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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

May 02, 1865

Diary Entry on Soldiers Pillaging and Some Famous Georgians

Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of more hungry soldiers breaking into stores, and commented on some famous Georgians.

“…The disorders begun by the Texans yesterday were continued to-day, every fresh band that arrived from the front falling into the way of their predecessors. They have been pillaging the ordnance stores at the depot, in which they were followed by negroes, boys, and mean white men. I don’t see what people are thinking about to let ammunition fall into the hands of the negroes, but everybody is demoralized and reckless and nobody seems to care about anything any more. A number of paroled men came into our grove where they sat under the trees to empty the cartridges they had seized. Confederate money is of no more use now than so much waste paper, but by filling their canteens with powder they can trade it off along the road for provisions. They scattered lead and cartridges all over the ground. Marshall went out after they left and picked up enough to last him for years. The balls do not fit his gun, but he can remold them and draw the powder out of the cartridges to shoot with. I am uneasy at having so much explosive material in the house, especially when I consider the careless manner in which we have to live. There is so much company and so much to do that even the servants hardly have time to eat. I never lived in such excitement and confusion in my life. Thousands of people pass through Washington every day, and our house is like a free hotel; father welcomes everybody as long as there is a square foot of vacant space under his roof. Meeting all these pleasant people is the one compensation of this dismal time, and I don’t know how I shall exist when they have all gone their ways, and we settle down in the mournful quiet of subjugation. … Gen. Toombs left to-night, but old Governor Brown, it is said, has determined not to desert his post. I am glad he has done something to deserve respect, and hope he may get off yet, as soon as the Yankees appoint a military governor. Clement Clay is believed to be well on his way to the Trans-Mississippi, the Land of Promise now, or rather the City of Refuge from which it is hoped a door of escape may be found to Mexico or Cuba. The most terrible part of the war is now to come, the “Bloody Assizes.” “Kirke’s Lambs,” in the shape of Yankee troopers, are closing in upon us; our own disbanded armies, ragged, starving, hopeless, reckless, are roaming about without order or leaders, making their way to their far-off homes as best they can. The props that held society up are broken. Everything is in a state of disorganization and tumult. We have no currency, no law save the primitive code that might makes right. We are in a transition state from war to subjugation, and it is far worse than was the transition from peace to war. The suspense and anxiety in which we live are terrible. ” Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 195-198.