THE WAR-TIME JOURNAL OF A
ELIZA FRANCES ANDREWS
COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY
Submitted by Christina Palmer
January 1 - April 3, 1865
EXPLANATORY NOTE. - During the period embraced in this chapter the great black tide of destruction that had swept over Georgia turned its course northward from Savannah to break a few weeks later (Feb. 17) in a cataract of blood and fire on the city of Columbia. At the same time the great tragedy of Andersonville was going on under our eyes; and farther off, in Old Virginia, Lee and his immortals were struggling in the toils of the net that was drawing them on to the tragedy of Appomattox. To put forward a trivial narrative of everyday life at a time when mighty events like these were taking place would seem little less than an impertinence, did we not know that it is the ripple mark left on the sand that shows where the tide came in, and the simple undergrowth of the forest gives a character to the landscape without which the most carefully-drawn picture would be incomplete.
On the other hand, the mighty drama that was being enacted around us reflected itself in the minutest details of life, even our sports and amusements being colored by it, as the record of the diary will show. The present chapter opens with allusions to an expedition sent out by Sherman from Savannah under Gen. Kilpatrick, having for its object the destruction of the Stockade
at Andersonville, and release of the prisoners to wreak their vengeance on the people whom they believed to be responsible for their sufferings. The success of this movement was frustrated only by the incessant rains of that stormy winter, which flooded the intervening country so that it was impossible for even the best equipped cavalry to pass, and thus averted what might have been the greatest tragedy of the war.
It is not my purpose to dwell upon public events in these pages, nor to revive the dark memories of Andersonville, but a few words concerning it are necessary to a clear understanding of the allusions made to it in this part of the record, and to a just appreciation of the position of the Southern people in regard to that deplorable episode of the war. Owing to the policy of the Federal Government in refusing to exchange prisoners, and to the ruin and devastation of war, which made it impossible for the Confederate government to provide adequately for its own soldiers, even with the patriotic aid of our women, the condition of our prisons was anything but satisfactory, both from lack of supplies and from the unavoidable over-crowding caused by the failure of all efforts to effect an exchange. Mr. Tanner, ex-Commander of the G. A. R., who is the last person in the world whom one would think of citing as a witness for the South, bears this unconscious testimony to the force of circumstances that made it impossible for our government to remedy that unhappy situation:
"It is true that more prisoners died in Northern prisons than Union prisoners died in Southern prisons. The explanation of this is extremely simple. The Southern prisoners came North worn and emaciated - half starved. They had reached this condition because of their scant rations. They came from a mild climate to a rigorous Northern climate, and, although we
gave them shelter and plenty to eat, they could not stand the change."
This argument, intended as a defense of the North, is a boomerang whose force as a weapon for the other side it is unnecessary to point out. Whether the conditions at Andersonville might have been ameliorated by the personal efforts of those in charge, I do not know. I never met Capt. Wirz, but I do know that had he been an angel from heaven, he could not have changed the pitiful tale of suffering from privation and hunger unless he had possessed the power to repeat the miracle of the loaves and fishes. I do know, too, that the sufferings of the prisoners were viewed with the deepest compassion by the people of the neighborhood, as the diary will show, and they would gladly have relieved them if they had been able. In the fall of 1864, when it was feared that Sherman would send a raid to free the prisoners and turn them loose upon the defenseless country, a band of several thousand were shipped round by rail to Camp Lawton, near Millen, to get them out of his way. Later, when he had passed on, after destroying the railroads, these men were marched back overland to Andersonville, and the planters who lived along the road had hampers filled with such provisions as could be hastily gotten together and placed before them. Among those who did this were my sister, Mrs. Troup Butler, and her neighbors, the Bacons, so frequently mentioned in this part of the diary. My sister says that she had every drop of milk and crabber in her dairy brought out and given to the poor fellows, and she begged the officer to let them wait till she could have what food she could spare cooked for them. This, however, being impossible, she had potatoes and turnips and whatever else could be eaten raw, hastily collected by the servants and strewn in
the road before them. I have before me, as I write, a very kind letter from an old Union soldier, in which he says that he was one of the men fed on this occasion, and he adds: "I still feel thankful for the help we got that day." He gives his name as S. S. Andrews, Co. K, 64th Ohio Vols., and his present address as Tularosa, Mexico.
But it is hardly to be expected that men half-crazed by suffering and for the most part ignorant of their own government's responsibility in the matter, should discriminate very closely in apportioning the blame for their terrible condition. Accustomed to the bountiful provision made for its soldiers by the richest nation in the world, they naturally enough could not see the tragic humor of their belief, when suddenly reduced to Confederate army rations, that they were the victims of a deliberate plot to starve them to death!
Another difficulty with which the officers in charge of the stockade had to contend was the lack of a sufficient force to guard so large a body of prisoners. At one time there were over 35,000 of them at Andersonville alone - a number exceeding Lee's entire force at the close of the siege of Petersburg. The men actually available for guarding this great army, were never more than 1,200 or 1,500, and these were drawn from the State Reserves, consisting of boys under eighteen and invalided or superannuated men unfit for active service. At almost any time during the year 1864-1865, if the prisoners had realized the weakness of their guard, they could, by a concerted assault, have overpowered them. At the time of Kilpatrick's projected raid, their numbers had been reduced to about 7,500, by distributing the excess to other points and by the humane action of the Confederate authorities in releasing, without equivalent, 15,000 sick and
wounded, and actually forcing them, as a free gift, upon the unwilling hospitality of their own government.
But even allowing for this diminution, the consequences of turning loose so large a body of men, naturally incensed and made desperate by suffering, to incite the negroes and ravage the country, while there were only women and children and old men left on the plantations to meet their fury, can hardly be imagined, even by those who have seen the invasion of an organized army. The consternation of my father, when he found that he had sent us into the jaws of this danger instead of the security and rest he had counted on, cannot be described. Happily, the danger was over before he knew of its existence, but communication was so slow and uncertain in those days that a long correspondence at cross purposes ensued before his mind was set at rest.
It may seem strange to the modern reader that in the midst of such tremendous happenings we could find it in our hearts to go about the common business of life; to laugh and dance and be merry in spite of the crumbling of the social fabric about us. But so it has always been; so it was "in the days of Noe," and so, we are told, will it be "in the end of the world." Youth will have its innings, and never was social life in the old South more full of charm than when tottering to its fall. South-west Georgia, being the richest agricultural section of the State, and remote from the scene of military operations, was a favorite resort at that time for refugees from all parts of the seceded States, and the society of every little country town was as cosmopolitan as that of our largest cities had been before the war. The dearth of men available for social functions that was so conspicuous in other parts of the Confederacy remote from the seat of war, did not exist here, because the importance
of so rich an agricultural region as a source of food supply for our armies, and the quartering of such large bodies of prisoners at Andersonville and Millen, necessitated the presence of a large number of officers connected with the commissary and quartermaster's departments. These were, for the most part, men who, on account of age, or chronic infirmity, or injuries received in battle, were unfit for service in the field. There were large hospitals, too, in all the towns and villages to which disabled soldiers from the front were sent as fast as they were able to bear the transportation, in order to relieve the congestion in the neighborhood of the armies. Those whose wounds debarred them from further service, and whose homes were in possession of the enemy, were received into private houses and cared for by the women of the South till the end of the war.
My sister's white family at the time of our arrival consisted of herself and two little children, Tom and Julia, and Mr. Butler's invalid sister, Mrs. Julia Meals, a pious widow of ample means which it was her chief ambition in life to spend in doing good. The household was afterwards increased by the arrival of Mrs. Julia Butler (also called in the diary, Mrs. Green Butler) the widow of Mr. Greenlee Butler, who had died not long before in the army. He was the elder and only brother of my sister's husband. Col. Maxwell, of Gopher Hill, was an uncle of my brother-in-law, the owner of several large plantations, where he was fond of practicing the old-time Southern hospitality. The "Cousin Bolling" so frequently mentioned, was Dr. Bolling A. Pope, a stepson of my mother's youngest sister, Mrs. Alexander Pope, of Washington, Ga., the "Aunt Cornelia" spoken of in a later chapter. He was in Berlin when the war began, where he had spent several years preparing himself as a
specialist in diseases of the eye and ear, but returned when hostilities began, and was assigned to duty as a surgeon. The Tallassee Plantation to which reference is made, was an estate owned by my father near Albany, Ga., where the family were in the habit of spending the winters, until he sold it and transferred his principal planting interests to the Yazoo Delta in Mississippi. Mt. Enon was a little log church where services were held by a refugee Baptist minister, and, being the only place of worship in the neighborhood, was attended by people of all denominations. The different homes and families mentioned were those of well-known planters in that section, or of refugee friends who had temporarily taken up their abode there.
Jan. 1st, 1865. Sunday. Pine Bluff. - A beautiful clear day, but none of us went to church. Sister was afraid of the bad roads, Metta, Mrs. Meals, Julia and I all sick. I think I am taking measles.
Jan. 1, Wednesday. - I am just getting well of measles, and a rough time I had of it. Measles is no such small affair after all, especially when aggravated by perpetual alarms of Yankee raiders. For the last week we have lived in a state of incessant fear. All sorts of rumors come up the road and down it, and we never know what to believe. Mett and I have received repeated letters from home urging our immediate return, but of course it was impossible to travel while I was sick in bed, and even now I am not strong enough to undertake that terrible journey across the burnt country again. While I was ill, home was the one thought
that haunted my brain, and if I ever do get back, I hope I will have sense enough to stay there. I don't think I ever suffered so much before in all my life, and dread of the Yankees raised my fever to such a pitch that I got no rest by night or day. I used to feel very brave about Yankees, but since I have passed over Sherman's track and seen what devastation they make, I am so afraid of them that I believe I should drop down dead if one of the wretches should come into my presence. I would rather face them anywhere than here in South-West Georgia, for the horrors of the stockade have so enraged them that they will have no mercy on this country, though they have brought it all on themselves, the cruel monsters, by refusing to exchange prisoners. But it is horrible, and a blot on the fair name of our Confederacy. Mr. Robert Bacon says he has accurate information that on the first of December, 1864, there were 13,010 graves at Anderson. It is a dreadful record. I shuddered as I passed the place on the cars, with its tall gibbet full of horrible suggestiveness before the gate, and its seething mass of humanity inside, like a swarm of blue flies crawling over a grave. It is said that the prisoners have organized their own code of laws among themselves, and have established courts of justice before which they try offenders, and that they sometimes condemn one of their number to death. It is horrible to think of, but what can we poor Confederates do? The Yankees won't exchange prisoners, and our own
soldiers in the field don't fare much better than these poor creatures. Everybody is sorry for them, and wouldn't keep them here a day if the government at Washington didn't force them on us. And yet they lay all the blame on us. Gen. Sherman told Mr. Cuyler that he did not intend to leave so much as a blade of grass in South-West Georgia, and Dr. Janes told sister that he (Sherman) said he would be obliged to send a formidable raid here in order to satisfy the clamors of his army, though he himself, the fiend Sherman, dreaded it on account of the horrors that would be committed. What Sherman dreads must indeed be fearful. They say his soldiers have sworn that they will spare neither man, woman nor child in all South-West Georgia. It is only a question of time, I suppose, when all this will be done. It begins to look as if the Yankees can do whatever they please and go wherever they wish - except to heaven; I do fervently pray the good Lord will give us rest from them there.
