January 1st, 1865.
At St. James's Church this morning.
Our children came over from Union Hill
yesterday, to take their dinner from the contents of the captured box, and were detained by snow and rain.
We were too much pleased to have them with us not to make it convenient
to accommodate them, which we did with the assistance of our kind friend Mrs
. P. To-morrow F. and myself will return to our offices, after a good rest, for which we are very thankful.
January 2d, 1865.
This bitter cold morning, when we entered the office, we found that our good “Major
” had provided us a New Year's treat of hot coffee.
Of course we all enjoyed it highly, and were very grateful to him; and when I returned home, the first thing that met my eye was a box sent from the express office.
We opened it, and found it a Christmas box, filled with nice and substantial things from a friend now staying in Buckingham County
, for whom I once had an opportunity of doing some trifling kindness.
is certainly taking care of us through His people.
The refugees in some of the villages are much worse off than we are. We hear amusing stories of a friend in an inland place, where nothing can possibly be bought, hiring a skilletfrom a servantfor one dollar
per month, and other cooking utensils, which are absolutely necessary, at the same rate; another in the same village, whose health seems to require that she should drink something hot
has been obliged to resort to hot water
, as she has neither tea, coffee, sugar, nor milk.
These ladies belong to wealthy Virginia
Many persons have no meat on their tables for months at a time; and they are the real patriots, who submit patiently, and without murmuring, to any privation, provided the country is doing well.
The flesh-pots of Egypt
have no charms for them; they look forward hopefully to the time when their country shall be disenthralled, never caring for the trials of the past or the present, provided they can hope for the future.
January 8th, 1865.
Some persons in this beleaguered city seem crazed on the subject of gayety.
In the midst of the wounded and dying, the low state of the commissariat, the anxiety of the whole country, the troubles of every kind by which we are surrounded, I am mortified to say that there are gay parties given in the city.
There are those denominated “starvation parties,” where young persons meet for innocent enjoyment, and retire at a reasonable hour; but there are others where the most elegant suppers are servedcakes, jellies, ices in profusion, and meats of the finest kinds in abundance, such as might furnish a meal for a regiment of General Lee
I wish these things were not so, and that every extra pound of meat could be sent to the army.
When returning from the hospital, after witnessing the dying scene of a brother, whose young sister hung over him in agony, with my heart full of the sorrows of hospital-life, I passed a house where there were music and dancing.
The revulsion of feeling was sickening.
I thought of the gayety of Paris
during the French Revolution
, of the “cholera ball” in Paris
, the ball at Brussels
the night before the battle of Waterloo
, and felt shocked that our own Virginians
, at such a time, should remind me of scenes which
we were wont to think only belonged to the lightness of foreign society.
It seems to me that the army, when it hears of the gayety of Richmond
, must think it heartless, particularly while it is suffering such hardships in her defence.
The weddings, of which there are many, seem to be conducted with great quietness.
We were all very much interested in a marriage which took place in this house a short time ago. Our sweet young friend, Miss
A. P., was married to a Confederate States
' surgeon from South Carolina
We assembled in the parlour, which was brilliantly lighted, before the dawn of day. The bride appeared in travelling costume; as soon as the solemn ceremony was done the folding-doors were thrown open, revealing a beautifully spread breakfast-table in the adjoining room.
Breakfast being over, the bride and groom were hurried off to the cars, which were to bear them South.
But, as usual in these war-times, the honeymoon was not to be uninterrupted.
The furlough of the groom was of short continuance-the bright young bride will remain in the country with a sister, while he returns to his duty on the field.
As soon as the wedding was over and the bridal party had gone, the excitement of the week had passed with us, leaving a blank in the house; but the times are too unquiet for a long calm-the gap was closed, and we returned to busy life.
There seems to be a perfect mania on the subject of matrimony.
Some of the churches may be seen open and lighted almost every night for bridals, and wherever I turn I hear of marriages in prospect.
In peace Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war he mounts the warrior's steed,
sings the “Last Minstrel” of the Scottish days of romance; and I do not think that our modern warriors are a whit
behind them either in love or war. My only wonder is, that they find the time for the love-making amid the storms of warfare.
Just at this time, however, I suppose our valiant knights and ladies fair are taking advantage of the short respite, caused by the alternate snows and sunshine of our variable climate having made the roads impassable to Grant
's artillery and baggage-wagons.
A soldier in our hospital called to me as I passed his bed the other day, “I say, Mrs.
-- , when do you think my wound will be well enough for me to go to the country?”
“Before very long, I hope.”
“But what does the doctor say, for I am mighty anxious to go?”
I looked at his disabled limb, and talked to him hopefully of his being able to enjoy country air in a short time.
“Well, try to get me up, for, you see, it ain't the country air I am after, but I wants to get married, and the lady don't know that I am wounded, and maybe she'll think I don't want to come.”
“Ah,” said I, “but you must show her your scars, and if she is a girl worth having she will love you all the better for having bled for your country; and you must tell her that
It is always the heart that is bravest in war,
That is fondest and truest in love.
” He looked perfectly delighted with the idea; and as I passed him again he called out, “Lady
, please stop a minute and tell me the verse over again, for, you see, when I do get there, if she is affronted, I wants to give her the prettiest excuse I can, and I think that verse is beautiful.”
January 11th, 1865.
Every thing seems unchanging in the outer world during the few past days.
We were most delightfully surprised last night.
While sitting quietly in the Colonel
's room, (in the basement,) the window was suddenly
thrown up, and in sprang our son J., just returned from Northern captivity.
Finding that we had changed our quarters since he was here, he walked up the street in search of us, and while stopping to ascertain the right house, he espied us through the half-open window shutter, and was too impatient for the preliminaries of ringing a bell and waiting for a servant to open the door.
He was in exuberant spirits, but much disappointed that his wife was not with us. So, after a short sojourn and a cup of tea, he went off to join her on “Union Hill
They both dined with us to-day.
His confinement has not been so bad as we feared, from the treatment which many other prisoners had received, but it was disagreeable enough.
