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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

March 08, 1865

Diary Entry on Rare Luxury

Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of having a rare luxury during the war, although she usually was content with the Confederate version. She added a note at the end about hearing of Yankees approaching from Florida.

“I went up to Americus yesterday, with Flora and Capt. Rust, to see Cousin Bolling about my eyes, expecting to return to Gopher Hill on the afternoon train, but Cousin Bessie insisted that we should stay to dinner, and her attempt to have it served early was so unsuccessful that Capt. Rust and I got to the station just in time to see the train moving off without us. Flora had another engagement, that caused her to decline Mrs. Pope’s invitation, so she made the train, but the captain and I had nothing for it but to spend the night in Americus and kill the night as best we could. I was repaid for the annoyance of getting left by the favorable report Cousin Bolling gave of my eyes. He says it is nothing but the effects of measles that ails them, and they are almost well. I occupied Flora’s room that night. Cousin Bessie lent me one of her fine embroidered linen nightgowns, and I was so overpowered at having on a decent piece of underclothing after the coarse Macon Mills homespun I have been wearing for the last two years, that I could hardly go to sleep. I stood before the glass and looked at myself after I was undressed just to see how nice it was to have on a respectable undergarment once more. I can stand patched-up dresses, and even take a pride in wearing Confederate homespun, where it is done open and above board, but I can’t help feeling vulgar and common in coarse underclothes. Cousin Bessie has brought quantities of beautiful things from beyond the blockade, that make us poor Rebs look like ragamuffins beside her. She has crossed the lines by special permit, and will be obliged to return to Memphis by the 2d of April, when her pass will be out. It seems funny for a white woman to have to get a pass to see her husband, just like the negro men here do when their wives live on another plantation. The times have brought about some strange upturnings. Cousin Bolling is awfully blue about the war, and it does begin to look as if our poor little Confederacy was about on its last legs, but I am so accustomed to all sorts of vicissitudes that I try not to let thoughts of the inevitable disturb me. The time to be blue was five years ago, before we went into it. Before breakfast this morning I went out to make the acquaintance of Col. Maxwell’s old mammy, Aunt Lizzie. She lives in a pretty little cottage on a corner of the lot, and is more petted and spoiled than any of his children. The day Cousin Bolling was first expected in Americus with his bride, Flora went to town to put the house in order for them, and asked Aunt Lizzie to cook dinner for the newly married pair. “What you talkin’ ‘bout, chile?” was the answer. “I wouldn’t cook fur Jesus Christ to-day, let alone Dr. Pope.” Poor, down-trodden creature! what a text for Mrs. Stowe! She has relented since then, however, and Cousin Bessie says often sends her presents of delicious rolls and light bread. She took me into favor at once, told me all about her “rheumatiz,” and “de spiration” of her heart, and kissed my hand fervently when I went away. Capt. Rust was so afraid of being left again that he would not wait for the omnibus, but trotted me off on foot an hour ahead of time, although it was raining. We met Mr. Wheatley and Maj. Daniel on our way to the depot, and they told us that a dispatch had just been received stating that the Yanks have landed at St. Mark’s and are marching on Tallahassee. We first heard they were 4,000 strong, but before we reached the depot, their numbers had swelled to 15,000. ” Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 110-112.