While I was at my worst, Mrs. Lawton came out with her brother-in-law, Mr. George Lawton, and Dr. Richardson, Medical Director of Bragg's army, to make sister a visit. The doctor came into my room and prescribed for me and did me more good by his cheerful talk than by his prescription. He told me not to think about the Yankees, and said that he would come and carry me away himself before I should fall into their hands. His medicine nearly killed me. It
was a big dose of opium and whisky, that drove me stark crazy, but when I came to myself I felt much better. Dr. Janes was my regular physician and had the merit of not giving much medicine, but he frightened me horribly with his rumors about Yankee raiders. We are safe from them for the present, at any rate, I hope; the swamps of the Altamaha are so flooded that it would take an army of Tritons to get over them now.
All this while that I have been sick, Metta has been going about enjoying herself famously. There is a party at Mr. Callaway's from Americus, which makes the neighborhood very gay. Everybody has called, but I had to stay shut up in my room and miss all the fun.... Brother Troup has come down from Macon on a short furlough, bringing with him a Maj. Higgins from Mississippi, who is much nicer than his name. He is a cousin of Dr. Richardson. The rest of the family were out visiting all the morning, leaving me with Mrs. Meals, who entertained me by reading aloud from Hannah More. As my eyes are still too weak from measles for me to read much myself, I was glad to be edified by Hannah More, rather than be left to my own dull company. The others came back at three, and then, just as we were sitting down to dinner, the Mallarys called and spent the rest of the day. We ate no supper, but went to bed on an eggnog at midnight.
Jan. 12, Thursday. - The rest of them out visiting
again all the morning, leaving me to enjoy life with Mrs. Meals and Hannah More. The Edwin Bacons and Merrill Callaway and his bride were invited to spend the evening with us and I found it rather dull. I am just sick enough to be a bore to myself and everybody else. Merrill has married Katy Furlow, of Americus, and she says that soon after my journey home last spring she met my young Charlestonian, and that he went into raptures over me, and said he never was so delighted with anybody in his life, so it seems the attraction was mutual. I have a letter from Tolie; she is living in Montgomery, supremely happy, of course, as a bride should be. She was sadly disappointed at my absence from the wedding. The city is very gay, she says, and everybody inquiring about me and wanting me to come. If I wasn't afraid the Yankees might cut me off from home and sister, too, I would pick up and go now. Yankee, Yankee, is the one detestable word always ringing in Southern ears. If all the words of hatred in every language under heaven were lumped together into one huge epithet of detestation, they could not tell how I hate Yankees. They thwart all my plans, murder my friends, and make my life miserable.
Jan. 13th, Friday. - Col. Blake, a refugee from Mississippi, and his sister-in-law, Miss Connor, dined with us. While the gentlemen lingered over their wine after dinner, we ladies sat in the parlor making cigarettes for them. The evening was spent at cards,
which bored me not a little, for I hate cards; they are good for nothing but to entertain stupid visitors with, and Col. Blake and Miss Connor do not belong in that category. Mett says she don't like the old colonel because he is too pompous, but that amuses me, - and then, he is such a gentleman.
The newspapers bring accounts of terrible floods all over the country. Three bridges are washed away on the Montgomery & West Point R.R., so that settles the question of going to Montgomery for the present. Our fears about the Yankees are quieted, too, there being none this side of the Altamaha, and the swamps impassable.
Jan. 14th, Saturday. - Brother Troup and Maj. Higgins left for Macon, and sister drove to Albany with them. She expects to stay there till Monday and then bring Mrs. Sims out with her. We miss Maj. Higgins very much; he was good company, in spite of that horrible name. Jim Chiles called after dinner, with his usual budget of news, and after him came Albert Bacon to offer us the use of his father's carriage while sister has hers in Albany.
Father keeps on writing for us to come home. Brother Troup says he can send us across the country from Macon in a government wagon, with Mr. Forline for an escort, if the rains will ever cease; but we can't go now on account of the bad roads and the floods up the country. Bridges are washed away in every direction, and the water courses impassable.
Jan. 15th, Sunday. - Went to church at Mt. Enon with Albert Bacon, and saw everybody. It was pleasant to meet old friends, but I could not help thinking of poor Annie Chiles's grave at the church door. One missing in a quiet country neighborhood like this makes a great gap. This was the Sunday for Dr. Hillyer to preach to the negroes and administer the communion to them. They kept awake and looked very much edified while the singing was going on, but most of them slept through the sermon. The women were decked out in all their Sunday finery and looked so picturesque and happy. It is a pity that this glorious old plantation life should ever have to come to an end.
Albert Bacon dined with us and we spent the afternoon planning for a picnic at Mrs. Henry Bacon's lake on Tuesday or Wednesday. The dear old lake! I want to see it again before its shores are desecrated by Yankee feet.
I wish sister would hurry home, on account of the servants. We can't take control over them, and they won't do anything except just what they please. As soon as she had gone, Mr. Ballou, the overseer, took himself off and only returned late this evening. Harriet, Mrs. Green Butler's maid, is the most trifling of the lot, but I can stand anything from her because she refused to go off with the Yankees when Mrs. Butler had her in Marietta last summer. Her mother went, and tried to persuade Harriet to go, too, but she said: "I loves Miss Julia a heap better'n I do
you," and remained faithful. Sister keeps her here because Mrs. Butler is a refugee and without a home herself.
Jan. 16, Monday. - Sister has come back, bringing dear little Mrs. Sims with her. Metta and I are to spend next week in Albany with Mrs. Sims, if we are not all water-bound in the meantime, at Pine Bluff. The floods are subsiding up the country, but the waters are raging down here. Flint River is out of its banks, the low grounds are overflowed, and the backwater has formed a lake between the negro quarter and the house, that reaches to within a few yards of the door. So much the better for us, as Kilpatrick and his raiders can never make their way through all these floods.
Sister is greatly troubled about a difficulty two of her negroes, Jimboy and Alfred, have gotten into. They are implicated with some others who are accused of stealing leather and attacking a white man. Alfred is a great, big, horrid-looking creature, more like an orang-outang than a man, though they say he is one of the most peaceable and humble negroes on the plantation, and Jimboy has never been known to get into any mischief before. I hope there is some mistake, though the negroes are getting very unruly since the Yankees are so near.
Jan. 17, Tuesday. - The river still rising and all the water-courses so high that I am afraid the stage won't be able to pass between Albany and Thomasville, and
we sha'n't get our mail. There is always something the matter to keep us from getting the mail at that little Gum Pond postoffice. Mrs. Sims is water-bound with us, and it is funny to hear her and Mrs. Meals, one a red-hot Episcopalian, the other a red-hot Baptist, trying to convert each other. If the weather is any sign, Providence would seem to favor the Baptists just now.
Mrs. Sims almost made me cry with her account of poor Mary Millen - her brother dead, their property destroyed; it is the same sad story over again that we hear so much of. This dreadful war is bringing ruin upon so many happy homes.
Jan. 19, Thursday. - I suffered a great disappointment to-day. Mrs. Stokes Walton gave a big dining - everybody in the neighborhood, almost everybody in the county that is anybody was invited. I expected to wear that beautiful new dress that ran the blockade and I have had so few opportunities of showing. All my preparations were made, even the bows of ribbon pinned on my undersleeves, but I was awakened at daylight by the pattering of rain on the roof, and knew that the fun was up for me. It was out of the question for one just up from an attack of measles to risk a ride of twelve miles in such a pouring rain, so I had to content myself to stay at home with the two old ladies and be edified with disquisitions on the Apostolic Succession and Baptism by Immersion. They are both good enough to be translated, and I
can't see why the dear little souls should be so disturbed about each other's belief. Once, when Mrs. Meals left the room for some purpose, Mrs. Sims whispered to me confidentially: "There is so little gentility among these dissenters - that is one reason why I hate to see her among them." I could hardly keep from laughing out, but that is what a good deal of our religious differences amount to. I confess to a strong prejudice myself, in favor of the old church in which I was brought up; still I don't think there ought to be any distinction of classes or races in religion. We all have too little "gentility" in the sight of God for that. I only wish I stood as well in the recording Angel's book as many a poor negro that I know.
About noon a cavalryman stopped at the door and asked for dinner. As we eat late, and the man was in too big a hurry to wait, sister sent him a cold lunch out in the entry. It was raining very hard, and the poor fellow was thoroughly drenched, so after he had eaten, sister invited him to come into the parlor and dry himself. It came out, in the course of conversation, that he was from our own part of Georgia, and knew a number of good old Wilkes County families. He was on his way to the Altamaha, he said, and promised to do his best to keep the raiders from getting to us.
Jan. 21, Saturday. Albany, Ga. - I never in all my life knew such furious rains as we had last night; it
seemed as if the heavens themselves were falling upon us. In addition to the uproar among the elements, my slumbers were disturbed by frightful dreams about Garnett. Twice during the night I dreamed that he was dead and in a state of corruption, and I couldn't get anybody to bury him. Col. Avery and Capt. Mackall were somehow mixed up in the horrid vision, trying to help me, but powerless to do so. In the morning, when we waked, I found that Metta also had dreamed of Garnett's death. I am not superstitious, but I can't help feeling more anxious than usual to hear news of my darling brother.
The rain held up about dinner time and Mrs. Sims determined to return to Albany, in spite of high waters and the threatening aspect of the sky. We went five miles out of our way to find a place where we could ford Wright's Creek, and even there the water was almost swimming. Mett and I were frightened out of our wits, but Mrs. Sims told us to shut our eyes and trust to Providence, - and Providence and Uncle Aby between them brought us through in safety. At some places in the woods, sheets of water full half a mile wide and from one to two feet deep were running across the road, on their way to swell the flood in Flint River. Sister sent a negro before us on a mule to see if the water-courses were passable. We had several bad scares, but reached town in safety a little after dark.