He was among the surgeons in Winchester
in charge of the sick and wounded; and when we retreated before Sheridan
after the battle of the 19th of August, it fell to his lot, among eighteen or twenty other surgeons, to be left there to take care of our captured wounded.
When those duties were at an end, instead of sending them under flag of truce to our own army, they were taken first to the old Capitol
, where they remained ten days, thence to Fort Delaware
, for one night, and thence to Fort Hamilton
, near Fortress Monroe
, where they were detained four weeks. They there met with much kindness from Southern ladies, and also from a Federal officer, Captain Blake
January 16th, 1865.
has fallen; Wilmington
will of course follow.
This was our last port into which blockade-runners were successful in entering, and which furnished us with an immense amount of stores.
What will be the effect of this disaster we know not; we can only hope and pray.
January 21st, 1865.
We hear nothing cheering except in the proceedings
of Congress and the Virginia Legislature, particularly the latter.
Both bodies look to stern resistance to Federal authority.
The city and country are full of rumours and evil surmising; and while we do not believe one word of the croaking, it makes us feel restless and unhappy.
January 29th, 1865, Sunday.
As usual, we attended Mr. Peterki
's church, and enjoyed his sermon.
Every thing looks so dark without that our only comfort is in looking to God for His blessing.
The Union Prayer-Meetings are great comforts to us. They are attended by crowds; ministers of all denominations officiate at them.
Prayers for the country, hymns of praise, and exhortations, fill up the time.
Some of the addresses are very stirring, urging the laity to work and to give, and to every branch of the Christian Church to do its duty to the country.
Our brave old Bishop Meade
, on his dying bed, admonished one of his presbyters to speak boldly to the people in behalf of the country; and I am glad to hear the ministers do it. They speak cheerfully, too, on the subject; they are sanguine of our success, depending upon the Lord
and on the bravery of our troops --on the “sword of the Lord
and of Gideon.”
February 8, 1865.
I feel more and more anxious about Richmond
I can't believe that it will be given up; yet so many persons are doubtful that it makes me very unhappy.
I can't keep a regular diary now, because I do not like to write all that I feel and hear.
I am constantly expecting the blessing of God in a way that we know not. I believe that all of our difficulties are to be overruled for good.
A croaker accuses me of expecting a miracle to be wrought in our favour, which I do not; but we have been so often led on in a manner so wonderful, that we have no right to doubt the
mercy of God towards us. Our troops, too, are standing up under such hardships and trials, which require the most sublime moral as well as personal courage to endure, that I cannot avoid expecting a blessing upon them!
moves on in his desolating path.
Oh for men to oppose and crush him!
In the midst of our trials, Hymen
still comes in to assert his claims, and to amuse and interest us. We have lately seen our beautiful young friend, M. G., led to his altar; and two of our young office associates are bidding us farewell for the same sacrifice
. One of them, Miss
T. W., has sat by my side for more than a year, with her bright face and sweet manners.
She will be a real loss to me, but I cannot find it in my heart to regret that she will bless with her sweetness one of our brave Confederate officers.
February 28th, 1865.
Our new Commissary-General
is giving us brighter hopes for Richmond
by his energy.
Not a stone is left unturned to collect all the provisions from the country.
of the Gospel and others have gone out to the various county towns and court-houses, to urge the people to send in every extra bushel of corn or pound of meat for the army.
The people only want enlightening on the subject; it is no want of patriotism which makes them keep any portion of their provisions.
Circulars are sent out to the various civil and military officers in all disenthralled counties in the State
when compared with the whole, are very few,--to ask for their superfluities.
All will answer promptly, I know, and generously.
Since I last wrote in my diary, our Essex
friends have again most liberally replenished our larder just as they did
this time last year — if possible, more generously.
March 10, 1865.
Still we go on as heretofore, hoping and praying that Richmond
may be safe.
Before Mr. Hunter
R. M. T.) left Richmond
, I watched his countenance whenever I heard the subject mentioned before him, and though he said nothing, I thought he looked sad. I know that he understands the situation of affairs perfectly, and I may have fancied the sad look, but I think not; and whenever it arises before my mind's eye, it makes me unhappy.
I imagine, too, from a conversation which I had with Mr. Secretary Mallory
, that he fears much for Richmond
Though it was an unexpressed opinion, yet I fear that I understood it rightly.
I know that we ought to feel that whatever General Lee
and the President
deem right for the cause must be right, and that we should be satisfied that all will be well; but it would almost break my heart to see this dear old city, with its hallowed associations, given over to the Federals
Fearful orders have been given in the offices to keep the papers packed, except such as we are working on. The packed boxes remain in the front room, as if uncertainty still existed about moving them.
As we walk in every morning, all eyes are turned to the boxes to see if any have been removed, and we breathe more freely when we find them still there.
To-day I have spent in the hospital, and was very much interested in our old Irishman.
He has been there for more than two years; first as a patient sent from Drury's Bluff, with ague and fever.
Though apparently long past the military age, he had enlisted as a soldier in a Georgia regiment, but it was soon discovered that he was physically unable to stand camp-life; he was therefore
detailed to work in the gardens, which supplied the soldiers at the Bluff
He got well, and returned to his post, but was soon sent back again, too sick for service.
The climate did not suit him, and when he again recovered Miss
T. employed him as gardener and marketman to her hospital.
We all became interested in him, because of his quiet, subdued manner, faithfulness to his duty, and respectful bearing.
Some months ago his health began to decline, and day after day he has been watched and cared for by the surgeon and ladies with deep interest; but he steadily declines in strength, and is now confined to his cot, and it is but too evident that his end is approaching.
We had all remarked that he never alluded to his early history, and was singularly reserved with regard to his religious faith; yet, as long as he was able to go out, he might be seen every Sunday seated alone in a corner of the gallery of St. James's Church.
This evening, as I was walking around the room in which he lies, and had just administered to him some nourishment, he said to me : “When you get through with the men won't you come back and let me talk to ye?”
When I returned and took my seat by him, he looked earnestly in my face, and said : “Mrs.
