A Confederate Girl’s Diary

Tuesday, September 16th.

Yesterday Miriam determined to go to Linwood, and consequently I had a severe task of trunk-packing, one of my greatest delights, however. I hate to see any one pack loosely or in a slovenly manner. Perhaps that is the reason I never let any one do it if I am able to stand. This morning was appointed as our day for leaving, but I persuaded her to wait until to-morrow, in hope that either the General, or news from Virginia, would arrive this evening. Bless this village! It is the meanest place for news that I ever was in. Not a word can be gathered, except what is false or unfounded; and they are even tired of that, in the last few days.

Talk of Baton Rouge turning Yankee, as the report went here! Of the three or four there who took the oath, not one can be compared to some loyal citizens of this small burg. Why, I talked to two gentlemen yesterday who, if it were not for the disgrace and danger incurred by bearing the name, I should style Union men, and talked or rather listened to them, until my spirits were reduced to the lowest ebb. People were shocked at our daring to believe there lived gentlemen and Christians in the North —I mean those wild fanatics, who could only take in one idea at a time, and rarely divested their brains of that one to make room for a newer one, were shocked at our belief; but if they could converse with a few here, that I could point out, our gnat of common sense would be swallowed by this behemoth of heterodoxy.

This morning Mrs. Bar, Miss Bernard, and a Miss Mud came to town and surprised us by a most unexpected visit. They spent the day with us, and have just now driven off on their return home, through this drizzly, misting evening. A while ago a large cavalry company passed, at the corner, on their way from Port Hudson to Camp Moore, the report is. They raised their hats to us, seeing us at the gate, and we waved our handkerchiefs in return, each with a silent “God bless you,” I am sure.

As though to prove my charge unjust, news comes pouring in. Note we a few items, to see how many will prove false. First, we have taken Baltimore without firing a gun; Maryland has risen en masse to join our troops; Longstreet and Lee are marching on Washington from the rear; the Louisiana troops are ordered home to defend their own State — thank God! if it will only bring the boys back! Then comes tidings of nine gunboats at Baton Rouge; Ponchatoula on the railroad taken by Yankees; Camp Moore and three batteries, ditto. Not so cheering! If that is so, Clinton lies within reach, being thirty-five miles off.

Leaving much the most valuable portion of our clothing here, the Yankees will probably appropriate what little they spared us and leave us fairly destitute; for we take only summer clothes to Linwood. I have plenty of underclothes, but the other day, when I unpacked the large trunk from Dr. Enders’s, I found I had just two dresses for winter; a handsome blue silk I bought just two years ago last spring, and one heavy blue merino that does not fit me. What an outfit for winter! Miriam has two poplins and a black silk, and mother a wine-colored merino, only. But each of us is blessed with a warm cloak, and are correspondingly grateful. I was confident I had saved my green, dark blue, and brown silk dresses, but the Yankees saved them instead, for me, or their suffering sweethearts, rather. On the other hand, taking so many necessary articles to Linwood, the risk of losing them is the same. An attack on Port Hudson is apprehended, and if it falls, General Carter’s house will be decidedly unsafe from Yankee vengeance. The probability is that it will burn, as they have been daily expecting ever since the Yankees occupied Baton Rouge. The risk seems equal, either way. Go or stay, the danger seems the same. Shall we go, then, for variety, or die here of stagnation while waiting for the Yankees to make up their minds? I would rather be at neither place, just now; in fact I could hardly name the place I should like to be in now, unless it were Europe or the Sandwich Islands; but I love Linwood and its dear inhabitants, and under other circumstances should be only too happy to be there. I was regretting the other day that our life was now so monotonous; almost longed for the daily alarms we had when under Yankee rule in Baton Rouge. Stirring times are probably ahead.


A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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