A Confederate Girl’s Diary

Sarah Morgan. X.

September 26th, Friday.

My mark finds me at Linwood, though I had not the slightest idea that it would. Wonder where twenty pages beyond will find me? At home, I hope and pray, though I am as happy here as I could possibly be in any place on earth.

Stirring news from our armies comes pouring in. Sunday, Colonel Breaux told me of Wool’s defeat, and the great number of prisoners, cannon, and the large supplies of stores and ammunition that we had captured. Then Tuesday we heard of three great battles in Maryland, the third one still continuing; but no particulars of any of them. Yesterday came tidings of our having recrossed the Potomac, and to-day we hear that McClellan’s army has been cut to pieces; but whether it is the same old fight or a new one, I cannot as yet learn; for reliable information is not easily obtained in America at this period.

Did I ever record how little truth there was in any of that last Clinton news? It speaks for itself, though. Not a boat lay at Baton Rouge; Camp Moore was not even threatened; Ponchatoula Station was burned, but the one battery was retaken by our men the same night.

But still these false reports cannot equal the Yankees’. Take, for instance, the report of the Captain of the Essex. I give General Carter as my authority. The Captain reports having been fired on by a battery of thirty-six large guns, at Port Hudson, some weeks ago, when he opened fire and silenced them, one after the other, from the first to the last. Not a shot from the “rebel” batteries reached them, and not a casualty on their side occurred. But the loss of the Confederates must have been awful. He came within — I forget how many — yards from the shore, and there was not a live man to be seen. He did not mention if there were any dead ones! Now for the other side. There were but four guns mounted there at the time. Shot and shell from those four certainly reached something, for one was seen to enter a porthole, from whence issued frightful shrieks soon after, and it is well known that the Essex is so badly injured by “something” as to be in a sinking condition, and only kept afloat by a gunboat lashed on either side. If she is uninjured, why did she not return and burn Natchez as she announced? In leaving Port Hudson, where “not a live man was to be seen” (nor a dead one to be found), she stopped at Mr. Babin’s, just below Dr. Nolan’s, where she remained the rest of the day. After she left, being curious to discover the reason of her short stay, Mr. Babin walked to the place where she had been, and discovered sixteen fresh graves on the bank. If they buried them as they did at Baton Rouge and Vicksburg, four in a grave, how many would they be? But granting there were but sixteen, would that prove the veracity of the Captain? Poor man! Perhaps he is related to Pope, and cannot help himself.

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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