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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

April 24, 1865

Diary Mentioned Soldiers from Lee’s Army Passing Through

Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of soldiers from General Robert E. Lee’s army - most in deplorable condition - passing through her hometown of Washington, Georgia on their way home. She also mentioned a flower that would eventually become Georgia’s state flower - the Cherokee Rose.

“The shattered remains of Lee’s army are beginning to arrive. There is an endless stream passing between the transportation office and the depot, and trains are going and coming at all hours. The soldiers bring all sorts of rumors and keep us stirred up in a state of never-ending excitement. Our avenue leads from the principal street on which they pass, and great numbers stop to rest in the grove. Emily is kept busy cooking rations for them, and pinched as we are ourselves for supplies it is impossible to refuse anything to the men that have been fighting for us. Even when they don’t ask for anything the poor fellows look so tired and hungry that we feel tempted to give them everything we have. Two nice-looking officers came to the kitchen door this afternoon while I was in there making some sorghum cakes to send to Gen. Elzeys camp They then walked slowly through the back yard, and seemed reluctant to tear themselves away from such a sweet, beautiful place. Nearly everybody that passes the street gate stops and looks up the avenue and I know they can’t help thinking what a beautiful place it is. The Cherokee rose hedge is white with blooms. It is glorious. A great many of the soldiers camp in the grove, though Col. Weems [the Confederate commandant of the post] has located a public camping-ground for them further out of town. The officers often ask for a night’s lodging, but our house is always so full of friends who have a nearer claim, that a great many have to be refused. It hurts my conscience ever to turn off a Confederate soldier on any account, but we are so overwhelmed with company - friends and people bringing letters of introduction - that the house, big as it is, will hardly hold us all, and members of the family have to pack together like sardines….” Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 181-183.