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Civil War Series

Life in Civil War America

   

THE SOUTHERN HOME FRONT (continued)

CONFEDERATE CHILDREN CAUGHT IN THE THROES OF WAR

Carrie Berry was too young to recall events in her home town of Atlanta when Georgia joined the Confederacy. But by 1864, when she turned ten, Berry reported the toll the war had taken. On her birthday, she revealed: "I did not have a cake. Times were too hard, so I celebrated with ironing. I hope by my next birthday we will have peace in our land so that I can have a nice dinner." Like those of many young white girls of the Confederacy, her formerly prosperous parents were unable to afford peace time luxuries. In 1864 Margaret Junkin Preston of Virginia was shocked to report in a letter: "G. and H. at Sally White's birthday party: H. said they had 'white mush' on the table; on inquiry, I found out it was ice cream! Not having made any ice cream since wartimes, the child had never seen any, and so called it white mush."

Emma Le Conte reported in 1865 at the ripe old age of seventeen: "I have seen little of the lightheartedness and exuberant joy that people talk about as the natural heritage of youth. It is a hard school to be bred up in and I often wonder if I will ever have my share of fun and happiness." Some girls tried to look on the bright side. Amanda Worthington in rural Mississippi confided: "I think the war is teaching us some useful lessons—we are learning to dispense with many things and to manufacture other."

ATLANTA CIVILIANS HUDDLE IN A SHELTER DURING A FEDERAL BOMBARDMENT. (COURTESY OF THE ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER)

The war also taught children some terrible lessons. Cornelia Peake McDonald remembered her three-year-old wailing and clinging to her doll Fanny, crying that "the Yankees are coming to our house and they will capture me and Fanny." Another mother recounted a traumatic incident during Sherman's march. When Union soldiers invaded her home, her six-year-old daughter hid with her treasures—a bar of soap and her doll. "One of the men approached the bed, and finding it warm, in a dreadful language accused us of harboring and concealing a wounded rebel, and he swore he would have his heart's blood. He stooped to look under the bed, and seeing the little white figure crouching in a distant corner, caught her by one rosy little foot and dragged her forth. The child was too terror-stricken to cry, but clasped her little baby and her soap fast to her throbbing little heart. The man wrenched both from her and thrust the little one away with such violence that she fell against the bed."

Such scenes created vivid memories and tales oft repeated. So throughout the war, and the years to come, the mere mention of "Yankees" might strike terror in Confederate children, stimulating fears that haunted them in darkened bedrooms or around dying campfires.


SOUTHERN COMMANDERS HAD TO SEEK WEAPONS FROM CIVILIAN SOURCES TO KEEP THEIR TROOPS ARMED. (UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA LIBRARY)

By 1864, when plantation mistress Clara Bowen was joined by her husband for a week's furlough, she hoped he would not return to the front and wrote to a friend: "Do not call me unpatriotic, Alice! I am sure farmers are as necessary to our suffering country as soldiers. Food and clothing must be made for the army as well as for the women and children—starvation would be a more powerful foe than those we are now contending with." By the time Bowen wrote from Ashtabula, South Carolina, southern agriculture was already in ruins.

African American labor was being spirited away for the Union cause—men as soldiers and women as cooks and laundresses. African Americans also served as nurses in government hospitals, drivers of supply wagons and ambulances, and cooks and valets within Confederate camps—all slaves donated or supervised by masters. Most important, the War Department could and often did have the authority to impress slave labor into service. Louisa McCord Smythe recalled that her family slaves were requisitioned in wartime Carolina.

Slaves remained at the root of the problem during the prolonged battle for southern independence. Only in the last few weeks of the war was the Confederate government willing to consider arming blacks in a desperate bid to continue the losing battle. But by as early as 1863 the floodgates of freedom had opened wide to African Americans who seized the opportunity to escape masters. This disintegrating process undermined the resolve of Confederates, especially non-slave owners who formed the majority of the fighting force. For those left behind on plantations, the process was even more painful to witness, as the spirit of emancipation created not so much a tidal wave of resistance as a strong and constant flow that washed over the South, eroding slaveholders' power with the sands of time, day by day.