--, you have an Irish name — have you friends there?”
“No, my husband's grandfather was from Ireland
, but we have no relatives there now.”
“Yes,” was his reply, “it is a good name in Ireland
, and you have been kind to me, and I want to talk to you a bit before I die. You know that I am a Protestant, and I have been constantly to Mr Peterkin
's church since I came here, because I like the church, and I like him; and I hope that now I am prepared to die. But I was not brought up an Episcopalian in the old country-our house was divided, like.
My father was a Catholic, and my mother was a Presbyterian; neither went to the church of the other, but they were a loving couple for all that.
He said to her, when we were but wee things: ‘Mary,’ said he, ‘the children must go to your church sometimes, and to mine sometimes; you may teach them the Bible
; but when they are old enough, they must judge for themselves.’
And so it was; we were obliged every Sunday to go to one church or the other, but we determined for ourselves.
I most always went with mother, because she was so good and gentle, and I loved her so much.
We grew up a cheerful, happy family.
My father was a gardener, three-quarters of a mile from Londonderry
; he had a good little farm, and sold his fruit and vegetables in Derry
, and had made a great deal of money; and we had a good house, and were so comfortable.
We all went to school, and kept on so until I, the eldest child, was grown.
In the neighbourhood was a man that my father hated.
Oh, how he hated that man!
But I loved that man's daughter ; with my whole heart I loved that girl.”
Here his voice became excited, his eyes were suffused with tears, and his emaciated, pock-marked face almost glowed with animation.
The room had become still; the sick and wounded and visitors to the room were all listening with deep attention to the old man's story.
“I knew,” he continued, “that my father would see me dead before he would agree to my marrying into that family, and he was a stern man, and I was afraid to let him know; and I tried to get over my love ; but I saw her whenever I went to church, and at last I told her that I loved her, and she said she would marry me, and then, Mrs.
--,” he said with energy, “no mortal man could have made me give her up. After
awhile my father said to me, ‘Johnny,’ said he, ‘ you are of age, and must work for yourself now; I will give you ten acres of my farm; begin early in spring, break it up, and make a garden; in a few years you will be an independent man.’
Said I, ‘Father, may I put a house on it?’
‘No, my son; when I die you will have this house; can't you live now with your mother and me?’
‘ But, father,’ said I, ‘ suppose I get married, where can I live then?’
‘If I like the match,’ said he, ‘ you may live here.’
I said no more then, but I saw Mary Dare, (he added, in a subdued voice, ‘her name was Mary Dare’ ) and I told her I would try my father again, and if he would not agree to what I said, I would go to America
, and make a home for her. She was distressed, and I was in misery.
Towards the spring my father said to me every now and then, ‘Johnny, why don't you break up your ground?
I have seeds for ye; it is time to begin.’
But I could not begin; and I could not tell him why, I had such a dread of him. At last he said, ‘Johnny, you are behindhand; why don't you go to work?’
I knew from his look that I must speak now, and my mother looked so tender-like into my face, that I said, ‘Father, I can't live here, unless I can bring my wife here, or build a house for her. I am going to marry Mary Dare, and if you object to it, I will go to America
My father looked sternly at me, and said, ‘ I will not have you in my house or on my land, if you marry that girl; think about it; if you will give her up, you may live here and be well off; if not, you can go to America
at once, and I will bear your expenses.
Let me know to-morrow morning.’
My mother looked heart-broken, but she did not speak.
She never opposed my father.
This was Sunday.
Next morning he asked me if I had made up my mind.
I said, ‘Yes, sir; to go to
‘Then, Johnny, on Wednesday morning I will go to Derry
and get you ready.’
On Wednesday he called me to get his pony, and to walk to town, and meet him at a tailor's. He was there before me, and selected cloth to make me two good suits of clothes.
We then went to a draper's and got linen (for we wear linen in Ireland
, not cotton) to make me twelve shirts, and other clothes besides.
Then we went to the packet office, where we were told that a packet would sail on that day week for Liverpool
, to meet an emigrant ship just ready to sail for New York.
He paid my passage without saying a word to me, though his manner was kind to me all the time.
As we turned to go home he said, ‘I have four pounds to give you for pocket-money, and I shall deposit fifty pounds in New York for you, which you can draw if you are in want ; but I advise you not to draw it unless you are in want, for it is all I shall give you.’
When we got home my mother collected her friends and neighbours to make my clothes.
She and my sisters looked sorry enough, but not a word did they say about it. I knew that my father had told them not to do it, and my heart was too full to speak to anybody except to Mary Dare-she knew that as soon as I could come for her that I would come.
When I took leave of my mother she almost died, like.
I told her, ‘ Mother,’ said I, ‘I am coming back when I am independent, and can do as I please.
Write to me, mother dear; I will write to you and my sisters when I get to New York, and tell you where I am ;’ and I did write to Mary and to my mother.
I could not write to my father; I could not forgive him, when I thought how he had grieved Mary and me; and I could not be deceitful.
As soon as I got to New York, I engaged with a gentleman at Williamsburg
, on Long Island
, to work
For two years I worked, and laid up my wages; and not a single letter came for me. I grieved and sorrowed, and thought about Mary — I thought maybe her letters were stopped by somebody.
I knew she would not forget me. Sometimes I thought I would go home to Ireland
, and see what was the matter.
At last, one day, my employer came into the garden with a newspaper in his hand.
,’ says he, ‘here is something for you;’ and sure enough there was a line to John Crumley
, asking me to meet an old friend that had just come from Derry
I could not work another stroke, but went to the city, and there he was. I asked him first about my mother.
‘ All well; I have a letter from her to you.’
‘ And haven't you another letter?
Didn't Mary Dare write to me?’
he said; ‘ don't you know that Mary Dare died soon after you left the old country?’
” The old man stopped a moment to recover himself.
Then, striking the side of his cot with his hard, sunburnt hand, he added, “Yes, she was dead, and I was then left the lone man that you see me now, Mrs.
