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[193] Mobile. The enemy were pressing the siege at Spanish Fort, across the Bay the booming of cannon being heard above all the noise of the city.

I was attending service at Trinity Church, Mobile, for while the men were fighting we women were praying. As the services were proceeding, the roar of cannon being heard above the voice of the aged clergyman, we heard the muffled tread of men coming down the aisle, when, looking up, I saw four soldiers, in their worn and faded gray, bearing on their shoulders a rude pine coffin, which contained the remains of a comrade who had fallen that day at Spanish Fort. Slowly and sadly they placed the coffin before the chancel, they remaining standing reverently without a word. The clergyman began with the burial service. None of us knew for whom those prayers were said, but we knew that he was the father or husband, or son, or brother, or lover of some Southern woman.

We had no tribute to pay but tears. The services over the burial squad bore their precious burden from the church. They were passing by the church and swung the door open and services going on, they went in to have the last sad rites over their fallen comrade.

Some of us were slow to leave the church, for we knew it would be to return to lonely apartments. When I reached the door I saw one woman standing there-probably she saw in my face the same intense anxiety which I had seen in hers, for she said: ‘Oh, listen to those guns. All that I have in this world, my only boy, is there,’ and I said: ‘And my husband is there, too.’

It was my lot during those four years to hear the guns of three besieged cities—Vicksburg, Richmond and Mobile. I saw many partings on the eve of battle, but seldom did I see women weep when those farewells were taken—we parted with a smile upon our lips, but when night came our pillows would be wet with tears.

I have told you some things that I saw. I will tell you some things which I did not see. I saw no mother trying to keep her boys from going into battle. I saw no wife trying to persuade her husband not to go to the front. And I saw no woman who cried surrender. If you ask me to explain this, my answer is because we knew we were right, our cause was just, and now, once more, welcome, dear Daughters.

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Spanish Fort (Alabama, United States) (2)
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