EMANCIPATED AFRICAN AMERICANS WORKING AS FREE LABOR IN THE FIELDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA. (WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA—A TOWN THAT CHANGED HANDS FIFTY-TWO TIMES DURING THE WAR. (USAMHI)

WITHOUT SLAVES, MANY SOUTHERN FIELDS AND PLANTATIONS WENT UNTENDED. (LC)

The weakening of the Confederacy was most visible in those areas of the occupied South where escaped slaves, contrabands settled with families and expropriated Confederate lands, with the blessings of the federal government which leased property to blacks. On the South Carolina Sea Islands, a thriving community was established, what historian Willie Lee Rose has called a "rehearsal for Reconstruction." When federals conquered and secured the region in 1862, a community of ten thousand blacks were left behind. Many northern teachers moved in, including a young woman born into a prominent free black family in Philadelphia, Charlotte Forten. Forten had been educated in Salem, Massachusetts, and become a teacher herself. She felt excited by the challenge of traveling south to help the freedpeople and settled in at St. Helena Island, the lone black among the colony of northern teachers. In May 1864 the Atlantic Monthly published a two-part article chronicling her experiment, "Life on the Sea Islands," which provides a vivid record of this dramatic episode. She found exceptional pupils: "I wish some of those persons at the North who say the race is hopelessly and naturally inferior could see the readiness with which these children, so long oppressed and deprived of every privilege, learn and understand." As this experiment proved successful, federal authorities sold some of the sea island property to blacks during auctions for unpaid taxes.

Another successful experiment was conducted at Davis Bend, Mississippi, on land owned by the family of the Confederate president. When Jefferson Davis's brother was forced to abandon his plantation in 1862, he was unable to convince his slaves to accompany him, and when Union troops arrived, blacks had both expropriated the Big House and managed to run the place efficiently. By 1865 these self-sufficient African Americans turned the place into what General Grant called "a negro paradise."

"CONTRABANDS" SELF-LIBERATED SLAVES FOLLOWING POPE'S TROOPS. (LC)

Many women expressed complex sentiments in the wake of this development, like the insightful Mary Chesnut, who commented on a slave insurrection: "I have never thought of being afraid of negroes. I had never injured any of them; why should they want to hurt me?" After her cousin was strangled by slaves on a nearby plantation, she further claimed: "But nobody is afraid of their own negroes. These [her cousin's murderers] are horrid brutes—savages, monsters—but I find everyone, like myself, ready to trust their own yard." Plantation women were trained to repress all fears of slaves, to maintain the pretense that enslaved African Americans were happy, childlike creatures.

Desertion of plantations by slaves was an integral part of wartime, and, ironically, as one woman complained, "those we loved best, and who loved us best—as we thought—were the first to leave."

Seventeen slaves fled the Wickham plantation in Hanover County, Virginia, in June 1862 and another seventeen were "carried off" between June 26 and July 5, 1863. Over 250 slaves remained behind, but Wickham believed this loss a considerable blow. Slaves fleeing behind enemy lines did not just represent a loss of income but equally a loss of face.

Why were African Americans so anxious to escape slavery if it was the pleasant paternalistic system owners painted it? Confederates again and again portrayed scenes of slave loyalty to defend themselves against Yankee charges. Eyewitness southern accounts provide occasional refutation of these tender scenes. Belle Edmondson described rounding up runaways in Shelby County, Tennessee: "A family of negroes had got this far on their journey from Hernando to Memphis when Mr. Brent met them, and they ordered him to surrender to a Negro, he fired five times, being all the loads he had—killed one Negro, wounded another, he ran in the woods and we saw nothing more of him—one of the women and a little boy succeeded in getting off also." For the first time since the American Revolution, large numbers of women and children found freedom by deserting behind enemy lines. One mistress complained that slaves "in some cases have left the plantations in a perfect stampede."

A Union provost marshal reported in March 1864: "The wife of a colored recruit came into my Office tonight and says she has been severely beaten and driven from home by her master and owner. She has a child some two years old with her, and says she left two larger ones at home." Wives left to manage with depleting resources and a recalcitrant labor force took out their frustrations on remaining slaves. Emma Le Conte complained: "The field negroes are in a dreadful state; they will not work, but either roam the country, or sit in their houses . . . I do not see how we are to live in this country without rule or regulation."

A COTTON MILL IN PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA. (LC)

The lack of food and material comforts became so severe that some planters, to conserve supplies, simply turned slaves off the land. Mary Stribling reported that by the time of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, her father had already warned slave women and children he would resort to selling those who could not earn their own keep. Much of the scarcity was a product of contributing to the Confederate cause, as one Mississippi mistress explained: "My heart has yearned over our brave, noble, bare-footed ragged young men, & have done all I could in my limited way to meet their necessities. Our stock of cloth laid up for the negroes is almost exhausted, having given suits of clothes to the soldiers. We also have given hundreds of pairs of socks, the amount of 500, I think to the Army. Some three or four weeks since we sent twelve blankets, eight dozen pairs of socks, three carpet blankets, to Genl. Prices Army."

