On this day in 1865: Prisoner of war A.O. Abbott, first lieutenant in the 1st N.Y. Dragoons, recalls his release in Wilmington:
“We laughed, cried, hurrahed, hugged, kissed, rolled in the sand, and — rejoiced generally. Many declared it was the happiest day of their lives.
“The 6th Connecticut was encamped on the bank of the
[Cape Fear] river, and at the end of the pontoon bridge they had erected a bower of evergreens. In the centre of the arch was a card, surrounded by a beautiful wreath of evergreens, on which was printed, WELCOME, BROTHERS.”
“For many [in the ‘other South’] the past isn’t even past. In Warsaw, North Carolina, people giving directions for a back road route to Goldsboro commonly included the instruction to ‘turn left at Mattie Grady’s store.’ This store had been closed for years, and while the building was still standing, it took a close inspection to make out the faint outline of Mattie Grady’s name. To someone born and raised in Warsaw, it would always be Mattie Grady’s store, even when the store fell down.
“But… the growing number of people who have never farmed, the big city drug problem, the fleeing young people and the ubiquitous television culture do not bode well for such time capsules….”
–– From “Southern Culture: An Introduction” by John Beck, Wendy Jean Frandsen and Aaron Randall (2009)