A Widow Routs a Confederate Brigade, 1864

[“Our Army Correspondence,” Daily South Carolinian, May 10, 1864:]


1. Civil War—civilian roles]

I must not close this letter without telling you something of a lady, strange in name and character, who is at present, our [Kershaw’s Brigade] near neighbor. She is a widow, neither young nor old. In her maiden days she was quite a belle, with the reputation of being rather fast. The evening of her marriage, she deserted her husband, an excellent and learned gentleman, and subjected him to several days of suspense, uneasiness and “hope deferred.” She goes about with a Bowie knife, a pair of pistols, and four fierce dogs, and is “jealous in honor,” “quick of quarrel,” and believes in righting herself with her own fair hands. A poor fellow was driven in disgrace, from her yard, because he had dared to appear before her without a coat. Whole companies, even regiments, with dignified and gallant colonels at their head, have been caused, to flee, ignominiously, from her grass fields, whither they had, innocently, come to drill. The “old soldiers,” who visit houses and represent that they have had “nothing to eat for three days,” and beg young ladies “to play a tune on the piano, for a sick soldier,” calling at her house, in due course, were unmasked, and frightened almost out of their wits. The guard assigned her, she stations in her fields, declaring that she needs no help in the protection of her premises. In short, Kershaw’s Brigade, that has stood undaunted on so many battle fields, has been completely cowed and frightened by a woman. A few days ago, we moved from a beautiful camp on her lands, to a much inferior location, for no other reason, it is said, than to get farther off from the danger, and to quiet the nerves of the colonel commanding, and his staff, whom she was disposed to make personally responsible for all grievances. Pray let no copies of this letter come this way, for should the “terrible widow” see and become offended, your correspondent would, most certainly, “go up.”

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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