Besides the endless shipping of supplies, plantations were expected to host Confederate soldiers. Many gave generously to the anonymous sons of the Confederacy who imposed on their hospitality. Rebecca Ridley lived in the cook-house of her former plantation Fair Mont, outside Murfeesborough, Tennessee, after Yankees burned her home. Following a battle she reported: "The ground has been covered with snow and ice—freezing our poor unprotected soldiers . . . poor fellows, how my heart bleeds for them. They come in at the houses to warm, and get something to eat, and some of our citizens who pretend to be very Southern grudge them the food they eat—say they will be eat out."

The burdens of contact with Yankees were unbearable to most southern white women. Cordelia Scales, on her plantation eight miles north of Holly Springs, Mississippi, reported a visit from the Kansas Jayhawkers: "They tore the ear rings out of ladies ears, pulled their rings & breast pins off, took them by the hair; threw them down & knocked them about. One of them sent me word that they shot ladies as well as men & if I did not stop talking to them so & displaying my confederate flag, he'd blow my brains out." Amanda Worthington, also on a Mississippi plantation, told of the 20,000 bales of government cotton that went up in flames with over a thousand head of cattle and a thousand head of hogs and ten thousand bushels of corn lost to pillaging Yankees.

YANKEE TROOPS FORAGING ON A GEORGIA FARM. (BL)

A SOUTHERN ARTIST CAPTURED A SCENE FREQUENTLY REPORTED IN MEMOIRS OF YANKEE SOLDIERS TERRORIZING SOUTHERN CIVILIANS. (LC)

Sarah Huff, in northern Georgia, remembered that the "Yankees stripped us bare of everything to eat; drove off all the cattle, mules, horses; killed chickens; and turned their horses into a wheat field so that what the horses could not eat was destroyed by trampling." Dolly Lunt recalled a similar siege at her home near Covington, Georgia: "But like demons they rush in! My yards are full. To my smoke house, my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way." Mary Stribling in Fort Royal, Virginia, was appalled at Yankee conduct: "They came into the house and searched it several times and stole various articles of female apparel for which it is impossible to imagine what purpose they could use them . . . they threatened the girls with the worst treatment. They wrote all over the walls addressing the ladies as if they were writing a letter, they write low pieces of obscenity to which they signed Jeff Davis's name."

Some plantation houses in South Carolina and other regions proudly display Yankee graffiti today to preserve the defilement of their homes by soldiers who clearly weren't "gentlemen." Graffiti was a small problem compared to shelling. Further, arson was an awful crime which too many women witnessed. The savagery of this torching policy prompted Henrietta Lee to write directly to Union commander, General David Hunter:

"Yesterday your underling, Captain Martindale, of the First New York Cavalry, executed your infamous order and burned my house . . . the dwelling and every outbuilding, seven in number, with their contents being burned, I, therefore, a helpless woman whom you have cruelly wronged, address you, a Major General of the United States Army, and demand why this was done . . . . Hyena-like, you have torn my heart to pieces! For all hallowed memories clustered around that homestead; and demonlike, you have done it without even the pretext of revenge . . . . Your name will stand on history's pages as the Hunter of weak women, and innocent children: the Hunter to destroy defenseless villages and beautiful homes—to torture afresh the agonized hearts of widows."

But not all contact with Yankees was as brutal and hellish. Sallie Moore, a Virginian, reported that when a Union officer was inspecting a woman's home when climbing up the stairs "suddenly a string broke and a shower of spoons and forks came raining down the steps from under her hoops." In this tense moment, the soldier gallantly stooped to help the woman retrieve her silver, which he returned to her.

The testimony of southern blacks provides a powerful counterpoint to Confederate memoirs, as former slave Eliza Sparks of Virginia confided with special poignancy an encounter with a Yankee:

"I was nursin' my baby when I heard a gallopin', an' fo' I coud move here come de Yankees ridin' up . . . . The officer mought of been a general—he snap off his hat an bow low tome an' ast me ef diswas de way to Gloucester Ferry Den he lean't over an' patted de baby on de haid an' ast what was its name. I told him it was Charlie, like his father, Den he ast, 'Charlie what' an' I told him Charlie sparks. Den he reach in his pocket an' pull out a copper an' say, 'Well, you sure have a purty baby. Buy him something with this; an' thankee fo' de direction. Goodbye, Mrs. Sparks.' Now what you think of dat? Dey all call me 'Mrs. Sparks!'"