--. My mother had not written before, because she hated to distress me, but she wrote to beg that I would come home; my father's health was failing, and he wanted me, his first-born, to come and take the homestead.
and home were nothing to me now. I wrote to her that my next brother must take the homestead, and take care of my father and her, God bless her!
I should never see Ireland
again, but I loved her and my sisters all the same.
The next letter was long after that.
My mother wrote, ‘ Your father is dead; come back, Johnny, and take your own home.’
I could not go ; and then I went to Georgia
, and never heard from home again.
I tried to fight for the South
, because the Southern
people were good
to me, and I thought if I got killed there was nobody to care for me.”
His story was done.
He looked at me, and said, “You have all been so good to me, particularly Miss
T. God bless you all for it I am now almost at my journey's end.”
When I looked up I found the men subdued and sorrowful.
The story, and the weak, sad tones with which it was told, had touched them all, and brought tears from some.
March 11th, 1865.
's raid through the country is perfectly awful, and he has joined Grant
, without being caught.
Oh, how we listened to hear that he had been arrested in his direful career!
It was, I suppose, the most cruel and desolating raid upon record — more lawless, if possible, than Hunter
's. He had an overwhelming force, spreading ruin through the Upper Valley
, the Piedmont country, the tide-water country, until he reached Grant
His soldiers were allowed to commit any cruelty on non-combatants that suited their rapacious tempers-stealing every thing they could find; ear-rings, breastpins, and finger-rings were taken from the first ladies of the land; nothing escaped them which was worth carrying off from the already desolated country.
And can we feel patient at the idea of such soldiers coming to Richmond
, the target at which their whole nation, from their President
to the meanest soldier upon their army-rolls, has been aiming for four years? Oh, I would that I could see Richmond
burnt to the ground by its own people, with not one brick left upon another, before its defenceless inhabitants should be subjected to such degradation Fighting is still going on; so near the city, that the sound of cannon is ever in our ears.
Farmers are sending in produce which they cannot spare, but which they
give with a spirit of self-denial rarely equalled.
Ladies are offering their jewelry, their plate, any thing which can be converted into money, for the country.
I have heard some of them declare, that, if necessary, they will cut off their long suits of hair, and send them to Paris
to be sold for bread for the soldiers; and there is not a woman, worthy of the name of Southerner, who would not do it, if we could get it out of the country, and bread or meat in return.
Some gentlemen are giving up their watches, when every thing else has been given.
A colonel of our army was seen the other night, after a stirring appeal had been made for food for the soldiers, to approach the speaker's stand with his watch in his hand, saying: “I have no money, nor provisions; my property was ruined by Hunter
's raid last summer; my watch is very dear to me from association, but it must be sold for bread.”
Remembering, as he put it down, that it had been long worn by his wife, now dead, though not a man who liked or approved of scenes
, he obeyed the affectionate impulse of his heart, took it up quickly, kissed it, and replaced it on the table.
March 12th, 1865.
A deep gloom has just been thrown over the city by the untimely death of one of its own heroic sons.
General John Pegram
fell while nobly leading his brigade against the enemy in the neighbourhood of Petersburg
But two weeks before he had been married in St. Paul's Church, in the presence of a crowd of relatives and friends, to the celebrated Miss
H. C., of Baltimore
All was bright and beautiful.
Happiness beamed from every eye. Again has St. Paul
's, his own beloved church, been opened to receive the soldier and his bride — the one coffined for a hero's grave, the other, pale and trembling, though still by his side, in widow's garb.
March 31st, 1865.
A long pause in my diary.
Every thing seems so dark and uncertain that I have no heart for keeping records.
The croakers croak about Richmond
being evacuated, but I can't and won't believe it.
There is hard fighting about Petersburg
, and General A. P. Hill
has been killed.
Dreadful to think of losing such a man at such a time; but yet it comes nearer home when we hear of the young soldiers whom we have loved, and whose youth we have watched with anxiety and hope as those on whom our country must depend in days to come, being cut down when their country most needs them.
We have just heard of the death of Barksdale Warwick
, another of our E. H. S. boys-another son of the parents who yielded up their noble first-born son on the field of battle three years ago. He fell a day or two ago; I did not hear precisely when or where; I only know that he has passed away, as myriads of our young countrymen have done before him, and in the way in which our men would prefer to die.
A week ago we made a furious attack upon the enemy's fortifications near Petersburg
, and several were taken before daylight, but we could not hold them against overwhelming numbers, and batteries vastly too strong for any thing we could command; and so it is still — the enemy is far too strong in numbers and military resources.
save us, or we perish!
Many persons think that Richmond
is in the greatest possible danger, and may be evacuated at any time.
Perhaps we are apathetic or too hopeful, but none of us are desponding at all, and I find myself planning for the future, and feeling excessively annoyed when I find persons less sanguine than myself.
April 3, 1865.
Agitated and nervous, I turn to my diary to-night as the means of soothing my feelings.
passed through a fatal thirty-six hours. Yesterday morning (it seems a week ago) we went, as usual, to St. James's Church, hoping for a day of peace and quietness, as well as of religious improvement and enjoyment.
How short-sighted we are, and how little do we know of what is coming, either of judgment or mercy The sermon being over, as it was the first Sunday in the month, the sacrament of the Lord
's Supper was administered.
The day was bright, beautiful, and peaceful, and a general quietness and repose seemed to rest upon the congregation, undisturbed by rumours and apprehensions.
While the sacred elements were being administered, the sexton came in with a note to General Cooper
, which was handed him as he walked from the chancel, and he immediately left the church.
It made me anxious; but such things are not uncommon, and caused no excitement in the congregation.
The services being over, we left the church, and as the congregations from the various churches were being mingled on Grace Street, our children, who had been at St. Paul
's, joined us, on their way to the usual family gathering in our room on Sunday.
After the salutations of the morning, J. remarked, in an agitated voice, to his father, that he had just returned from the War Department, and that there was sad news-General Lee
's lines had been broken, and the city would probably be evacuated within twenty-four hours. Not until then did I observe that every countenance was wild with excitement.
