In Their Own Words
May 05, 1865
Yankees Arrived in Washington, Georgia
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of a long dreaded day - the arrival of Yankees in her hometown of Washington, Georgia.
“It has come at last - what we have been dreading and expecting so long - what has caused so many panics and false alarms - but it is no false alarm this time; the Yankees are actually in Washington. Before we were out of bed a courier came in with news that Kirke - name of ill omen - was only seven miles from town, plundering and devastating the country. Father hid the silver and what little coin he had in the house, but no other precautions were taken. They have cried “wolf” so often that we didn’t pay much attention to it, and besides, what could we do, anyway? After dinner we all went to our rooms as usual, and I sat down to write. Presently some one knocked at my door and said: “The Yankees have come, and are camped in Will Pope’s grove.” I paid no attention and went on quietly with my writing. Later, I dressed and went down to the library, where Dr. Cromwell was waiting for me, and asked me to go with him to call on Annie Pope. We found the streets deserted; not a soldier, not a straggler did we see. The silence of death reigned where a few hours ago all was stir and bustle - and it is the death of our liberty. After the excitement of the last few days, the stillness was painful, oppressive. I thought of Chateaubriand’s famous passage: “Lorsque dans le silence de l’abjection” &c. News of the odious arrival seems to have spread like a secret pestilence through the country, and travelers avoid the tainted spot. I suppose the returning soldiers flank us, for I have seen none on the streets to-day, and none have called at our house. The troops that are here came from Athens. There are about sixty-five white men, and fifteen negroes, under the command of a Major Wilcox. They say that they come for peace, to protect us from our own lawless cavalry - to protect us, indeed! with their negro troops, runaways from our own plantations! I would rather be skinned and eaten by wild beasts than beholden to them for such protection….”