The slave presence was a trouble some issue for Confederate civilians. African Americans were both potential enemies as well as desperate allies within the plantation South. White women ironically might despair both over slaves running away and over slaves remaining behind to be looked after during federal invasion.

In the rich plantation region along the Combahee River in South Carolina, Union commander David Hunter, assisted by the intrepid scout and spy Harriet Tubman, recruited over 800 black soldiers during summer raids in 1863. By rousting slaves from their owners, spreading fear and mayhem in this and other successful operations, the North was able to wreak havoc with the plantation system—most effectively in the Mississippi Valley during the fall of 1863, when nearly 20,000 slaves deserted masters to join the Union army.

These forms of open rebellion were not as common as daily resistance. The enemies within came to represent as much of a threat to plantation productivity as invading foes. White southerners failed to grasp this reality until very late in the war. Indeed, by the time the tide had turned, some masters were forced to encourage slaves to run off—deprived of any means of feeding a dwindling work force. Especially in the battle-torn Virginia countryside, planters might record the number of runaways on a daily basis while northern troops crisscrossed the country.

BURIAL OF LATANÉ BY WILLIAM WASHINGTON (1864). WHEN THIS PAINTING WAS FIRST PUT ON DISPLAY, VIEWERS IN RICHMOND DROPPED COINS IN A BUCKET PLACED IN FRONT OF IT. TOUCHED BY THE THEME OF SACRIFICE. (MC)

ESCAPING CHARLESTON WITH THE THREAT OF UNION OCCUPATION. (LC)

SOUTHERN HOMEMAKERS MANUFACTURING CLOTHING. (LC)

Many black youth on plantations initially found the whole idea of war exotic and intriguing. Rachel Harris recalled, "I went with the white chillun and watched the soldiers marchin'. The drums was playing and the next thing I heerd, the war was gwine on. You could hear the guns just as plain. The soldiers went by just in droves from soon of a mornin' till sun down." But soon, the depletion of adult labor increased the burdens on slave children. Henry Nelson, only ten years old when the war broke out, remembered, "You know chillun them days, they made em do a man's work." Eliza Scantling, fifteen in 1865, remembered she "plowed a mule an' a wild un at dat. Sometimes me hands get so cold I jes' cry."


For slave children the prospect of an invading enemy was confusing and, at times, terrifying.

For slave children the prospect of an invading enemy was confusing and, at times, terrifying. One slave remembered being told by the overseer when the slave was only ten years old that Yankees had "just one eye and dat right in de middle of the breast." Mittie Freeman, also ten, hid in a tree when the first bluecoats arrived. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that black children overcame apprehensions and even became enamored of Union soldiers in many instances. Although they might empathize with the adults' sense of jubilation over impending freedom, at the same time they were children, overwhelmed and frightened by the prospect of any change. Additionally, carnage was close at hand, and many slave children witnessed frightening results. James Goings, only three when war broke out, recalled that by the end of the war "it wuzn't nuthin' to fin' a dead man in de woods."

IN TOWNS LARGE AND SMALL THROUGHOUT THE SOUTH. CITIZENS WOULD PROUDLY CHEER FOR THEIR BOYS MARCHING OFF TO WAR. (HARPER'S WEEKLY)

AN ATLANTA MANSION, SCARRED BY SHELLING. (LC)

Many black children sacrificed parents as well to the terrible conflict. As slave men fled the plantations, leaving wives and children behind, thousands were fatherless and hundreds were orphaned. Amie Lumpkin of South Carolina recalled her wartime loss: "My daddy go 'way to de war 'bout distime, and my mammy and me stay in our cabin alone. She cry and wonder where he be, if he is well or he be killed, and one day we hear he is dead. My mammy, too, pass in a short time." Slave children made their unwilling offerings, too.

The southern cult of sacrifice began on a rather high note of camaraderie and fellowship within the Confederacy. Parthenia Hague described the way women in the Alabama countryside would gather for spinning bees: "sometimes as many as six or eight wheels would be whirring at the same time." Hague was heartened by these efforts, but another confided, "Slowly but surely the South was 'bled white.' Luxuries, there were none." The search for necessities preoccupied most southern housewives, and one girl in Winchester complained: "Out shopping all morning. I'd give a cent if Jennie Baker would quit sending for me to buy things for her. Its the bane of my existence for every store here in town is bare and nothing you want in there. Here today I walked all over town and couldn't get anything I wanted."