Jan. 22 - The rains returned with double fury in
the night and continued all day. If "the stars in their courses fought against Sisera," it looks as if the heavens were doing as much for us against Kilpatrick and his raiders. There was no service at St. Paul's, so Mrs. Sims kept Metta and me in the line of duty by reading aloud High Church books to us. They were very dull, so I didn't hurt myself listening. After dinner we read the Church service and sang hymns until relieved by a call from our old friend, Capt. Hobbs.
Jan. 24, Tuesday. - Mr. and Mrs. Welsh spent the evening with us. Jim Chiles came last night and sat until the chickens crowed for day. Although I like Jimmy and enjoy his budget of news, I would enjoy his visits more if he knew when to go away. I never was so tired and sleepy in my life, and cold, too, for we had let the fire go out as a hint. When at last we went to our room I nearly died laughing at the way Metta had maneuvered to save time. She had loosened every button and string that she could get at without being seen, while sitting in the parlor, and had now only to give herself a good shake and she was ready for bed.
We spent the morning making calls with Mrs. Sims, and found among the refugees from South Carolina a charming old lady, Mrs. Brisbane. Though past fifty, she is prettier than many a woman of half her years, and her manners would grace a court. Her father was an artist of note, and she showed us some
beautiful pictures painted by him. After dinner we enjoyed some Florida oranges sent by Clinton Spenser, and they tasted very good, in the absence of West India fruit.
Jan. 25, Wednesday. - Dined at Judge Vason's, where there was a large company. He is very hospitable and his house is always full of people. Albert Bacon came in from Gum Pond and called in the afternoon, bringing letters, and the letters brought permission to remain in South-West Georgia as long as we please, the panic about Kilpatrick having died out. I would like to be at home now, if the journey were not such a hard one. Garnett and Mrs. Elzey are both there, and Mary Day is constantly expected. I have not seen Garnett for nearly three years. He has resigned his position on Gen. Gardiner's staff, and is going to take command of a battalion of "galvanized Yankees," with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. I don't like the scheme. I have no faith in Yankees of any sort, especially these miserable turncoats that are ready to sell themselves to either side. There isn't gold enough in existence to galvanize one of them into a respectable Confederate.
Jan. 27, Friday. - Mett and I were busy returning calls all the morning, and Mrs. Sims, always in a hurry, sent us up to dress for Mrs. Westmoreland's party as soon as we had swallowed our dinner, so we were ready by dusk and had to sit waiting with our precious finery on until our escorts came for us at nine
o'clock. Mrs. Sims is one of these fidgety little bodies that is always in a rush about everything. She gallops through the responses in church so fast that she always comes out long ahead of everybody else, and even eats so fast that Metta and I nearly choke ourselves trying to keep up with her. We hardly ever get enough, as we are ashamed to sit at table too long after she has finished. I tried one day, when I was very hungry, to keep up with her in eating a waffle, but before I had got mine well buttered, hers was gone. She is such a nice housekeeper, too, and has such awfully good things that it is tantalizing not to be able to take time to enjoy them.
The party was delightful. Albany is so full of charming refugees and Confederate officers and their families that there is always plenty of good company, whatever else may be lacking. I danced three sets with Joe Godfrey, but I don't like the square dances very much. The Prince Imperial is too slow and stately, and so complicated that the men never know what to do with themselves. Even the Lancers are tame in comparison with a waltz or a galop. I love the galop and the Deux Temps better than any. We kept it up till two o'clock in the morning, and then walked home.
While going our rounds in the morning, we found a very important person in Peter Louis, a paroled Yankee prisoner, in the employ of Capt. Bonham. The captain keeps him out of the stockade, feeds and
clothes him, and in return, reaps the benefit of his skill. Peter is a French Yankee, * a shoemaker by trade, and makes as beautiful shoes as I ever saw imported from France. My heart quite softened towards him when I saw his handiwork, and little Mrs. Sims was so overcome that she gave him a huge slice of her Confederate fruit cake. I talked French with him, which pleased him greatly, and Mett and I engaged him to make us each a pair of shoes. I will feel like a lady once more, with good shoes on my feet. I expect the poor Yank is glad to get away from Anderson on any terms. Although matters have improved somewhat with the cool weather, the tales that are told of the condition of things there last summer are appalling. Mrs. Brisbane heard all about it from Father Hamilton, a Roman Catholic priest from Macon, who has been working like a good Samaritan in those dens of filth and misery. It is a shame to us Protestants that we have let a Roman Catholic get so far ahead of us in this work of charity and mercy. Mrs. Brisbane says Father Hamilton told her that during the summer the wretched prisoners burrowed in the ground like moles to protect themselves from the sun. It was not safe to give them material to build shanties as they might use it for clubs to overcome
* Everybody that fought in the Union army was classed by us as a Yankee, whether Southern Union men, foreigners, or negroes; hence the expressions "Irish Yankee," "Dutch Yankee," "black Yankee," etc., in contradistinction to the Simon-pure native product, "the Yankee" par excellence.
the guard. These underground huts, he said, were alive with vermin and stank like charnel houses. Many of the prisoners were stark naked, having not so much as a shirt to their backs. He told a pitiful story of a Pole who had no garment but a shirt, and to make it cover him the better, he put his legs into the sleeves and tied the tail round his neck. The others guyed him so on his appearance, and the poor wretch was so disheartened by suffering, that one day he deliberately stepped over the deadline and stood there till the guard was forced to shoot him. But what I can't understand is that a Pole, of all people in the world, should come over here and try to take away our liberty when his own country is in the hands of oppressors. One would think that the Poles, of all nations in the world, ought to sympathize with a people fighting for their liberties. Father Hamilton said that at one time the prisoners died at the rate of 150 a day, and he saw some of them die on the ground without a rag to lie on or a garment to cover them. Dysentery was the most fatal disease, and as they lay on the ground in their own excrements, the smell was so horrible that the good father says he was often obliged to rush from their presence to get a breath of pure air. It is dreadful. My heart aches for the poor wretches, Yankees though they are, and I am afraid God will suffer some terrible retribution to fall upon us for letting such things happen. If the Yankees ever should come to South-West Georgia,
and go to Anderson and see the graves there, God have mercy on the land! And yet, what can we do? The Yankees themselves are really more to blame than we, for they won't exchange these prisoners, and our poor, hard-pressed Confederacy has not the means to provide for them, when our own soldiers are starving in the field. Oh, what a horrible thing war is when stripped of all its "pomp and circumstance"!
Jan. 28, Saturday. - We left Albany at an early hour. Albert Bacon rode out home in the carriage with us, and I did the best I could for him by pretending to be too sleepy to talk and so leaving him free to devote himself to Mett. Fortunately, the roads have improved since last Saturday, and we were not so long on the way. We found sister busy with preparations for Julia's birthday party, which came off in the afternoon. All the children in the neighborhood were invited and most of the grown people, too. The youngsters were turned loose in the backyard to play King's Base, Miley Bright, &c., and before we knew it, we grown people found ourselves as deep in the fun as the children. In the midst of it all a servant came up on horseback with a letter for sister. It proved to be a note from Capt. Hines bespeaking her hospitality for Gen. Sam Jones and staff, and of course she couldn't refuse, though the house was crowded to overflowing already. She had hardly finished reading when a whole cavalcade of horses and government wagons came rattling up to the door, and the general
and one of his aides helped two ladies and their children to alight from an ambulance in which they were traveling. When they saw what a party we had on hand, they seemed a little embarrassed, but sister laughed away their fears, and sent the children out to join the others in the backyard and left the ladies, who were introduced as Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Creighton, with their escorts, in the parlor, while she went out to give orders about supper and make arrangements for their accommodation. Mrs. Meals, Metta, and I hustled out of our rooms and doubled up with sister and the children. Everybody was stowed away somewhere, when, just before bedtime, two more aides, Capt. Warwick, of Richmond, and Capt. Frazer, of Charleston, rode up and were invited to come in, though the house was so crowded that sister had not even a pallet on the floor to offer them. All she could do was to give them some pillows and tell them they were welcome to stay in the parlor if they could make themselves comfortable there. People are used to putting up with any sort of accommodations these times and they seemed very glad of the shelter. They said it was a great deal better than camping out in the wagons, as they had been doing, and with the help of the parlor rugs and their overcoats and army blankets, they could make themselves very comfortable. They were regular thoroughbreds, we could see, and Capt. Frazer one of the handsomest men I ever laid my eyes on - a great, big, splendid, fair-haired giant,
that might have been a Viking leader if he had lived a thousand years ago.
Sister has been so put out by Mr. Ballou that I don't see how she could keep her temper well enough to be polite to anybody. He has packed up and taken himself off, leaving her without an overseer, after giving but one day's notice, and she has the whole responsibility of the plantation and all these negroes on her hands. It was disgraceful for him to treat her so, and Brother Troup off at the war, too.
Jan. 29, Sunday. - Breakfast early so as to let our general and staff proceed on their way, as they said they wanted to make an early start. Gen. Jones has recently been appointed commandant of the Department of South Georgia and Florida, with headquarters at Tallahassee. It was nearly eleven o'clock before they got off. Mr. Robert Bacon says he met them on their way, and they told him they were so pleased with their entertainment at sister's that they wished they could have staid a day or two longer. I had a good long talk with the two young captains before they left and they were just as nice as they could be. We found that we had a number of common friends, and Capt. Warwick knows quite well the Miss Lou Randolph in Richmond that Garnett writes so much about, and Rosalie Beirne, * too.
Just before bedtime we were startled by heavy steps and a loud knocking at the front door. Having no
* This lady my brother afterwards married.
white man within three miles, even an overseer, we were a little startled, but mustered courage, sister, Mett, and I, followed by two or three of the negroes, to go to the door. Instead of a stray Yankee, or a squad of deserters, we confronted a smart young Confederate officer in such a fine new uniform that the sight of it nearly took our breath away. He said he was going to the Cochran plantation, but got lost in the pond back of our house and had come in to inquire his way. Sister invited him into the sitting-room, and he sat there talking with us till one of the servants could saddle a mule and go with him to show him the road. Sister said she felt mean for not inviting him to spend the night, but she was too tired and worried to entertain another guest now, if the fate of the Confederacy depended on it. His uniform was too fresh and new anyway to look very heroic.
