12 January 1865: “…wish I had been born here instead of in Georgia! That whole State is utterly demoralized, and ready to go back into the Union.”

Item description: Entry, dated 12 January 1865, from the diary of Emma Florence LeConte, the daughter of scientist Joseph LeConte of Columbia, S.C.


Item citation: From the Emma LeConte Diary, #420-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Jan. 12th.

Last night Cousin Lula and Johnnie came over and we all – Mother, Mr. Memminger – son of father’s old friend Col. Memminger, and who had been with us for quite a while before father left, and still seems like a member of the family – Walter, Cousin Lula and myself, gathered round the table and made “kiss verses” all the evening for our grand bazaar. As might be supposed there was lots of nonsense and laughing over our work – if I except Walter, who was as silent as usual. I do not know what is the matter with him, he used to be so very talkative and now he is so gloomy – perhaps it is his health.

Troops have been passing through Columbia for some days and I feel a little safer, though if Joe Johnston is put in command we had as well pack up and prepare to run. He will certainly execute one of his “masterly retreats” from the coast back to Virginia, and leave us at Sherman’s mercy. I hear that Sherman has drawn his troops back from South Carolina to Savannah. Some think this bodes ill for Gen. Hood, who is in Alabama or Mississippi or somewhere else, and may be caught in a trap between Sherman and Thomas. I hope not. Cousin Lula says they had a letter from Julian yesterday. He, who used to be such an ardent Georgian, is down on the State for behaving so shamefully. He says all his Company have abjured their State, and made a vow never to live in it, especially in Savannah. As for me, I am a South Carolinian. I have lived here almost since I can remember, and only wish I had been born here instead of in Georgia! That whole State is utterly demoralized, and ready to go back into the Union. Savannah has gone down on her knees, and humbly begged pardon of Father Abraham, gratefully acknowledging Sherman’s clemency in burning and laying waste their State! Oh it is a crying shame, such poltronnery! *******************

Father writes that he will try to get them all out of Liberty County under a flag-of-truce. I wish he would make haste and come home – who can tell how soon communication may be cut off. *********************

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