Pooling resources was a game that may have been a festive ritual early in the war, but by 1862 scarcity was worrisome, and by the summer of 1863 inflation and rationing made putting food on the table a major ordeal. Lucy Johnston Ambler fretted in summer 1863: "Indeed everything looks very gloomy. From having a comfortable table, I am reduced to bacon bone . . . I have a very sick grandchild and several servants sick with no suitable medicine." These stories were kept from menfolk away at war.

A NORTHERN ARTISTS STARK IMAGE OF THE RICHMOND BREAD RIOT. (FL)

Women's sacrificial courage was summarized by Louisa McCord Smythe: "We would have died before we would complain to a man in the army. They had enough to bear without that." But after several seasons of war, no amount of sanitation could prevent soldiers from knowing the dire straits on the Confederate home front.

The constant cry for salt and bread echoed from the banks of the Shenandoah to the Delta and boomeranged back to the Confederate capital. A woman in Richmond wrote to a friend on April 4, 1863, in the wake of civil disturbances. She repeated the words of a young girl: "We are starving. As soon as enough of us get together we are going to the bakeries and each of us will take a loaf of bread. That is little enough for the government to give us after it has taken all our men." Nearly a thousand women and children banded together and "marched along silently and in order." They methodically emptied stores of goods and refused to stop even when the mayor confronted them to "read the Riot Act." The mob even ignored the city battalion. In desperation, Jefferson Davis appeared. The Confederate president was at first greeted with hisses, "but after he had spoken some little time with great kindness and sympathy, the women quietly moved on, taking their food with them." But over forty-eight hours later, an observer reported, "Women and children are still standing in the streets, demanding food, and the government is issuing to them rations of rice."

All of northern Virginia was alarmed by the Richmond Bread Riot and spread the word. One woman confided, "I am telling you of it because not one word has been said in the newspapers about it." People throughout the countryside certainly understood the impulse. Virginia Cloud of Fort Royal complained, "I do not think the speculative spirit, so prevalent, is at all patriotic. I fear there are many who love mammon more than their country." There is evidence of widespread scapegoating during this period, and Jewish merchants in the Confederate capital were targeted by unhappy civilians. Government censorship suppressed news of such disturbances, but these incidents erupted spontaneously throughout the South.

Feeding the Confederacy and keeping the economy going was an increasingly impossible task. Women were reduced to dreams and wishes. Without food, without money, many women were perilously close to the abyss. Sarah Rice Pryor, a refugee outside Petersburg, gave birth during a blizzard over Christmas 1863. Mother and newborn were still bedridden three months later when her husband sought her out and found his wife and three children abandoned by the maid and being cared for by a hired hand. The furloughed soldier, in shock at the crumbling state of affairs, sold goods to raise cash to care for his wife. It was his desire that she never "again fall into the sad plight in which he had found me."

From the war's opening hours on through to the end, Confederates employed dramatic religious rhetoric. A girl wrote to her cousin from South Carolina: "This is indeed a terrible war. How many hearts have been made desolate by its ravages. How many vacant places around the family altars. How terrible is the wrath of God, our sins as a people has brought this upon us and we should humble ourselves before Him. I believe that Genl. Jackson was taken from us because we were making a god of him, not for any sin or unrighteousness in him, for I believe that he was not only doing good work as a soldier of our Confederacy but also of the cross." Jackson was indeed worshiped and revered during his military career. After death, he became a martyr and after the war canonized as part of the Confederate trinity: Davis, Lee, and Jackson.

A BOMBED-OUT CHURCH IN DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON. (LC)

Christian faith gave these women their redemption as well. They struggled mightily to find some sense of the slaughter, to the endless drumbeat of defeat. Eliza Andrews, after a visit to Andersonville Prison, worried about vengeance: "I am afraid that God will suffer some terrible retribution to fall upon us for letting such things happen. If Yankees ever should come to South-West, Ga . . . and see the graves there, god have mercy on the land." This prophecy of doom perhaps came true in the form of William T. Sherman. Almost all white southerners recast Sherman's March as God's test of their faith. When Sherman's troops set off from Atlanta to Savannah, his men began in an orderly fashion, especially the first ten days, covering 275 miles. But after they reached Camp Lawton, a prisoner of war camp at Millen, many of the lawless brutalities emerged which made this campaign infamous.