Jan. 31, Tuesday. - Sister and I spent the morning making calls. At the tithing agent's office, where she stopped to see about her taxes, we saw a battalion of Wheeler's cavalry, which is to be encamped in our neighborhood for several weeks. Their business is to gather up and take care of broken-down horses, so as to fit them for use again in baggage trains and the like. At the postoffice a letter was given me, which I opened and read, thinking it was for me. It began "Dear Ideal" and was signed "Yours forever." I thought at first that Capt. Hobbs or Albert Bacon was playing a joke on me, but on making inquiry at the
office, I learned that there is a cracker girl named Fanny Andrews living down somewhere near Gum Pond, for whom, no doubt, the letter was intended; so I remailed it to her.
As we were sitting in the parlor after supper, there was another lumbering noise of heavy feet on the front steps, but it was caused by a very different sort of visitor from the one we had Sunday night. A poor, cadaverous fellow came limping into the room, and said he was a wounded soldier, looking for work as an overseer. He gave his name as Etheridge, and I suspect, from his manner, that he is some poor fellow who has seen better days. Sister engaged him on the spot, for one month, as an experiment, though she is afraid he will not be equal to the work.
Feb. 2, Thursday. - We spent the evening at Maj. Edwin Bacon's, rehearsing for tableaux and theatricals, and I never enjoyed an evening more. We had no end of fun, and a splendid supper, with ice cream and sherbet and cake made of real white sugar. I like the programme, too, and my part in it, though I made some of the others mad by my flat refusal to make myself ridiculous by taking the part of the peri in a scene from Lalla Rookh. Imagine poor little ugly me setting up for a pert! Wouldn't people laugh! I must have parts with some acting; I can't run on my looks. The entertainment is to take place at sister's, and all the neighborhood and a number of people from Albany will be invited. The stage will be erected in
the wide back entry, between sister's room and the dining-room, which will serve for dressing-rooms. After the rehearsal came a display of costumes and a busy devising of dresses, which interested me very much. I do love pretty clothes, and it has been my fate to live in these hard war times, when one can have so little.
Feb. 4, Saturday. - We met in the schoolhouse at Mt. Enon to rehearse our parts, but everybody seemed out of sorts and I never spent a more disagreeable two hours. Mett wouldn't act the peri because she had had a quarrel with her penitent, and Miss Lou Bacon said she couldn't take the part of Esther before Ahasuerus unless she could wear white kid gloves, because she had burnt one of her fingers pulling candy, and a sore finger would spoil the looks of her hand. Think of Esther touching the golden scepter with a pair of modern white kid gloves on! It would be as bad as me for a peri. Mett and Miss Lou are our beauties, and if they fail us, the whole thing falls through.
Feb. 5, Sunday. - Went to church at Mt. Enon, and did my best to listen to Dr. Hillyer, but there were so many troops passing along the road that I could keep neither thoughts nor my eyes from wandering. Jim Chiles came home to dinner with us. He always has so much news to tell that he is as good as the county paper, and much more reliable. I have a letter from Lily Legriel * asking me to make her a visit
* A school friend of the writer.
before I go home. She is refugeeing in Macon, and I think I will stop a few days as I pass through.
Feb. 9, Thursday. - We are in Albany - Mett, Mrs. Meals, and I - on our way to Americus, where I am going to consult Cousin Bolling Pope about my eyes. They have been troubling me ever since I had measles. We had hardly got our hats off when Jim Chiles came panting up the steps. He had seen the carriage pass through town and must run round at once to see if a sudden notion had struck us to go home. After tea came Capt. Hobbs, the Welshes, and a Mr. Green, of Columbus, to spend the evening. Mrs. Welsh gives a large party next Thursday night, to which we are invited, and she also wants me to stay over and take part in some theatricals for the benefit of the hospitals, but I have had enough of worrying with amateur theatricals for the present.
Feb. to, Friday. - We had to get up very early to catch the seven o'clock train to Americus. Jim met us at the dépot, though there were so many of our acquaintances on board that we had no special need of an escort. Mr. George Lawton sat by me all the way from Smithville to Americus, and insisted on our paying his family a visit before leaving South-West Georgia. I wish I could go, for he lives near father's old Tallassee plantation where I had such happy times in my childhood; but if we were to accept all the invitations that come to us, we would never get back home again. We reached Americus at ten and went
straight to Cousin Bolling's hospital. He was not there, but Dr. Howard, his assistant, told us he was in the village and would be at the office in a few minutes. All along the streets, as we were making our way from the dépot to the hospital, we could recognize his patients going about with patches and shades and blue spectacles over their eyes, and some of them had blue or green veils on. We didn't care to wait at the hospital in all that crowd of men, so we started out to visit the shops, intending to return later and meet Cousin Bolling. We had gone only a few steps when we saw him coming toward us. His first words were the announcement that he was married! I couldn't believe him at first, and thought he was joking. Then he insisted that we should go home with him and see our new cousin. We felt doubtful about displaying our patched up Confederate traveling suits before a brand new bride from beyond the blockade, with trunk loads of new things, but curiosity got the better of us, and so we agreed to go home with him. He is occupying Col. Maxwell's house while the family are on the plantation in Lee county. When we reached the house with Cousin Bolling, Mrs. Pope - or "Cousin Bessie," as she says we must call her now, made us feel easy by sending for us to come to her bedroom, as there was no fire in the parlor, and she would not make company of us. She was a Mrs. Ayres, before her marriage to Cousin Bolling, a young widow from Memphis, Tenn., and very prominent in society there.
She is quite handsome, and, having just come from beyond the lines, her beautiful dresses were a revelation to us dowdy Confederates, and made me feel like a plucked peacock. Her hair was arranged in three rolls over the top of the head, on each side of the part, in the style called "cats, rats, and mice," on account of the different size of the rolls, the top one being the largest. It was very stylish. I wish my hair was long enough to dress that way, for I am getting very tired of frizzes; they are so much trouble, and always will come out in wet weather. We were so much interested that we stayed at Cousin Bolling's too long and had to run nearly all the way back to the dépot in order to catch our train. On the cars I met the very last man I would have expected to see in this part of the world - my Boston friend, Mr. Adams. He said he was on his way to take charge of a Presbyterian church in Eufaula, Ala. He had on a broadcloth coat and a stovepipe hat, which are so unlike anything worn by our Confederate men that I felt uncomfortably conspicuous while he was with me. I am almost ashamed, nowadays, to be seen with any man not in uniform, though Mr. Adams, being a Northern man and a minister, could not, of course, be expected to go into the army. I believe he is sincere in his Southern sympathies, but his Yankee manners and lingo "sorter riles" me, as the darkies say, in spite of reason and common sense. He talked religion all the way to Smithville, and parted with some pretty sentiment about the
"sunbeam I had thrown across his path." I don't enjoy that sort of talk from men; I like dash and flash and fire in talk, as in action.
We reached Albany at four o'clock, and after a little visit to Mrs. Sims, started home, where we arrived soon after dark, without any adventure except being nearly drowned in the ford at Wright's Creek.
Feb. 11, Saturday. - Making visits all day. It takes a long time to return calls when people live so far apart and every mile or two we have to go out of our way to avoid high waters. Stokes Walton's creek runs underground for several miles, so that when the waters are high we leave the main road and cross where it disappears underground. There is so much water now that the subterranean channel can't hold it all, so it flows below and overflows above ground, making a two-storied stream. It is very broad and shallow at that place, and beautifully clear. It would be a charming place for a boating excursion because the water is not deep enough to drown anybody if they should fall overboard - but if the bottom should drop out of the road, as sometimes happens in this limestone country, where in the name of heaven would we go to?
Sister and I spent the evening at Mrs. Robert Bacon's. The Camps, the Edwin Bacons, Capt. Wynne, and Mrs. Westmoreland were there. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we didn't break up till one o'clock Sunday morning. Mrs. Westmoreland
says she gave Capt. Sailes a letter of introduction to me, thinking I had gone back to Washington. He and John Garnett, one of our far-off Virginia cousins, have been transferred there.
Feb. 12, Sunday. - Spring is already breaking in this heavenly climate, and the weather has been lovely to-day. The yellow jessamine buds begin to show their golden tips, forget-me-nots are peeping from under the wire grass, and the old cherry tree by the dairy is full of green leaves. Spring is so beautiful; I don't wonder the spring poet breaks loose then. Our "piney woods" don't enjoy a very poetical reputation, but at this season they are the most beautiful place in the world to me.
I went over to the quarter after dinner, to the "Praise House," to hear the negroes sing, but most of them had gone to walk on the river bank, so I did not get a full choir. At their "praise meetings" they go through with all sorts of motions in connection with their songs, but they won't give way to their wildest gesticulations or engage in their sacred dances before white people, for fear of being laughed at. They didn't get out of their seats while I was there, but whenever the "sperrit" of the song moved them very much, would pat their feet and flap their arms and go through with a number of motions that reminded me of the game of "Old Dame Wiggins" that we used to play when we were children. They call these native airs "little speritual songs," in contradistinction
to the hymns that the preachers read to them in church, out of a book, and seem to enjoy them a great deal more. One of them has a quick, lively melody, which they sing to a string of words like these:
"Mary an' Marthy, feed my lambs,
and so on, through as many Bible names as they could think of. Another of their "sperrituals" runs on this wise:
"I meet my soul at de bar of God,
Another one, sung to a kind of chant, begins this way:
"King Jesus he tell you
The chorus to another of their songs is:
"I knowed it was a angel,
I mean to make a collection of these songs some day and keep them as a curiosity. The words are mostly endless repetitions, with a wild jumble of misfit Scriptural allusions, but the tunes are inspiring. They are mostly a sort of weird chant that makes me feel all out of myself when I hear it way in the night, too far off to catch the words. I wish I was musician enough to write down the melodies; they are worth preserving.
Feb. 13, Monday. - Letters from home. Our house is full of company, as it always is, only more so. All the Morgans are there, and Mary Day, and the Gairdners from Augusta, besides a host of what one might call transients, if father was keeping a hotel - friends, acquaintances, and strangers whom the tide of war has stranded in little Washington. Mrs. Gairdner's husband was an officer in the English army at Waterloo, and a schoolmate of Lord Byron, and her sons are brave Confederates - which is better than anything else. Mary Day had typhoid fever in Augusta. She is too weak to make the journey from Mayfield
to Macon, and all non-combatants have been ordered to leave Augusta, so mother invited her to Haywood. Oh, that dear old home! I know it is sweeter than ever now, with all those delightful people gathered there. One good thing the war has done among many evils; it has brought us into contact with so many pleasant people we should never have known otherwise. I know it must be charming to have all those nice army officers around, and I do want to go back, but it is so nice here, too, that we have decided to stay a little longer. Father says that this is the best place for us now that Kilpatrick's raiders are out of the way. I wish I could be in both places at once. They write us that little Washington has gotten to be the great thoroughfare of the Confederacy now, since Sherman has cut the South Carolina R.R. and the only line of communication between Virginia and this part of the country, from which the army draws its supplies, is through there and Abbeville. This was the old stage route before there were any railroads, and our first "rebel" president traveled over it in returning from his Southern tour nearly three-quarters of a century ago, when he spent a night with Col. Alison in Washington. It was a different thing being a rebel in those days and now. I wonder the Yankees don't remember they were rebels once, themselves.
