in cane-wagons to the most distant field, coming back perched on the top of the cane singing, “Dye my petticoats,” to the great amusement of the General who followed on horseback. Anna and Miriam, comfortably reposing in corners, were too busy to join in, as their whole time and attention were entirely devoted to the consumption of cane. It was only by singing rough impromptus on Mr. Harold and Captain Bradford that I roused them from their task long enough to join in a chorus of “ Forty Thousand Chinese.” I would not have changed my perch, four mules, and black driver, for Queen Victoria’s coach and six.

And to think old Abe wants to deprive us of all that fun! No more cotton, sugar-cane, or rice! No more old black aunties or uncles! No more rides in mule teams, no more songs in the cane-field, no more steaming kettles, no more black faces and shining teeth around the furnace fires! If Lincoln could spend the grinding season on a plantation, he would recall his proclamation. As it is, he has only proved himself a fool, without injuring us. Why, last evening I took old Wilson’s place at the bagasse shoot, and kept the rollers free from cane until I had thrown down enough to fill several carts, and had my hands as black as his. What cruelty to slaves! And black Frank thinks me cruel, too, when he meets me with a patronizing grin, and shows me the nicest vats of candy, and peels cane for me. Oh! very cruel! And so does Jules, when he wipes the handle of his paddle on his apron, to give “Mamselle” a chance to skim the kettles and learn how to work! Yes! and so do all the rest who meet us with a courtesy and “Howd’y, young Missus!” Last night we girls sat on the wood just in front of the furnace — rather Miriam and Anna did, while I sat in their laps — and with some twenty of all ages crowded around, we sang away to their great amusement. Poor oppressed devils! Why did you not chunk us with the burning logs instead of looking happy, and laughing like fools? Really, some good old Abolitionist is needed here, to tell them how miserable they are. Can’t Mass’ Abe spare a few to enlighten his brethren?

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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