N THEIR OWN WORDS.. voices from the unpleasantness, August 25

Stiles/Akin

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS.. voices from the unpleasantness,

August 25, 1861
Letter Described Good Meal and Admonished Coming to War
From Manassas Junction, Va., Confederate soldier H.C. Kendrick wrote to his brother back in Georgia:

“I have eaten dinner and what a dinner I did have! I made the butter and syrup fly, you may be sure. You know how I used to eat that old black syrup that we had in ‘59? Well, just like I ate that I eat here, maybe a little more so. I made the best biscuits I have had in some time. Then we had with that good old sheep meat, which was just as good as anything could be. One of the boys of our mess hollered, saying, “Come up here [to] the 9th Regiment and eat of our mutton. It is just as good as you ever saw in Georgia. Come up and eat of it.”

“Thomas, Sister E. said in her letter that you wanted to come to war. you listen to me, will you? I say I would not come if I was in your place. You had better stay there with Mother and Father and take care of them. They need protection. Where shall they get it if you come to old Virginia? Why, they cannot get it and you must stay there. You must not come to the conclusion that you would not be instrumental in gaining the rights of the country because you are not in the state of old Virginia but he reconciled with what you are doing and stay… .”
August 25, 1864
Diary Entry on Difficulty of Trading
William King of Cobb County wrote in his diary of the fear of one Union soldier staying with him as a guard, and of the difficulties of trading items.

“Last evening after supper [torn] guard left me to go [torn] for his Rations, & to return in 1/2 hour, but as he was not back at 9 o’clock I closed up & went to bed, feeling some anxiety about him, this morning he returned, saying as it was so late before he could get off, he concluded I would not care for his absence & remained in Camp. I told him my suspicion was, he was affraid the Gray Jackets would come here at night & take him prisoner; his friend who was with him said that was the true cause, as our House was out of the Lines, he thought he was exposed at Night, he does not want to go to Dixie, as his term of service will be out within 4 months. He went to town this morning & brought a Letter from Bro. Ralph urging me to make them a visit. I went to see old Mr. Hutchins this morning, he was better, & then went to the Picket Station to hear the News & see if the Country Wagons could succeed in bartering their little supplies for provisions, the soldiers were annoying them much, having nothing but money to buy with, while the country people only wanted provisions in exchange, & the soldiers were troubling them much, before I left them however, guards had been sent to protect them, & Dr. Miller’s Ambulance had come up to barter with them. I left them trading after having spent near an hour with them. …”

August 25, 1865
Southern Pride Despite Civil War Loss
Despite the dramatic change in her family’s fortunes following the end of the Civil War, Eliza Frances Andrews was unbowed - as this day’s journal entry attests:

“The Ficklens sent us some books of fashion brought by Mr. Boyce from New York. The styles are very pretty, but too expensive for us broken-down Southerners. I intend always to dress as well as my means will allow, but shall attempt nothing in the way of finery so long as I have to sweep floors and make up beds. It is more graceful and more sensible to accept poverty as it comes than to try to hide it under a flimsy covering of false appearances. Nothing is more contemptible than broken-down gentility trying to ape rich vulgarity - not even rich vulgarity trying to ape its betters. For my part, I am prouder of my poverty than I ever was of my former prosperity, when I remember in what a noble cause all was lost. We Southerners are the Faubourg St. Germain of American society, and I feel, with perfect sincerity, that my faded calico dress has a right to look with scorn at the rich toilettes of our plunderers. Notwithstanding all our trouble and wretchedness, I thank Heaven that I was born a Southerner, - that I belong to the noblest race on earth - for this is a heritage that nothing can ever take from me. The greatness of the Southern character is showing itself beyond the mere accidents of time and fortune; though reduced to the lowest state of poverty and subjection, we can still feel that we are superior to those whom brute force has placed above us in worldly state. Solomon says: “Better is a living dog than a dead lion,” but I don’t believe it, even if it is in the Bible.”
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