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In Their Own Words

August 18, 1861

Journal Entry on Husband Leaving for War

In Richmond County, Gertrude Thomas experienced the emotions universally felt by all who send loved ones off to war:

“I have realized one of the most eventful moments in my life - Mr. Thomas has left for the seat of war - Yesterday afternoon The Richmond Hussars struck their tents and last night left for the Old Dominion. All day yesterday it rained. Mr. Thomas had his trunk packed the day before but there was constantly something to be added to it. For several days I had been busy preparing and finishing off. Friday it rained almost all day and the weather was in unison with my feelings - The long suppressed emotion would have vent and for several days I have wept when I would reflect how soon I would be left alone… .”

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 191-192.