The inquiry, “What is the matter?”
ran from lip to lip. Nobody seemed to hear or to answer.
An old friend ran across the street, pale with excitement, repeating what J. had just told us, that unless we heard better news from General Lee
the city would be evacuated.
We could do nothing; no one suggested any thing to be done.
reached home with a strange, unrealizing feeling.
In an hour J. (who is now Professor
of Mathematics in the Naval School) received orders to accompany Captain Parker
to the South
with the Corps
Then we began to understand that the Government
was moving, and that the evacuation was indeed going on. The officehold-ers were now making arrangements to get off. Every car was ordered to be ready to take them south.
Baggagewagons, carts, drays, and ambulances were driving about the streets; every one was going off that could go, and now there were all the indications of alarm and excitement of every kind which could attend such an awful scene.
The people were rushing up and down the streets, vehicles of all kinds were flying along, bearing goods of all sorts and people of all ages and classes who could go beyond the corporation lines.
We tried to keep ourselves quiet.
We could not go south, nor could we leave the city at all in this hurried way. J. and his wife had gone.
,” with B., intended going in the northern train this morninghe to his home in Hanover County
, and she to her father's house in Clarke County
, as soon as she could get there.
Last night, when we went out to hire a servant to go to Camp Jackson for our sister, we for the first time realized that our money was worthless here, and that we are in fact penniless.
About midnight she walked in, escorted by two of the convalescent soldiers.
all the soldiers will go who can, but the sick and wounded must be captured.
We collected in one room, and tried to comfort one another; we made large pockets and filled them with as many of our valuables as we could suspend from our waists.
The gentlemen walked down to the War Office in the night to see what was going on. Alas!
every sight and sound was grievous and heavy.
A telegram just received from General Lee
hastened the evacuation.
The public offices were all forsaken.
They said that by three o'clock in the morning the work must be completed, and the city ready for the enemy to take possession.
Oh, who shall tell the horror of the past night!
Hope seemed to fade; none but despairing words were heard, except from a few brave hearts.
Union men began to show themselves; treason walked abroad.
A gloomy pall seemed to hang over us; but I do not think that any of us felt keenly, or have yet realized our overwhelming calamity.
The suddenness and extent of it is too great for us to feel its poignancy at once.
About two o'clock in the morning we were startled by a loud sound like thunder; the house shook and the windows rattled; it seemed like an earthquake in our midst.
We knew not what it was, nor did we care.
It was soon understood to be the blowing up of a magazine below the city.
In a few hours another exploded on the outskirts of the city, much louder than the first, and shivering innumerable plate-glass windows all over Shockoe Hill.
It was then daylight, and we were standing out upon the pavement.
and B. had just gone.
Shall we ever meet again?
Many ladies were now upon the streets.
The lower part of the city was burning.
About seven o'clock I set off to go to the central depot to see if the cars would go out. As I went from Franklin
to Broad Street, and on Broad, the pavements were covered with broken glass; women, both white
, were walking in multitudes from the Commissary offices
and burning stores with bags of flour, meal, coffee, sugar, rolls of cotton cloth, etc.: coloured men were rolling wheelbarrows filled in the same way. I went on and on towards the depot, and as I proceeded shouts and screams became louder.
rushed by me in one stream.
At last I exclaimed, “Who are those shouting?
What is the matter?”
I seemed to be answered by a hundred voices, “The Yankees
I turned to come home, but what was my horror, when I reached Ninth Street, to see a regiment of Yankee cavalry come dashing up, yelling, shouting, hallooing, screaming All Bedlam let loose could not have vied with them in diabolical roarings.
I stood riveted to the spot; I could not move nor speak.
Then I saw the iron gates of our time-honoured and beautiful Capitol Square, on the walks and greensward of which no hoof had been allowed to tread, thrown open and the cavalry dash in. I could see no more; I must go on with a mighty effort, or faint where I stood.
I came home amid what I thought was the firing of cannon.
I thought that they were thundering forth a salute that they had reached the goal of their ardent desires; but I afterwards found that the Armory
was on fire, and that the flames having reached the shells deposited there for our army, they were exploding.
These explosions were kept up until a late hour this evening; I am rejoiced they are gone; they, at least, can never be turned against us. I found the family collected around the breakfast-table, and was glad to see Captain
M's family with them.
The captain has gone, and the ladies have left their home on “Union Hill
” to stay here among friends, Colonel
P. having kindly given them rooms.
An hour or two after breakfast we all retired to our rooms exhausted.
No one had slept; no one had sought repose or thought of their own comfort.
The Federal soldiers were roaming about the streets; either whiskey or the excess of joy had given some of them the appearance of being beside themselves.
We had hoped that very little whiskey would be found in the
city, as, by order of the Mayor
, casks were emptied yesterday evening in the streets, and it flowed like water through the gutters; but the rabble had managed to find it secreted in the burning shops, and bore it away in pitchers and buckets.
It soon became evident that protection would be necessary for the residences, and at the request of Colonel
P. I went to the Provost Marshal
's office to ask for it. Mrs.
P. was unfortunately in the country, and only ladies were allowed to apply for guards.
Of course this was a very unpleasant duty, but I must undertake it. Mrs.
D. agreed to accompany me, and we proceeded to the City Hall — the City Hall, which from my childhood I had regarded with respect and reverence, as the place where my father had for years held his courts, and in which our lawyers, whose names stand among the highest in the Temple of Fame
, for fifty years expounded the Constitution
and the laws, which must now be trodden under foot.
We reached it. After passing through crowds of negro soldiers there, we found on the steps some of the elderly gentlemen of the city seeking admittance, which was denied them.
I stopped to speak to Mr.
--, in whose commission house I was two days ago, and saw him surrounded by all the stores which usually make up the establishment of such a merchant; it was now a mass of blackened ruins.
He had come to ask protection for his residence, but was not allowed to enter.
We passed the sentinel, and an officer escorted us to the room in which we were to ask our country's foe to allow us to remain undisturbed in our own houses.
