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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

May 13, 1865

Diary Entry Wondered How Southerners Would Make Living

Eliza Frances Andrews took time away from Yankee bashing on this day to wonder how they were going to make a living now.

“The Yankees have stopped our mails, or else the mails have stopped themselves. We get no papers, but thousands of wild rumors from every direction take their place and keep us stirred up all the time. Among the arrivals to-day was Mr. Wyman, who brought with him a Dr. Nicholson, surgeon of his regiment [the 1st Alabama Cavalry], and the poor fellows were so starved that it made me tremble to see how our meager dinner disappeared before them, though it did my heart good, too, to see how they enjoyed it. They belong to Wheeler’s Cavalry, and we had a great time running them about being in such bad company. Mother said she was going to hide the silver, and Mr. Wyman told her she had better search the doctor’s pockets before he went away, and the doctor gave the same advice about Mr. Wyman. Their regiment was commanded by the Col. Blakey I met in Montgomery winter before last, and Mr. Wyman says he disbanded his men to get rid of them. They tell all sorts of hard jokes on themselves. A favorite topic of conversation at this time is what we are going to do for a living. Mary Day has been working assiduously at paper cigarettes to sell the Yankees. I made some myself, with the same intention, but we both gave them all away to the poor Confederates as fast as we could roll them. It is dreadful to be so poor, but somehow, I can’t suppress a forlorn hope that it won’t last always, and that a time may come when we will laugh at all these troubles even more heartily than we do now. But although we laugh, I sometimes feel in my heart more like crying, and I am afraid that father speaks the truth when he says that things are more likely to become worse than better. ” Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 249-251.