A Confederate Girl’s Diary

September 1st, Monday.

I woke up this morning and, to my great surprise, find that summer has already passed away, and that we have already entered the first month of fall. Where has the summer gone to? Since the taking of Fort Jackson, the days have gone by like a dream. I had hardly realized spring, when now I find it is autumn. I am content to let the time fly, though, as every day brings us nearer Peace — or something else.

How shockingly I write! Will I ever again have a desk or a table to write on? At present, my seat is a mattress, and my knee my desk; and that is about the only one I have had since the 2d of August. This is the dreariest day I have seen for some time. Outside, it has been raining since daybreak, and inside, no one feels especially bright or cheerful. I sometimes wish mother would carry out her threat and brave the occasional shellings at Baton Rouge. I would dare anything, to be at home again. I know that the Yankees have left us little besides the bare house; but I would be grateful for the mere shelter of the roof. I often fancy how we will miss little articles that we thought necessary to our comfort before, when we return. . . . And the shoes I paid five dollars for, and wore a single time? I am wishing I had them now that I am almost barefooted, and cannot find a pair in the whole country. . . . Would it not be curious, if one of these days while traveling in the North (if I ever travel again), I should find some well-loved object figuring in a strange house as a “trophy of the battle of Baton Rouge”? I should have to seek for them in some very low house, perhaps; respectable people had very little to do with such disgraceful work, I fancy. Suppose I should see father’s cigar-stand, for instance, or Miriam’s little statues? I wonder if the people would have the conscience to offer to return them? A young lady, passing by one of the pillaged houses, expressed her surprise at seeing an armoir full of women’s and children’s clothes being emptied, and the contents tied up in sheets. “What can you do with such things?” she asked a soldier who seemed more zealous than the rest. “Ain’t I got a wife and four children in the North?” was the answer. So we, who have hardly clothes enough for our own use, are stripped to supply Northerners!

One would think that I had no theme save the wreck of our house, if they read this. But I take it all out in here. I believe I must be made of wood, or some other tough material, not to feel it more. I sometimes ask myself if it is because I did not care for home, that I take it so quietly now. But I know that is not it. I was wild about it before I knew what had happened; since I learned all, few are the words that have escaped my lips concerning it. Perhaps it is because I have the satisfaction of knowing what all women crave for — the Worst. Indeed it is a consolation in such days as these when truth concerning either side is difficult to discover. The certainty of anything, fortune or misfortune, is comfort to me. I really feel sorry for the others who suffered; but it does not strike me that sympathy is necessary in our case.

Mrs. Flynn came to Lilly’s room, when she heard of it, well prepared for sympathy, with a large handkerchief and a profusion of tears, when she was horrified to find both her and Miriam laughing over the latter’s description of some comical scene that met her sight in one of the rooms. Seems to me that tears on all occasions come in as the fortieth article, to the articles of belief of some people.

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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