Mrs. Meals asked me to go with her in the afternoon to visit some of the cracker people in our neighborhood and try to collect their children into a Sunday
school which the dear, pious little soul proposes to open at Pine Bluff after the manner of Hannah More. At one place, where the parents were away from home, the children ran away from us in a fright, and hid behind their cabin. I went after them, and capturing one little boy, soon made friends with him, and got him to bring the others to me. I was surprised to find the wife of our nearest cracker neighbor, who lives just beyond the lime sink, in a cabin that Brother Troup wouldn't put one of his negroes into, a remarkably handsome woman, in spite of the dirt and ignorance in which she lives. Her features are as regular and delicate as those of a Grecian statue, and her hair of a rich old mahogany color that I suppose an artist would call Titian red. It was so abundant that she could hardly keep it tucked up on her head. She was dirty and unkempt, and her clothing hardly met the requirements of decency, but all that could not conceal her uncommon beauty. I would give half I am worth for her flashing black eyes. We found that her oldest child is thirteen years old, and has never been inside a church, though Mt. Enon is only three miles away. I can't understand what makes these people live so. The father owns 600 acres of good pine land, and if there was anything in him, ought to make a good living for his family.
After supper we amused ourselves getting up valentines. Everybody in the neighborhood has agreed to send one to Jim Chiles, so he will get a cartload of
them. I made up seven stanzas of absurd trash to Capt. Hobbs, every one ending with a rhyme on his name, the last being:
"Oh, how my heart bobs
Feb. 16, Thursday. - We started for Albany for Mrs. Welsh's party, soon after breakfast, but were a good deal delayed on the way by having to wait for a train of forty government wagons to pass. We found Mrs. Julia Butler at Mrs. Sims's, straight from Washington, with letters for us, and plenty of news. I feel anxious to get back now, since Washington is going to be such a center of interest. If the Yanks take Augusta, it will become the headquarters of the department. Mrs. Butler says a train of 300 wagons runs between there and Abbeville, and they are surveying a railroad route. Several regiments are stationed there and the town is alive with army officers and government officials. How strange all this seems for dear, quiet little Washington! It must be delightful there, with all those nice army officers. I am going back home as soon as I can decently change my mind. I have been at the rear all during the war, and now that I have a chance, I want to go to the front. I wish I could be here and there, too, at the same time.
We were fairly besieged with visitors till time to dress for the party. Miss Pyncheon dined with us,
and Gardiner Montgomery is staying in the house, and I can't tell how many other people dropped in. It was all perfectly delightful. Capt. Hobbs and Dr. Pyncheon offered themselves as escorts, but we had already made engagements with Albert Bacon and Jim Chiles. We gave Miss Pyncheon and Dr. Sloane seats in our carriage, and we six cliqued together a good deal during the evening, and had a fine time of it. I never did enjoy a party more and never had less to say about one. I had not a single adventure during the entire evening. Metta was the belle, par excellence, but Miss Pyncheon and I were not very far behind, and I think I was ahead of them all in my dress. Miss Pyncheon wore a white puffed tarleton, with pearls and white flowers. The dress, though beautiful, was not becoming because the one fault of her fine, aristocratic face is want of color. A little rouge and sepia would improve her greatly, if a nice girl could make up her mind to use them. Mett wore white suisse with festoon flounces, over my old blue Florence silk skirt, the flounces, like charity, covering a multitude of faults. She was a long way the prettiest one in the room, though her hair is too short to be done up stylishly. But my dress was a masterpiece [sic!] though patched up, like everybody else's, out of old finery that would have been cast off years ago, but for the blockade. I wore a white barred organdy with a black lace flounce round the bottom that completely hid the rents made at dances in Montgomery
last winter, and a wide black lace bow and ends in the back, to match the flounce. Handsome lace will make almost anything look respectable, and I thank my stars there was a good deal of it in the family before the Yankees shut us off by their horrid blockade. My waist was of light puffed blonde, very fluffy, made out of the skirt I wore at Henry's wedding, and trimmed round the neck and sleeves with ruchings edged with narrow black lace. My hair was frizzed in front, with a cluster of white hyacinths surmounting the top row of curls, and a beautifully embroidered butterfly Aunt Sallie had made for me half-hidden among them, as if seeking its way to the flowers. My train was very long, but I pinned it up like a tunic, over a billowy flounced muslin petticoat, while dancing. My toilet was very much admired, and I had a great many compliments about it and everybody turned to look at it as I passed, which put me in good spirits. We danced eighteen sets, and I was on the floor every time, besides all the round dances, and between times there were always three or four around talking to me. Mett says it counts a great deal more to have one very devoted at a time, but that keeps the others away, and I think it is much nicer to have a crowd around you all the time. One man grows tiresome unless you expect to marry him, and I am never going to marry anybody. Marriage is incompatible with the career I have marked out for myself, but I want to have all the fun I can before I am too old.... Among others
I met my old acquaintance, Mr. Draper, who was one of the attendants at Henry's wedding. He says I have changed a great deal, and look just like Mett did then. I suppose I may take this as a double-barreled compliment, as Metta is the beauty of the family and she was then only fifteen, while I am now twenty-four! Oh, how time does fly, and how fast we grow old! But there is one comfort when a woman doesn't depend upon looks; she lasts longer.
Capt. Hobbs has got his valentine, and everybody is laughing about it. They were all so sure it came from me that Dr. Conolly and the captain put their heads together and wrote a reply that they were going to send me, but I threw them off the track so completely, that they are now convinced that it came from Merrill Callaway. Even Albert Bacon is fooled, and it is he that told me all Capt. Hobbs and the others said about it, and of their having suspected me. I pretended a great deal of curiosity and asked what sort of poetry it was. Mr. Bacon then repeated some of my own ridiculous rhymes to me. "It is a capital thing," he said, shaking with laughter, "only a little hard on Hobbs."
"It is just like Merrill," said I; "but I am sorry the captain found out I didn't send it before mailing his reply." I am going to tell them better in a few days and let them see how royally they have been fooled.
Feb. 17, Friday. - We had expected to bring Miss
Pyncheon out to Pine Bluff with us, but Mrs. Butler had the only vacant seat in the carriage. I felt stupid and sleepy all day, for it was after four o'clock in the morning when I got home from the party and went to bed. I took a walk with the children after dinner, to the lime sink back of the newground. The sink is half full of water from an overflowed cypress pond just this side of Mt. Enon. The water runs in a clear stream down a little declivity - something very uncommon in this flat country - in finding its way to the sink, and makes a lovely little waterfall. There is a subterranean outlet from the sink, for it never overflows except in times of unusually heavy rain. It makes a diminutive lake, which is full of small fish, and the banks are bordered with willow oaks and tall shrubs aglow with yellow jessamine. An old man was seated on the bank fishing, as we approached, making a very pretty picture.
Feb. 21, Tuesday. - A letter from Mecca Joyner, saying she is coming to make me ha visit, and I must meet her in Albany on Wednesday. Just as I had finished reading it a buggy drove up with Flora Maxwell and Capt. Rust, from Gopher Hill. Flora has a great reputation for beauty, but I think her even more fascinating and elegant than beautiful. Capt. Rust is an exile from Delaware, and a very nice old gentleman, whom the Maxwells think a great deal of. He was banished for helping Southern prisoners to escape across the lines. He tells me that he sometimes had
as many as fourteen rebels concealed in his house at one time.
Albert Bacon called after tea and told us all about the Hobbs poetry, and teased me a good deal at first by pretending that Capt. Hobbs was very angry. He says everybody is talking about it and asking for copies. I had no idea of making such a stir by my little joke. Metta and I were invited to spend this week at Stokes Walton's, but company at home prevented. We are going to have a picnic at the Henry Bacons' lake on Thursday, and the week after we expect to begin our journey home in good earnest. Sister is going to visit Brother Troup in Macon at the same time, and a large party from Albany will go that far with us. I have so much company and so much running about to do that I can't find time for anything else. I have scribbled this off while waiting for breakfast.
Feb. 22, Wednesday. - I went to Albany and brought Mecca Joyner and Jim Chiles home with me. I took dinner with Mrs. Sims and met several friends, whom I invited to our picnic. Sister had a large company to spend the evening, and they stayed so late that I grew very sleepy. I am all upset, anyway, for letters from home have come advising us to stay here for the present, where there is plenty to eat, and less danger from Yankees now, than almost anywhere else. It must be perversity, for when I thought I had to go home I wanted to stay here, and now that father
wants me to stay, I am wild to go. I have written him that he had better order me back home, for then I would not care so much about going. Now that the Yanks have passed by Augusta and are making their way to Columbia and Charleston, I hope they will give Georgia a rest.
Feb. 23, Thursday. - The picnic was stupid. It must be that I am getting tired of seeing the same faces so often. Albert Bacon and Jim Chiles came home with us, and we enjoyed the evening. Capt. Rust is a dear old fellow, and Miss Connor and Maj. Camp added a little variety. Capt. Rust and Mr. Bacon proposed a ride across country for the morning, but there is not a riding habit in the family, nor a piece of cloth big enough to make one. I ruined mine in those fox hunts at Chunnenuggee Ridge last fall. Flora is a famous horsewoman, and I know she must be a good rider, for her every movement is grace itself. She is one of those people that gains upon you on acquaintance. She is so out of the commonplace. There is something stately and a little cold about her that reminds me of a beautiful lily, and yet there is a fascination about her that attracts everybody. All the men that come near her go wild over her, and I don't wonder. If I could write a novel, I would make her the heroine. She seems to stand on a higher plane than we common mortals, without intending or knowing it. Her simplicity and straightforwardness are her greatest charm.
Feb. 26, Sunday. - Flora and the captain have returned to Gopher Hill, whither Metta, Mecca, and I are invited to follow on Friday, when sister goes up to Macon. Jimmy Callaway and his father have just come from Washington with such glowing accounts of the excitement and gayety there that I am distracted to go back home. If father don't write for us to come soon, I think we will go to Chunnenuggee by way of Eufaula and the Chattahoochee, and if Thomas's raiders catch us over in Alabama, father will wish he had let us come home.