D. leant on me tremblingly; she shrank from the humiliating duty.
For my own part, though my heart beat loudly and my blood boiled, I never felt more high-spirited or lofty than at that moment.
A large table was surrounded by officials, writing
or talking to the ladies, who came on the same mission that brought us. I approached the officer who sat at the head of the table, and asked him politely if he was the Provost Marshal
. “I am the Commandant, madam,” was the respectful reply.
“Then to whom am I to apply for protection for our residence?”
“You need none, madam; our troops are perfectly disciplined, and dare not enter your premises.”
“I am sorry to be obliged to undeceive you, sir, but when I left home seven of your soldiers were in the yard of the residence opposite to us, and one has already been into our kitchen.”
He looked surprised, and said, “Then, madam, you are entitled to a guard.
, write a protection for the residence on the corner of First and Franklin Streets, and give these ladies a guard.”
This was quickly done, and as I turned to go out, I saw standing near me our old friend, Mrs.
how my heart sank when I looked into her calm, sad face, and remembered that she and her venerable and highly esteemed husband must ask leave to remain in peace in their home of many years.
The next person who attracted my attention was that sweet young girl, S. W. Having
no mother, she of course must go and ask that her father's beautiful mansion may be allowed to stand uninjured.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she pressed my hand in passing.
Other friends were there; we did not speak, we could not; we sadly looked at each other and passed on. Mrs.
D. and myself came out, accompanied by our guard.
The fire was progressing rapidly, and the crashing sound of falling timbers was distinctly heard.
's church was blazing.
Yankees, citizens, and negroes were attempting to arrest the flames.
The War Department was falling in; burning papers were being wafted about the streets.
Department, with our desks and papers, was consumed already.
& Barksdale's mill was sending its flames to the sky. Cary and Main Streets seemed doomed throughout; Bank Street was beginning to burn, and now it had reached Franklin
At any other moment it would have distracted me, but I had ceased to feel any thing.
We brought our guard to Colonel
P., who posted him; about three o'clock he came to tell me that the guard was drunk, and threatening to shoot the servants in the yard.
Again I went to the City Hall to procure another.
I approached the Commandant and told him why I came.
He immediately ordered another guard, and a corporal to be sent for the arrest of the drunken man. The flames had decreased, but the business part of the city was in ruins.
The second guard was soon posted, and the first carried off by the collar.
Almost every house is guarded; and the streets are now (ten o'clock) perfectly quiet.
The moon is shining brightly on our captivity.
God guide and watch over us!
April 5, 1865.
I feel as if we were groping in the dark; no one knows what to do. The Yankees
, so far, have behaved humanely.
As usual, they begin with professions of kindness to those whom they have ruined without justifiable cause, without reasonable motive, without right to be here, or anywhere else within the Southern
is said to be polite and gentlemanly, and seems to do every thing in his power to lessen the horrors of this dire calamity.
Other officers are kind in their departments, and the negro regiments look quite subdued.
No one can tell how long this will last.
had its day of grace, and even New Orleans was not down-trodden at once.
There are already apprehensions of evil.
Is the Church
pray for the Northern President
How is it possible, except as we pray for all other sinners?
But I pause for further developments.
April 6th, 1865.
has visited our devoted city to-day.
His reception was any thing but complimentary.
Our people were in nothing rude or disrespectful; they only kept themselves away from a scene so painful.
There are very few Unionists
of the least respectability here; these met them (he was attended by Stanton
and others) with cringing loyalty, I hear, but the rest of the small collection were of the low, lower, lowest of creation.
They drove through several streets, but the greeting was so feeble from the motley crew of vulgar men and women, that the Federal
officers themselves, I suppose, were ashamed of it, for they very soon escaped from the disgraceful association.
It is said that they took a collation at General Ord
's-our President's house!! Ah!
it is a bitter pill.
I would that dear old house, with all its associations, so sacred to the Southerners, so sweet to us as a family, had shared in the general conflagration.
Then its history would have been unsullied, though sad. Oh, how gladly would I have seen it burn I I have been nowhere since Monday, except to see my dear old friend Mrs
. R., and to the hospital.
There I am not much subjected to the harrowing sights and sounds by which we are surrounded.
The wounded must be nursed; poor fellows, they are so sorrowful!
Our poor old Irishman died on Sunday.
The son of a very old acquaintance was brought to our hospital a few days ago, most severely wounded-Colonel Charles Richardson
, of the artillery.
We feared at first that he must die, but now there is a little more hope.
It is so sad that after four years of bravery and devotion to the cause, he should be brought to
his native city, for the defence of which he would have gladly given his life, dangerously if not mortally wounded, when its sad fate is just decided.
I love to sit by his bedside and try to cheer him; his friends seem to vie with each other in kind attentions to him.
We hear rumours of battles, and of victories gained by our troops, but we have no certain information beyond the city lines.
April 10th, 1865.
Another gloomy Sabbath-day and harrowing night.
We went to St. Paul
's in the morning, and heard a very fine sermon from Dr. Minnegerode
-at least so said my companions.
My attention, which is generally riveted by his sermons, wandered continually.
I could not listen; I felt so strangely, as if in a vivid, horrible dream.
was prayed for; in compliance with some arrangement with the Federal
authorities, the prayer was used as for all in authority!
How fervently did we all pray for our own President
Thank God, our silent prayers are free from Federal authority.
“The oppressor keeps the body bound, but knows not what a range the spirit takes.”
Last night, (it seems strange that we have lived to speak or write of it,) between nine and ten o'clock, as some of the ladies of the house were collected in our room, we were startled by the rapid firing of cannon.
At first we thought that there must be an attack upon the city; bright thoughts of the return of our army darted through my brain; but the firing was too regular.
We began to think it must be a salute for some great event.
We threw up the windows, and saw the flashes and smoke of cannon towards Camp Jackson.
Some one present counted one hundred guns.
What could it be?
We called to passers-by: “What do those guns mean?”
Sad voices answered several times :
“I do not know.”
At last a voice pertly, wickedly replied: “General Lee
has surrendered, thank God!”
