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[5]

Preface.

This “Diary” sees the light unexpectedly. In its origin nothing of the sort was anticipated. During its progress the writer often said, “I am keeping this for the members of the family who are too young to remember these days.” Nothing was intended but a private record, into which friends and kindred might in coming years look with some pleasure. They will hear much of the War of Secession, and will take special interest in the thoughts and records of one of their own family who had passed through the wonderful scenes of this great revolution. Subsequent circumstances have led to its publication. Partial friends think that others might be interested by its pages. It was kept at points of great interest in connection with the men and events of the war. There was every opportunity, and certainly every intention, to keep a true record. Enormous as were the wrongs done us, yet we had no desire to do the slightest wrong to even the bitterest of our enemies. We refused not to do them justice; we were not unwilling to seek for them the mercy of Heaven; to extend to them the hand of Charity; to supply their wants when captured; to attend as far as possible to their sick, and dying, and dead; and asked for nothing from them but that they would leave our borders, [6] never to return. We could not forget the injury done to our country. If what we wrote indicates this, what is it but the voice of nature, which neither fear nor hope could repress? The ruin of the whole South! Where are the colours dark enough for that picture? With her rightful government overturned; her territory seized by lawless hands; her system of domestic labour suddenly broken up; her estates robbed; her fields desolated; her barns destroyed by fire; her temples profaned; her once joyous homes here and there silent as death; her old men and women going with sorrow to the grave, because their gallant sons are not; her fair and fainting daughters mourning for loved ones whom they girded for the fight, and saw again never more; her widows and orphans, whom sorrow may kill, if want does not starve them; her wounded, and scarred, and crippled, and suffering, with no rest for any save in the quiet graves at home, or in the vast cemeteries, where such hosts of her slaughtered children lie. How must we think or speak of all this? Let the coldest heart ever frozen by Northern interest or prejudice answer.

Shall this breach never be healed? Are there no able and patriotic men North and South--no men of God-fitted to achieve this work without further injury or shame to either party? This great revolution cannot be without God-without whom not a sparrow falls to the ground. If there be error or mischief, that is of man. With God “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” He sees the end from the beginning. His great “purposes run along the line of ages,” and, worked out as He ordains, produce good, and good only. For ages He has blessed the South with the fairest land, the purest social circle, the noblest race of men, and the happiest people, on [7] earth. Under a mysterious Providence, millions of the coloured race have been saved from the foulest paganism; millions mentally and morally elevated far above those of their native land, and multitudes saved in Christ forever. Is it God's purpose to break up this system? Who can believe that it was His will to do it by war and bloodshed? Or that turning this people loose without preparation, a rapid demoralization, idleness, poverty and vice should doom so many of them to misery, or send them so rapidly to the grave? In this transition state, must the earth remain uncultivated, and its fruits so lessened as to reduce all to comparative poverty, and threaten such numbers with actual starvation? Must a war of races come? Must a spirit of bitter hatred burn on between the sections of our unhappy country? Why not one of peace and forgiveness instead? Why not the healing balm of love? Why not the spirit of Christ, pervading all hearts, and binding up all wounds? God of love, hasten the day! We are verily in need of His gracious assistance. We have cried to Him through many a gloomy day. The days are dark and dreary still. The old South has passed away; her music is all dead; her harp hung where no mortal hand can sweep its chords again, and the very winds of Heaven can bring from it naught save a few wailing notes, sad enough to break every human heart.

Mourn
Her banished peace, her laurels torn;
Her sons, for valour long renowned,
Lie slaughtered on their native ground.
Her hospitable roofs no more
Invite the stranger to the door;
In smoky ruins sunk they lie,
The monuments of cruelty.

[8]

The following pages are, as intimated above, presented to the public more in compliance with the wishes of others than of the writer. She has no experience in matters of this sort, and claims nothing except what may be due to sincerity and truth. Her earnest prayer is, that what is erroneous may be forgiven her, and the whole result be agreeable and useful to her readers.

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