Another severe test of faith came for many Confederates during the prolonged campaign to control Vicksburg, when thousands were caught up in the battle over this key port. This linchpin city on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River had been the focus of federal military strategy for months. Union General Ulysses S. Grant finally gathered 70,000 to assault the CSA force of 28,000 in the summer of 1863. Before surrender, the besieged Confederates would be reduced to eating horses, dogs, and rats. The bombardment was so fierce that civilians dug caves into the mountainside for shelter. The memoir of Mary Ann Loughborough documented the genuine hardships of civilians. Loughborough recalled an incident when a shell lobbed into the center of a cave, crowded with families: "Our eyes were fastened upon it, while we expected every moment the terrific explosion would ensue. I pressed my child closer to my heart and drew nearer to the wall. Our fate seemed almost certain; and thus we remained for a moment with our eyes fixed in terror on the missile of death, when George, the servant boy rushed forward, seized the shell, and threw it into the street, running swiftly in the opposite direction." Both George and the cave dwellers escaped injury.

TERROR IN THE GEORGIA COUNTRYSIDE AT THE APPROACH OF UNION GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN. (LC)
SHERMAN'S MARCH TO ATLANTA BY THOMAS NAST. THIS PAINTING DEPICTS SLAVES GREETING FEDERAL SOLDIERS WHILE THE PLANTATION OWNERS LOOK ON DISAPPROVINGLY. (COURTESY OF SOTHEBY'S)

Nerves frayed, supplies disappeared, and the determined Yanks maintained their attack. Scurvy, mule-skinning, and bombardment chipped away at morale. Wounded animals limped around looking for grass, evading butchers. Nightly shelling kept frightened children awake. The challenges were tremendous and daily life was precarious at best and, upon occasion, deadly.

Loughborough recalled a particularly awful day when one of the young girls, bored by confinement, ventured out: "On returning, an explosion sounded near her—one wild scream and she ran into her mother's presence, sinking like a wounded dove, the life blood flowing over the light summer dress in crimson ripples from a death wound in her side caused by the shell fragment. A fragment had also struck and broke the arm of a little boy playing near the mouth of his mother's cave." She recalled the frequency of heartwrenching "moans of a mother for her dead child."

After countless dead, the Confederates hoisted the white flag on July 4, 1863. The soldiers were placated by the dignity they were accorded. As the half-dead men stacked their arms, witnesses detected a note of sympathy from their Union conquerors. The treaty, concluded on a federal holiday, contained generous terms and nearly all soldiers were paroled.


LIFE IN VICKSBURG

Mary Jane Sitterman was visiting her quartermaster husband in Vicksburg when she got trapped by the advancing Union army closing in on Vicksburg from the east. She became a cave dweller during the siege and left the following account:

"We ... fitted the cave with the articles of housekeeping and were comfortably fixed. Our beds were arranged upon planks that were elevated on improvised stands, planks covered the ground floor, and these in turn were covered with matting and carpets. The walls surrounding the beds were also covered with strips of carpets, so all possible dampness was by a little care entirely eliminated. The wall carpeting was made adherent by small wooden pins or stobs."

Gordon Cotton, director of the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, relates the following in his Vicksburg: Southern Stories of the Siege (Vicksburg, 1988):

"Dora Miller noted that dogs and cats virtually disappeared from the streets and wondered where they went. In The Daily Citizen, Editor J. M. Swords described a dinner for eight shared by friends 'a delicious and featured rabbit' stew. He also pointedly mentioned that the cats had simultaneously disappeared and declared the felines of the city were an endangered species."

—Michael Ballard

THE SHELL BY HOWARD PYLE, 1908 (MR. AND MRS. HOWARD P. BROKAW, PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE BRANDYWINE RIVER MUSEUM)

The defeat at Vicksburg and almost simultaneous Union victory at Gettysburg (with 15,000 casualties out of the 60,000 rebels engaged) seemed a dress rehearsal for the final surrender in April 1865. Many women by this fateful time sensed the doom on the horizon and began, consciously or unconsciously, to contemplate surrender. They continued to consolidate their own position as women worthy of Greek tragedy; indeed, one woman writer composed such a narrative with her novel: Augusta Jane Evans's Macaria; or Altars of Sacrifice (1864). From this turning point in July 1863 to the treaty at Appomattox, hundreds of thousands were refugees, hundreds of thousands were wounded, and tens of thousands were buried. As they hoped and prayed for the final battle, few could contemplate life beyond war's end, afraid to anticipate the outcome.

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