Of course we did not believe him, though the very sound was a knell.
Again we called out: “What is the matter?
A voice answered, as if from a broken heart:” They say General Lee
“We cannot believe it, but my heart became dull and heavy, and every nerve and muscle of my frame seems heavy too. I cannot even now shake it off. We passed the night, I cannot tell how — I know not how we live at all. At daybreak the dreadful salute commenced again.
Another hundred guns at twelve to-day.
Another hundred-can it be so?
No, we do not believe it, but how can we bear such a doubt?
Where are all our dear ones, our beloved soldiers, and our noble chief to-night, while the rain falls pitilessly?
Are they lying on the cold, hard ground, sleeping for sorrow?
or are they moving southward triumphantly, to join General Johnston
, still able and willing — ah, far more than willing — to avenge their country's wrongs?
God help us!-we must take refuge in unbelief.”
Tuesday night, April 11, 1865.
No light on our sorrow-still gloomy, dark, and uncertain.
I went to-day to the hospital, as was my duty.
My dear friend S. T. cheers me, by being utterly incredulous about the reported surrender.
As usual, she is cheerfully devoting her powers of mind and body to her hospital.
For four years she has never thought of her own comfort, when by sacrificing it she could alleviate a soldier's sorrow.
E. D., who has shared with her every duty, every selfsacri-ficing effort in behalf of our sick and wounded soldiers, is now enduring the keenest pangs of sorrow from the untimely death of her venerable father.
On the day of the evacuation,
while walking too near a burning house, he was struck by a piece of falling timber, and the blow soon closed his long life.
Alas I the devoted daughter, who had done so much for other wounded, could do nothing for the restoration of one so dear to her.
Wednesday night, April 12, 1865.
We have heard nothing new to-day confirming the report of the surrender, which is perhaps the reason my spirit feels a little more light.
We must hope
, though our prospects should be as dark as the sky of this stormy night.
Our wounded are doing wellthose who remain in our hospital and the convalescents have been ordered to “Camp Jackson.”
Indeed, all the patients were included in the same order; but Miss
T. having represented that several of them were not in a condition to be removed, they have been allowed to remain where they are.
R. is improving, for which we are most thankful.
Thursday night, April 13, 1865.
Fearful rumours are reaching us from sources which it is hard to doubt, that it is all too true, and that General Lee
surrendered on Sunday last, the 9th of April.
The news came to the enemy by telegram during the day, and to us at night by the hoarse and pitiless voice of the cannon.
We know, of course, that circumstances forced it upon our great commander and his gallant army.
How all this happened-how Grant
's hundreds of thousands overcame our little band, history, not I, must tell my children's children.
It is enough for me to tell them that all that bravery and self-denial could do has been done.
We do not yet give up all hope.
is in the field, but there are thousands of the enemy to his tens.
The citizens are quiet.
The calmness of despair is written on every countenance.
sorrows are now coming upon us. We know
of but few casualties.
Good-Friday, April 14, 1865.
As usual, I went to the hospital, and found Miss
T. in much trouble.
A peremptory order has been given by the Surgeon-General
to remove all
In the opinion of our surgeon, to five of them it would be certain death.
The ambulances were at the door.
T. and myself decided to go at once to the Medical Director
and ask him to recall the order.
We were conducted to his office, and, for the first time since the entrance of the Federal
army, were impolitely treated.
On two occasions we had been obliged to make application to officials, and had been received with great respect and consideration, and we believe it has been uniformly the case; and we were, therefore, very much surprised when a request which seemed to us so reasonable was at first refused most decidedly.
We could not give up our application, as it seemed to be a matter of life and death ; so we told him what our surgeon had said, and that we hoped he would reconsider his order.
He replied, that he should send a surgeon with the ambulances, and if in his
judgment they could be removed, it should be done without hesitation, as he was determined to break up the small hospitals which you have all about town
, (ours is the only small hospital in town,) and that he had ordered neither rations nor medicines to be issued to them.
T. told him that nothing of the sort was necessary ; she had never asked nor received rations from the Federal Government
; that she had now but five men under her care, and they were desperately wounded, and she would greatly prefer that the hospital should be considered in the light of a private establishment, which we could take care of without asking help.
A change came over his countenance,
but not his manner; he brusquely told us that he would “see about it.”
In an hour afterwards the surgeon and the ambulance came, but after what seemed to me rather a pompous display of surgical examination and learned medical terms, addressed to the lady-nurses, he determined to leave our dear mangled soldiers to our care.
One of them is in a dying condition; he cannot survive many hours.
We had no service in our churches to-day.
An order came out in this morning's papers that the prayers for the President
of the United States
must be used.
How could we do it?
--went to the hospital by the request of Colonel Richardson
, and had prayers in his room.
Ambulances are constantly passing with horses in the finest possible condition-even finer than ours were in the beginning of the war. It seems to me passing strange that, with all their advantages, we kept them at bay so long, and conquered them so often.
Had one port been left open to usonly one, by which we might have received food and clothing-Richmond would not now be in their hands ; our men were starved into submission.
Sunday night, April 16, 1865.
The Episcopal churches
being closed, we went to the Rev. Dr. Hoge
The rector was absent ; he went off, to be in Confederate lines ; but the Rev. Dr. Read
, whose church is in ruins, occupied the pulpit.
Strange rumours are afloat to-night.
It is said, and believed, that Lincoln
is dead, and Seward
As I passed the house of a friend this evening, she raised the window and told me the report.
Of course I treated it as a Sunday rumour; but the story is strengthened by the way which the Yankees
treat it. They, of course, know all about it, and to-morrow's papers will reveal the particulars.
I trust that, if true, it may not be by the hand of an assassin, though it would seem to fulfil the warnings of Scripture.
His efforts to carry out his abolition theories have caused the shedding of oceans of Southern blood, and by man it now seems has his blood been shed.
But what effect will it have on the South
We may have much to fear.
Future events will show.
This event has made us wild with excitement and speculation.