After dinner I took Mecca over to the Praise House to hear the negroes sing. I wish I was an artist so that I could draw a picture of the scene. Alfred, one of the chief singers, is a gigantic creature, more like an ape than a man. I have seen pictures of African savages in books of travel that were just like him. His hands and feet are so huge that it looks as if their weight would crush the heads of the little piccaninnies when he pats them; yet, with all this strength, they say he is a great coward, and one of the most docile negroes on the plantation. The women, when they get excited with the singing, shut their eyes and rock themselves back and forth, clapping their hands, and in the intervals, when not moved by the "sperrit," occupy themselves hunting for lice in their children's heads. Old Bob and Jim are the preachers, and very good old darkies they are, in spite of their religion. But the chief personages on the plantation are old
Granny Mimey, old Uncle Wally, and Uncle Setley, who are all superannuated and privileged characters. I tell sister that Uncle Wally has nothing to do, and Uncle Setley to help him. The latter is very deaf, and half crazy, but harmless. I am a special favorite of Uncle Wally's. We have a chat every morning when he passes through the back yard on his way to the cowpen. The other day he said to me: "You is de putties lady ever I seed; you looks jes' lack one er dese heer alablastered dolls."
We walked to the bluff on the river bank, after leaving the quarter, and sat there a long time talking. Spring is here in earnest. The yellow jessamines are bursting into bloom, and the air is fragrant with the wild crab apples.
March 1, Wednesday. - The weather has been so bad that we are thrown upon our own resources for amusement. Metta and Mecca play cards and backgammon most of the time, and Albert Bacon comes almost every day on some pretense or other. One very dark night when he was here, we told ghost stories till we frightened ourselves half to death, and had to beg him to stay all night to keep the bogies off. Mett and I take long tramps in the afternoons through mist and mud, but Mec does not like to walk. The lime sink is particularly attractive just now. The little stream that feeds it is swollen by the rains, and dashes along with a great noise. It is so full of little fish that one can catch them in the hand, and the swans
go there to feed on them. The whole wood is fragrant with yellow jessamines and carpeted with flowers.
Another letter from home that makes me more eager than ever to return. Gen. Elzey and staff are at our house, and the town is full of people that I want to see.
March 2, Thursday. - We left Pine Bluff at eleven o'clock and reached the Blue Spring in time for lunch. Albert Bacon and Jimmy Chiles were there to meet us. Hang a petticoat on a bean pole and carry it where you will, Jimmy will follow. The river is so high that its muddy waters have backed up into the spring and destroyed its beauty, but we enjoyed the glorious flowers that bloom around it, and saw some brilliant birds of a kind that were new to me. Mr. Bacon said he would kill one and give me to trim my hat.
March 3, Friday. Gopher Hill. - Up at daybreak, and on the train, ready to leave Albany. Albert and Jimmy were there, of course, besides a number of Albany people who had come to see us off - a great compliment at that heathenish hour. We got off at Wooten's Station, only twelve miles from Albany. Flora and Capt. Rust were there to meet us with conveyances for Gopher Hill. It is worth the journey from Pine Bluff to Gopher Hill just to travel over the road between there and Wooten's. It runs nearly all the way through swamps alive with the beauty and fragrance of spring. We passed through Starkesville
and crossed Muckolee Creek at the very spot where I had such an adventurous night in my childhood, traveling in the old stage coach that used to run between Macon and Albany. The swamps were overflowed then and we had to cross the creek in a canoe, and Cousin Bolling held me in his lap to keep me from falling out. On the other side of the creek, towards Gopher Hill, we came to an old Indian clearing where are some magnificent willow oaks that I recognized distinctly, though it is fourteen years since then.
Gopher Hill is seven miles from the station. It is like most plantation houses in this part of the world, where they are used only for camping a few weeks in winter - or were, before the war - a big, one-storied log cabin, or rather, a combination of cabins spread out over a full half acre of ground, and even then with hardly room enough to accommodate the army of guests the family gather about them when they go to the country. On each side of the avenue leading to the house is a small lake, and about two miles back in the plantation, a large one on which Flora has a row-boat. She has a beautiful pony named Fleet, that is the counterpart of our own dear little Dixie. Col. Maxwell has a great many fine horses and all sorts of conveyances, which are at the service of his guests. He is one of the most aristocratic-looking old gentlemen I ever saw. In manners, appearance, and disposition, he is strikingly like Brother Troup, except that the colonel is very large and commanding, while
Brother Troup is small and dapper. He is very handsome - next to Bishop Elliot, one of the finest specimens of Southern manhood I ever saw. It is one of the cases where blood will tell, for he has the best of Georgia in his veins, or to go back further, the best in old Scotland itself. Though over sixty years old, he has never been out of the State, and is as full of whims and prejudices as the traditional old country squire that we read about in English novels. His present wife, Flora's stepmother, is much younger than he, very gay and witty, and escapes all worry by taking a humorous view of him and his crotchets. He and Flora idolize each other, and she is the only person that can do anything with him, and not always even she, when he once gets his head fast set.
We had dinner at two o'clock, and afterwards went to a country school about two miles away, to hear the boys and girls declaim. The schoolmaster made so many facetious remarks about the ladies, that I asked Flora if he was a widower - he seemed too silly to be anything else - but she says he has a wife living; poor thing. We met Gen. Graves * at the schoolhouse and he rode back with us. We took to the woods and jumped our horses over every log we came to, just to see what he would do.
March 4, Saturday. - ... I had just finished writing some letters when Gen. Graves and Mr. Baldwin **
* Father of John Temple Graves, the
were announced and I went to the parlor. The general is consumedly in love with Flora, and Mr. Baldwin equally so with his bottle, but is nice-looking, and when not too far gone, quite agreeable. It is amusing to see good old Capt. Rust watching over him and trying to keep temptation out of his way. He stole the bottle out of his bedroom the first chance he could find, but not until the poor fellow had got more of it than was good for him. The weather cleared up after dinner and we went to Coney Lake, where the boat is - Flora and I on horseback, the rest in buggies and carriages. It is a beautiful place. Great avenues of cypress extend into the shallow waters near the shore, where we could float about in shady canals and gather the curious wild plants that grow there. Huge water lilies with stems like ropes and leaves as big as palm-leaf fans, float about in shady canals and great lotus plants, with their curious funnel-shaped pods and umbrella-like leaves, line the shores and shallows. The lake is so deep in the center that it has never been fathomed, being connected, probably, with a lime sink or an underground stream; but its waters are clear as crystal, and where they are shallow enough to show the bottom, all kinds of curious aquatic plants can be seen growing there in the wildest luxuriance. I took my first row with Mr. Baldwin, and wished myself back on shore before we had made twenty strokes. He was just far enough gone to be reckless, and frightened me nearly out of my wits by
rocking the boat till the gunwales dipped in the water, and then tried to pacify me with maudlin talk about swimming ashore with me if it should capsize. I picked up a paddle and tried to row the boat myself, and then he got interested in teaching me, and finally we came safe to land. I went out again with Capt. Rust, and enjoyed the last trip more than any. We were followed by an alligator, and Capt. Rust gathered for me some of the curious plants that were floating on the water. It was late when we started back to the house, and the ride was glorious. Flora and I amused ourselves by going through the woods and making our horses jump the highest logs we could find. Fleet was so full of spirit that I could hardly hold him in.
March 5, Sunday. - One of the loveliest days I ever saw. We went to a little Methodist church in Starkesville, for the pleasure of the drive.
After dinner we walked to the Bubbling Spring, and killed a big snake on the way. The spring is down in a gully, and is simply the mouth of a small underground stream that comes to the surface there. It throws up a kind of black sand that rises on the water like smoke from the stack of a steam engine. The water under ground makes strange sounds, like voices wailing and groaning. Just below the spring is a little natural bridge, the most romantic spot I have seen in the neighborhood. The rocks that border the stream are covered with ferns and brilliant
green mosses and liverworts. Palmettoes and bright flowering plants grow in the crevices, and the whole place is shaded by magnolias, willow oaks and myrtles, bound together by gigantic smilax and jessamine vines. At several places there are openings in the ground through which one can peep and see rapid water flowing under our feet. This whole country is riddled with underground streams. At Palmyra, not far from Albany, there is a mill turned by one. The stream was discovered by a man digging a well, to which an accident happened not uncommon in this country - the bottom dropped out. A calf that fell into the well and was supposed to be drowned, turned up a few days after, sound and safe. His tracks led to an opening through which issued water covered with foam. A great roaring was heard, which further exploration showed to come from a fine subterranean waterfall.
March 6, Monday. - After breakfast, we all piled into a big plantation wagon and went to see Prairie Pond, a great sheet of water covering over 200 acres. It has formed there since Col. Maxwell bought the Gopher Hill plantation. He says that when he first came here there was not a patch of standing water as big as his hand on all the acres now covered by Prairie Pond, and the great skeletons of dead forest trees still standing in the outer edges of the lake show that the encroachment of the water is still going on. Some years after he came to Gopher Hill, he says, a
blue spring on the other side of the plantation, that formed the outlet of an underground stream, became choked up from some cause, so the waters had no escape, and Prairie Pond began to form and has been slowly increasing ever since. Near the lake we came to two remarkable lime sinks. They are both very deep, and as round as drinking cups. One of them is covered with a green scum about an inch thick, composed of scaly plants, like lichens. Underneath this scum the water is clear as crystal. The stones all around are full of fossil shells, and we found some beautiful crystallized limestone that sparkled like diamonds.
We had to leave our wagon several hundred yards from the border of the pond and make our explorations on foot, for want of a wagon road. In returning we took the wrong direction and went a mile or two out of our way, getting very wet feet, and I tore my dress so that I looked like a ragamuffin into the bargain. When at last we reached home, the servants told us that Mr. and Mrs. Warren, with Gen. Graves, Mr. Baldwin, and Clint Spenser and Joe Godfrey from Albany, had come over to dinner, and not finding anybody at home, had set out in search of us. We girls scurried to our rooms and had just made ourselves respectable when Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Spenser, having tired of their wild-goose chase, came back to the house. Mecca and I got into the double buggy with them and started out to hunt up the rest of the
party. After dinner, we went to Coney Lake again. I went in the buggy with Joe Godfrey. He and Mr. Baldwin each invited me to take a row. I didn't go with Mr. Baldwin.
