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Frightful contrasts.

The condition of the Allan household was that of all Richmond. Sometimes the contrasts that occurred in these social gayeties in Richmond were frightful, ghastly. A brilliant, handsome, happy, joyous young officer, full of hope and promise, would dance with a lovely girl, return to his command; a few days would elapse, another starvation party would occur; the officer would be missed, he would be asked for, and the reply came, ‘Killed in battle;’ and frequently the same girls with whom he had danced a few nights before would attend his funeral from one of the churches of Richmond. Can life have any more terrible antithesis than this?

A Georgia lady was once remonstrating with General Sherman against the conduct of some of his men, when she said: ‘General, this is barbarity,’ and General Sherman, who was famous for his pregnant epigrams, replied: ‘Madam, war is barbarity.’ And so it is.

On one occasion when I was attending a starvation party in Richmond the dancing was at its height and everybody was bright and happy, when the hostess, who was a widow, was suddenly called out of the room. A hush fell on everything, the dancing stopped, and every one became sad, all having a premonition in those troublous times that something fearful had happened. We were soon told that her son had been killed late that evening in a skirmish in front of Richmond, a few miles from his home.

Wounded and sick men and officers were constantly brought into the homes of the people of Richmond to be taken care of, and every home had in it a sick or wounded Confederate soldier. From the association thus brought about many a love affair occurred and many a marriage resulted. I know of several wives and mothers in the South who lost their hearts and won their soldier husbands in this way, so this phase of life during the war near Richmond was prolific of romance.

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