He came unattended, save by his staff-came without notice, and without parade; but he could not come unobserved; as soon as his approach was whispered, a crowd gathered in his path, not boisterously, but respectfully, and increasing rapidly as he advanced to his home on Franklin Street, between 8th and 9th, where, with a courtly bow to the multitude, he at once retired to the bosom of his beloved family.
When I called in to see his high-minded and patriotic wife, a day or two after the evacuation, she was busily engaged in her invalid's chair, and very cheerful and hopeful.
“The end is not yet,” she said, as if to cheer those around her; “Richmond
is not the Confederacy
To this we all most willingly assented, and felt very much gratified and buoyed by her brightness.
I have not had the heart to visit her since the surrender, but hear that she still is sanguine, saying that “General Lee
is not the Confederacy
,” and that there is “life in the old land yet.”
He is not the Confederacy
; but our hearts sink within us when we remember that he and his noble army are now idle, and that we can no longer look upon them as the bulwark of our land.
He has returned from defeat and disaster with the universal and profound admiration of the world, having done all that skill and valour could accomplish.
The scenes at the surrender
were noble and touching.
's bearing was profoundly respectful; General Lee
's as courtly and lofty as the purest chivalry could require.
The terms, so honourable to all parties, being complied with to the letter, our arms were laid down with breaking hearts, and tears such as stoutest warriors may shed.
“Woe worth the day!”
Tuesday night, April 18, 1865.
I try to dwell as little as possible on public events.
I only feel that we have no country, no government, no future.
I cannot, like some others, look with hope on Johnston
He will do what he can; but ah, what can he do?
Our anxiety now is that our President
and other public men may get off in safety.
have mercy upon them and help them!
For ourselves, like the rest of the refugees, we are striving to get from the city.
The stereotyped question when we meet is, “When and where are you going?”
Our country relatives have been very kind.
My brother offers us an asylum in his devastated home at W. While there we must look around for some other place, in which to build up a home for our declining years.
Property we have none-all gone.
Thank God, we have our faculties; the girls and myself, at least, have health.
--bears up under our difficulties with the same hopeful spirit which he has ever manifested.
will provide,” is still his answer to any doubt on our part.
The Northern officials offer free tickets to persons returning to their homes — alas to their homes!
How few of us have homes!
Some are confiscated; others destroyed.
The families of the army and navy officers are here.
The husbands and sons are absent, and they remain with nothing to anticipate and nothing to enjoy.
To-day I met a friend, the wife of a high official, whose hospitality
I have often enjoyed in one of the most elegant residences in Virginia
, which has been confiscated and used as a hospital for “contrabands.”
Our conversation naturally turned on our prospects.
Hearing where we were going, she replied, “I have no brother, but when I hear from my husband and son, I shall accept the whole-souled invitation of a relative in the country, who has invited me to make his house my home; but,” she added, as her beautiful eyes filled with tears, “when are our visits to end?
We can't live with our ruined relatives, and when our visits are over, what then?
And how long must our visits of charity last?”
The question was too sad; neither of us could command our voices, and we parted in silence and tears.
April 20th, 1865.
The cars on the Central Railroad will run tomorrow, for the first time, under Federal rule, and the day after we will use our passports and free tickets to leave the city-dearer than ever, in its captivity and ruin.
It is almost impossible to get current money.
A whole-hearted friend from Alexandria
met me the other day, and with the straightforward simplicity due to friendship in these trying times, asked me at once, “Has your husband any money?”
I told him I thought not. He replied, “Tell him I have between twenty-five and thirty dollars-that's alland he shall have half of it; tell him I say so.”
Ten dollars were accepted, for the circumstances of want which pressed so hard, and for the kindly spirit in which it was offered.
Two other friends came forward to share with us their little all. God help the warm hearts of our conquered but precious country!
I know they will be blessed, and that light will yet shine through the blackness of darkness which now surrounds them.
April 24th, 1865.
On Saturday evening my brother's wagon
met us at the depot and brought us to this place, beautiful in its ruins.
We have not been here since the besom of destruction swept over it, and to us, who have been in the habit of enjoying its hospitality when all was bright and cheerful, the change is very depressing.
We miss the respectful and respectable servants, born in the family and brought up with an affection for the household which seemed a part of their nature, and which so largely contributed to the happiness both of master and servant.
Even the nurse of our precious little J., the sole child of the house, whose heart seemed bound up in her happiness, has gone.
It is touching to hear the sweet child's account of the shock she experienced when she found that her “mammy,” deceived and misled by the minions who followed Grant
's army, had left her ; and to see how her affection still clings to her, showing itself in the ardent hope that her “mammy” has found a comfortable home.
The army had respected the interior of the house, because of the protection of the officers.
Only one ornament was missing, and that was the likeness of this dear child.
Since the fall of Richmond
, a servant of the estate, who had been living in Washington
, told me that it was in the possession of a maid-servant of the house, who showed it to him, saying that she “looked at it every day.”
We all try to be cheerful and to find a bright side; and we occupy the time as cheerfully as we can. The governess having returned to her home in Norfolk
, I shall employ myself in teaching my bright little niece here and the dear children at S. H., and feel blessed to have so pleasant a duty.
April 25th, 1865.
J. P. arrived to-day direct from Mosby
's command, which is disbanded, but has not surrendered.
He is full of enthusiasm and visions of coming success, and is bent
on joining Johnston
Dear boy, his hopeful spirit has infected me, and aroused a hope which I am afraid to indulge.
April 28th, 1865.
We have no mail communication, and can hear nothing from General Johnston
We go on as usual, but are almost despairing.
Dear M., in her sadness, has put some Confederate money and postage stamps into a Confederate envelope, sealed it up, and endorsed it, “In memory of our beloved Confederacy.”
I feel like doing the same, and treasuring up the buttons, and the stars, and the dear gray coats, faded and worn as they are, with the soiled and tattered banner, which has no dishonouring blot, the untarnished sword, and other arms, though defeated, still crowned with glory.
But not yet — I cannot feel that all is over yet.
May 4, 1865.
surrendered on the 26th of April. “My native land, good-night!”