March 8, Wednesday. - I went up to Americus yesterday, with Flora and Capt. Rust, to see Cousin Bolling about my eyes, expecting to return to Gopher Hill on the afternoon train, but Cousin Bessie insisted that we should stay to dinner, and her attempt to have it served early was so unsuccessful that Capt. Rust and I got to the station just in time to see the train moving off without us. Flora had another engagement, that caused her to decline Mrs. Pope's invitation, so she made the train, but the captain and I had nothing for it but to spend the night in Americus and kill the night as best we could. I was repaid for the annoyance of getting left by the favorable report Cousin Bolling gave of my eyes. He says it is nothing but the effects of measles that ails them, and they are almost well. I occupied Flora's room that night. Cousin Bessie lent me one of her fine embroidered linen nightgowns, and I was so overpowered at having on a decent piece of underclothing after the coarse Macon Mills homespun I have been wearing for the last two years, that I could hardly go to sleep. I stood before the glass and looked at myself after I was undressed just to see how nice it was to have on a respectable undergarment once more. I can stand patched-up dresses, and even
take a pride in wearing Confederate homespun, where it is done open and above board, but I can't help feeling vulgar and common in coarse underclothes. Cousin Bessie has brought quantities of beautiful things from beyond the blockade, that make us poor Rebs look like ragamuffins beside her. She has crossed the lines by special permit, and will be obliged to return to Memphis by the 2d of April, when her pass will be out. It seems funny for a white woman to have to get a pass to see her husband, just like the negro men here do when their wives live on another plantation. The times have brought about some strange upturnings. Cousin Bolling is awfully blue about the war, and it does begin to look as if our poor little Confederacy was about on its last legs, but I am so accustomed to all sorts of vicissitudes that I try not to let thoughts of the inevitable disturb me. The time to be blue was five years ago, before we went into it. Before breakfast this morning I went out to make the acquaintance of Col. Maxwell's old mammy, Aunt Lizzie. She lives in a pretty little cottage on a corner of the lot, and is more petted and spoiled than any of his children. The day Cousin Bolling was first expected in Americus with his bride, Flora went to town to put the house in order for them, and asked Aunt Lizzie to cook dinner for the newly married pair.
"What you talkin' 'bout, chile?" was the answer. "I wouldn't cook fur Jesus Christ to-day, let alone Dr. Pope." Poor, down-trodden creature! what a
text for Mrs. Stowe! She has relented since then, however, and Cousin Bessie says often sends her presents of delicious rolls and light bread. She took me into favor at once, told me all about her "rheumatiz," and "de spiration" of her heart, and kissed my hand fervently when I went away. Capt. Rust was so afraid of being left again that he would not wait for the omnibus, but trotted me off on foot an hour ahead of time, although it was raining. We met Mr. Wheatley and Maj. Daniel on our way to the dépot, and they told us that a dispatch had just been received stating that the Yanks have landed at St. Mark's and are marching on Tallahassee. We first heard they were 4,000 strong, but before we reached the dépot, their numbers had swelled to 15,000.
March 9, Thursday. - Mrs. Warren gave a dinner party to which all the people from Gopher Hill and a good many from Albany were invited, but very few attended on account of the weather. It poured down rain all day, and in the afternoon there was a furious storm; but Mrs. Maxwell is always in for a frolic, so we left home at eleven, between showers, and got to the Warrens' just before the storm burst. Gen. Graves, Mr. Baldwin, Joe Godfrey, Albert Bacon, and Jim Chiles were the only ones there besides Mrs. Maxwell and her guests. There is a fine lake in front of Mr. Warren's house, but the weather gave us no opportunity for rowing. We dined at six, and it was so dark when we rose from the table that we had to
start for home at once. Mrs. Warren insisted on our staying all night, but there was company invited to spend the evening at Gopher Hill, so off we went in the rain. We took a new road to avoid some bad mud holes in the old one, and as a matter of course, lost our way in the numerous blind roads that cross each other in every direction through the pine woods, and which are all just alike except that they lead to different places - or to no place at all. The night was very dark and it rained furiously, though the wind had lulled. The glare of the lightning was blinding and terrific peals of thunder rang through the woods. Every few yards there were trees blown across the road, and the negro Mr. Warren had sent to guide us would have to grope about in the dark, hunting for some way around them. At last he confessed that he had lost his way, and then I fell back in a corner of the phaeton and began to say my prayers. As there was nothing else to do, we concluded to follow the blind path we were in, hoping it would lead somewhere. It did lead us with a vengeance, through ponds and bogs and dismal swamps where the frogs filled our ears with unearthly noises. But all things have an end, even piney woods byroads, and at last we came out upon a broad smooth highway, which the guide recognized as the one he was looking for. Our troubles were now over, and in a short time we were back at Gopher Hill. Though it was very late, we began to dance and enjoy ourselves in a fashion, but
everybody seemed to be more or less out of humor, for before we went to bed, I was made the confidante of four lovers' quarrels.
March 10, Friday. - A day of public fasting and prayer for our poor country, but there was little of either done at Gopher Hill. We had a late breakfast after our night's dissipation, and soon after, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Bacon came over and played cards till dinner-time. After dinner the gentlemen proposed a row on the lake, but Mrs. Maxwell and I were the only ones that had fasted and we wouldn't indulge in a frolic, and the others said they were afraid they might be drowned for their sins if they ventured on the water, so we drove to the station instead. We were too late to meet the train, but heard plenty of news. A tornado passed over the Flat Pond plantation yesterday, destroying every house on it and killing fifteen negroes; a schoolhouse was blown down and several children killed; on one plantation all the poultry was drowned, and two calves blown away and never came down again! So much for marvels. But the whole country between Wooten's and Gopher Hill is really flooded. One bridge that we crossed was entirely under water and seemed ready to give way and go down stream at any moment. Jimmy caught a gopher * in the road on our way home, and we saw rows of them sitting on logs in the swamps, as if they were having a prayer-meeting.
* A local name for a kind of terrapin common in that section.
March 11, Saturday. - Played euchre and wrote letters all the morning. Capt. Rust gave me a pretty tucking-comb which he had carved himself, out of maple wood. We had an early dinner and reached Wooten's at least half an hour before the train was due. At the dépot in Albany, Albert Bacon, Joe Godfrey, Mr. Baldwin, and Gen. Graves were waiting for us. We drove by the post office to get the mail, and there half a dozen others surrounded the carriage and took the reins from Uncle Aby so that he could not drive away. The people in the street laughed as they went by to see them buzzing round the carriage like bees, and presently Jim Chiles found Mary Leila Powers and Mrs. Bell and brought them up to add to the hubbub. Poor old Aby despaired of ever getting us out of town, and when at last we started down the street, we had not gone a hundred yards when I saw a young officer in a captain's uniform running after us and we came to another halt. It turned out to be Wallace Brumby. He says that he left Washington two weeks ago, and is water-bound here, on his way to Florida, where some of his men are straggling about, if they haven't been swallowed up by the freshets that have disorganized everything. He promised to stop at Pine Bluff on his way down, and give us the news. Then Uncle Aby grew desperate, and seeing another squad of officers coming up to join Capt. Brumby, whipped up his horses and drove off without further ceremony. He was right to hurry, for the
roads are so flooded that we had to travel 20 miles to get home. Everything is under water. In some places the front wheels were entirely submerged and we had to stand on the seats to keep our feet dry. It was nine o'clock before we reached home, and Mrs. Butler and Mrs. Meals had become so uneasy that they were about to send a man on horseback to see what had become of us. I found letters from home waiting for us, with permission to go to Chunnennuggee or anywhere else we want to. Communication between here and Washington is so interrupted that I don't suppose they have heard yet of the reported raid into Florida, and all our writing back and forth is at cross purposes. The latest news is that the Yankees have whipped our forces at Tallahassee, but the waters are so high and communication so uncertain that one never knows what to believe. At any rate, I shall not run till I hear that the enemy are at Thomasville.
March 13, Monday. - Mett, Mecca, and I took a long drive to look at some new muslin dress goods that we heard a countryman down towards Camilla had for sale. They were very cheap - only twenty dollars a yard. Mett and I each bought a dress and would have got more if Mrs. Settles, the man's wife, would have sold them. How they came to let these two go so cheap I can't imagine. I felt as if I were cheating the woman when I paid her 500 dollars in Confederate money for 20 yards of fairly good lawn.
We stopped at Gum Pond on the way back and paid a visit. Albert Bacon gave me a beautiful red-bird that he shot for me to trim my hat with.
March 16, Thursday. - Rain, rain, rain, nothing but rain! The river is out of its banks again and all that part of the plantation overflowed. A chain of ponds and lime sinks shuts us in behind, a great slough of backwater from the river cuts us off from the negro quarter, Wright's Creek is impassable on the North, and the Phinizy pond on the east. We are completely water-bound; nobody can come to us and we can go nowhere. The carriage house was blown down in the storm on Tuesday night and the carriage will have to be repaired before we can use it again. We have not even the mail to relieve the monotony of life; sometimes the hack does not pass Gum Pond for four days at a time.
March 20, Monday. - The rain has stopped at last and the waters are beginning to subside, but the roads are terrible. We have had a mail at last, too, and a long letter from home giving us carte blanche as to future movements; as dear old father expressed it: "Go where you please, when you please, do what you please and call on Mr. Farley or Mr. Butler for all the money you need." That is the way I like to be treated. I think now we will go to Chunnennuggee by way of Eufaula and the Chattahoochee. The river trip would be pleasant, and Jenny and Julia Toombs are with their aunt in Eufaula, who has invited us
to meet them there. However, our movements are so uncertain that I don't like to make engagements. We will stop a few days in Cuthbert with the Joyners, anyway.
March 21, Tuesday. Albany. - Pouring down rain again, but the carriage had to go to Albany anyway, to meet sister, and Mecca was hurried home by news of the death of her aunt, so I rode in to the station with her. The roads are horrible - covered with water most of the way, and the mischief with these piney woods ponds is that you never know what minute the bottom is going to drop out and let you down with it to the Lord only knows where. The carriage was so much out of order that I expected the hind wheels to fly off at every jolt. I sent it to the shop to be repaired as soon as Mecca and I were safely deposited at Mrs. Sims's. The train was not due till three, and our good little friend occupied the time in trying to convert Mecca. Mec didn't abjure on the spot, but held out a flag of truce by remarking that her father had been baptized and brought up in the Episcopal Church. His apostasy only made matters worse in Mrs. Sims's eyes; she could not understand how anybody reared in the true faith could fall away and become a dissenter.
"Oh, he was surfeited with the prayer-book when a boy, he says," Mecca explained, laughing, "like he was with hominy and milk. Grandma used to make him eat it for breakfast every morning whether he
wanted it or not, and in the same way she made him go to the Episcopal Church every Sunday, whether he wanted to or not, and so, as soon as he was old enough to have his own way, he swore off from both."
