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In Their Own Words

April 28, 1865

Bitterness over End of Civil War Expressed in Journal

Two days after Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to William T. Sherman, thus ending the Civil War for Georgia, Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her journal of her distress and bitterness as she witnessed thousands of hungry and weary Confederate soldiers returning to Georgia from the battlefields of Virginia and North Carolina:

“I was busy all the morning helping to get ready for a supper that father gave to Gen. Elzey and staff. The table was beautiful; it shone like a mirror … everything on it solid silver, except the cups and saucers and plates, which were of beautiful old china… .But it was all in absurd contrast to what we had to eat. The cake was all made of sorghum molasses, and the strawberries were sweetened with the coarsest kind of brown sugar, but we were glad to have even that, and it tasted good to us hungry Rebs. Emily was kept so busy all day cooking rations for soldiers that she hardly had time for anything else, and I was so sorry for the poor fellows that no matter what I happened to have in my hand, if a soldier came up and looked wistfuly at it, I couldn’t help giving it to him. Some of them, as they talked to me about the surrender, would break down and cry like children… . In spite of his being a strong Union man, and his bitter opposition to secession, father never refuses anything to the soldiers. I blame the secession politicians myself, but the cause for which my brothers risked their lives, the cause for which so many noble Southerners have bled and died, and for which such terrible sacrifices have been made, is dear to my heart, right or wrong. The more misfortunes overwhelm my poor country, the more I love it; the more the Yankees triumph, the worse I hate them, wretches! I would rather be wrong with men like Lee and Davis, than right with a lot of miserable oppressors like Stanton and Thad Stevens. The wrong of disrupting the old Union was nothing to the wrongs that are being done for its restoration… .”

Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 187-189.