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In Their Own Words

August 03, 1864

Plight of Women Recorded in Diary

William King of Cobb County wrote in his diary of two women in desperate straits coming to see him for help - and many of their neighbors were in similar condition.

Just before dinner 2 poor Women who live on the Powder Springs Road with 2 little girls stopped at the House. 1 of the Women I had seen before, as they could not get into town, they had been to the Hospital at the Mil. Ins. to exchange Blackberries for provisions, they come about twice a week to effect such exchanges for Provisions, they live 7 miles off & their Horse having been stolen, they have to walk in & out with their small supplies. Many of these poor robbed people, having nothing at Home to live on, and sustaining themselves by gathering Blackberries & exchanging them for food, when the blackberries are gone, which are now nearly over, they must suffer; the whole county in the wake of the 2 Armies has been robbed of every thing, growing crops, gardens, Provisions, Poultry, Hogs, Cows, Horses, nearly every thing, in many cases their clothing & furniture either taken or destroyed by the soldiers of both armies, & often by the people of the County. All the wicked passions of the people seem to be left without restrain– such are some of the fruits of war. How often have I wished that I had with me all the warm advocates of this War to witness with me from day to day the sad effects of war, sufferings enough to melt the Heart. These poor women told me that all their neyhbours were about in the same condition as themselves, many in actual suffering from want. The men are all gone & none left but women, children & old & sick men. They came to see me to get advice what they should do, as they are now, many must starve ere long. We having only enough left to supply ourselves until next Winter, we cannot give much. I have aided them a little, but the wants of myself & the servants must be cared for. Nothing can be bought to eat, no one is allowed by the regulations of the Federal Army to sell food or clothing to the citizens. I do not understand the phylosophy of it, but so it is. …

Source: Diary of William King; Cobb County, Georgia, 1864