"Why," exclaimed the zealous proselytes, "I don't see why he should have let his dislike of hominy and milk drive him out of the church!
Mecca tried to explain. Mrs. Sims shook her head. "Oh, I know," she said, "but don't you think he did wrong to let such a thing as that cause him to leave the church? I don't see what hominy and milk could have to do with anybody's religion."
Mec laughed and gave it up. The rain stopped about dinner-time and it was beautifully clear when I drove to the dépot for sister. She was very tired and went directly to Mrs. Sims's, but Mecca and I walked down Broad street to the post office, where we were joined by Mr. Godfrey and Dr. Vason. They and a number of others called in the evening.
March 22, Wednesday. - Up very early and drove to the dépot with Mecca. Mr. Godfrey was there and proposed that we should go as far as Smithville with her, and let him drive me out home in the afternoon, but the roads are so bad and the weather so uncertain that I thought I had better go back with sister. The journey was the worst we have made yet. We bogged at one place and had to wade through the mud while Aby helped the mules to pull the carriage over. At Wright's Creek we found a crowd of
soldiers and countrymen on the bank, and they told us the creek was too high to cross. Some of them were exchanged prisoners impatient to get home, and they had determined to swim over. They stood on the bank with bare legs, ready to strip off and plunge in the moment our backs were turned. I couldn't help being amused at the nonchalance with which one burly fellow pulled off his stockings and commenced playing with his toes while talking to us. Another, wishing to call sister's attention to the water-mark, grabbed her by the arm and led her down the bank, saying:
"See this here stick here, where the water has already begun to fall, an' hit'll fall a heap rapider the next hour or two."
They meant no harm. These are unceremonious times, when social distinctions are forgotten and the raggedest rebel that tramps the road in his country's service is entitled to more honor than a king. We stood on the bank a long time, talking with the poor fellows and listening to their adventures. There was one old man standing on the shore, gazing across as wistfully as Moses might have looked towards the promised land. He could not swim, but his home was over there, and he had made up his mind to plunge in and try to cross at any risk. The soldiers saluted him with a few rough jokes, and then showed their real metal by mounting him on the back of the strongest of them, who waded in with his burden, while two others swam along on each side to give help
in case of accident. Sister and I thought at first of getting Gen. Dahlgren to send us across in his pleasure boat, but soon gave up the idea and concluded to stay at the Mallarys' till the creek became fordable, for we knew it would fall as rapidly as it had risen. We bid our soldier friends good-by, and drove away to the Mallarys', where we spent a pleasant day and night. Gen. and Mrs. Dahlgren called after dinner and said that we ought to have stopped with them. Mrs. Dahlgren is a beautiful woman, and only twenty-two years old, while her husband is over sixty. He is a pompous old fellow and entertained us by telling how his influence made Gen. Joseph E. Johnston commander-in-chief of the Army of Tennessee; how Hood lost Atlanta by not following his (Dahlgren's) advice; how he was the real inventor of the Dahlgren gun, which is generally attributed to his brother, the Yankee admiral - and so on.
March 23, Thursday. - We left the Mallarys' soon after breakfast and were successful in crossing the creek. It seems hard to believe that this stream, which is giving so much trouble now, will be as dry as a baked brick next summer. The road on the other side was fairly good and we got home long before dinner-time. No letters waiting for me, but a package from Mr. Herrin of Chunnennuggee, containing a beautiful fox tail in memory of our hunts together on the Ridge last winter.
March 27, Monday. - Went to call on the Callaways,
Mallarys, and Dahlgrens. The general and his wife were just starting out to make calls when we drove up, so we went along together. The roads are so perfectly abominable that it is no pleasure to go anywhere. At one place the water was half a foot deep in the bottom of the carriage, and we had to ride with our feet cocked up on the seats to keep them dry. Some of the ponds were so deep as almost to swim the mules, and others were boggy. We stopped at the post office on our way home and found a letter from Mec urging us to come over to Cuthbert right away.
March 28, Tuesday. - Misses Caro and Lou Bacon spent the day with us, but I could not enjoy their visit for thinking of the poor boy, Anderson, who has been sent to jail. He implored me to beg "missis" to forgive him, and I couldn't help taking his part, though I know he deserved punishment. He refused to obey the overseer, and ran away four times. A soldier caught him and brought him in this morning with his hands tied behind him. Such sights sicken me, and I couldn't help crying when I saw the poor wretch, though I know discipline is necessary, especially in these turbulent times, and sister is sending him to jail more as an example to the others than to hurt him. She has sent strict orders to the sheriff not to be too severe with him, but there is no telling what brutal men who never had any negroes of their own will do; they don't know how to feel for the poor creatures.
March 31, Friday. - Mrs. Callaway gave a large dining, and I wore a pretty new style of head dress Cousin Bessie told me how to make, that was very becoming. It is a small square, about as big as my two hands, made of a piece of black and white lace that ran the blockade, and nobody else has anything like it. One point comes over the forehead, just where the hair is parted, and the opposite one rests on top of the chignon behind, with a bow and ends of white illusion. It has the effect of a Queen of Scots cap, and is very stylish. The dining was rather pleasant. Kate Callaway's father, Mr. Furlow, was there, with his youngest daughter, Nellie, who is lovely.
As we were coming home we passed by a place where the woods were on fire, and were nearly suffocated by the smoke. It was so dense that we could not see across the road. On coming round to the windward of the conflagration it was grand. The smoke and cinders were blown away from us, but we felt the heat of the flames and heard their roaring in the distance. The volumes of red-hot smoke that went up were of every hue, according to the materials burning and the light reflected on them. Some were lurid yellow, orange, red, some a beautiful violet, others lilac, pink, purple or gray, while the very fat lightwood sent up columns of jet-black. The figures of the negroes, as they flitted about piling up brush heaps and watching the fire on the outskirts of the
clearing, reminded me of old-fashioned pictures of the lower regions.
April 1, Saturday. - There was fooling and counter fooling between Pine Bluff and Gum Pond all day. Jim Chiles and Albert Bacon began it by sending us a beautiful bouquet over which they had sprinkled snuff. We returned the box that had held the flowers, filled with dead rats dressed up in capes and mob caps like little old women. Then Albert tried to frighten us by sending a panicky note saying a dispatch had just been received from Thomasville that the Yankees were devastating the country round there, and heading for Andersonville. We pretended to believe it, and sister wrote back as if in great alarm, inquiring further particulars. Albert got his father to answer with a made-up story that he and Wallace had both gone to help fight the raiders at Thomasville. They must have thought us fools indeed, to believe that the enemy could come all the way from Tallahassee or Savannah to Thomasville, without our hearing a word of it till they got there, but we pretended to swallow it all, and got sister to write back that Metta and I were packing our trunks and would leave for Albany immediately, so as to take the first train for Macon; and to give color to the story, she sent word for Tommy, who was spending the day with Loring Bacon, to come home and tell his aunties good-by. They were caught with their own bait, and Albert and Jimmy, fearing they had carried the joke
too far, came galloping over at full speed to prevent our setting out. We saw them coming across the field, and Mett and I hid ourselves, while sister met them with a doleful countenance, pretending that we had already gone and that she was frightened out of her wits. She had rubbed her eyes to make them look as if she had been crying, and the children and servants, too, had been instructed to pretend to be in a great flurry. When the jokers confessed their trick, she pretended to be so hurt and angry that they were in dismay, thinking they had really driven us off, though all the while we were locked in our own room, peeping through the cracks, listening to it all, and ready to burst with laughter. They had mounted their horses and declared that they would go after us and fetch us back, if they had to ride all the way to Albany, when old Uncle Setley spoiled our whole plot by laughing and yawping so that he excited their suspicion. They got down from their horses and began to look for wheel tracks on the ground, and at last Jim, who missed his calling in not being a detective, went and peeped into the carriage-house and saw the carriage standing there in its place. This convinced them that we had not gone to Albany, but where were we? Then began the most exciting game of hide-and-seek I ever played. Such a jumping in and out of windows, crawling under beds and sliding into corners, was never done before. The children and servants, all but old fool Setley, acted their parts
well, but Jimmy was not to be foiled. They bid sister good-by several times and rode away as if they were going home, then suddenly returned in the hope of taking us by surprise. At last, after dark, we thought they were off for good, and went in to supper, taking the precaution, however, to bar the front door and draw the dining-room curtains. But we had had hardly begun to eat when Jimmy burst into the room, exclaiming:
"Howdy do, Miss Fanny; you made a short trip to Albany."
We all jumped up from the table and began to bombard him with hot biscuits and muffins, and whatever else we could lay hands on. Then Mr. Bacon came in, a truce was declared, and we sat down and ate supper - or what was left of it - together. After supper we made Uncle Aby hitch up the carriage and drive us over to Gum Pond to surprise the family there. I dressed myself up like an old cracker woman and went in and asked for a night's lodging. Maj. Bacon thought I was Leila trying to play a trick on him, so he dragged me very unceremoniously into the middle of the room, under the lamp, and pulled my bonnet off. It was funny to see his embarrassment when he saw his mistake; he is so awfully punctilious. He said he was in the act of writing a note to send after us to Albany, when I came in. They were all so delighted at finding they had not frightened us out of the country, that we had a grand jubilee together.
We counted up before returning home, and found that forty-four miles had been ridden back and forth during the day on account of this silly April-fooling. I don't think I ever enjoyed a day more in my life. It began happily, too, with Anderson's return from jail early in the morning, and peace-making with his "missis." I expect we were all as glad of the poor darkey's release as he was himself. Mett says she wouldn't care much if they could all be set free - but what on earth could we do with them, even if we wanted to free them ourselves? And to have a gang of meddlesome Yankees come down here and take them away from us by force - I would never submit to that, not even if slavery were as bad as they pretend. I think the best thing to do, if the Confederacy were to gain its independence, would be to make a law confiscating the negroes of any man who was cruel to them, and allowing them to choose their own master. Of course they would choose the good men, and this would make it to everybody's interest to treat them properly.
April 2, Sunday. - I went to church at Mt. Enon. After service we stopped to tell everybody good-by, and I could hardly help crying, for we are to leave sure enough on Tuesday, and there is no telling what may happen before we come back; the Yankees may have put an end to our glorious old plantation life forever. I went to the quarter after dinner and told the negroes good-by. Poor things, I may never see
any of them again, and even if I do, everything will be different. We all went to bed crying, sister, the children, and servants. Farewells are serious things in these times, when one never knows where or under what circumstances friends will meet again. I wish there was some way of getting to one place without leaving another where you want to be at the same time; some fourth dimension possibility, by which we might double our personality.