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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

May 27, 1865

Diary Recorded Visit from John B. Gordon and Heartbreaking Task

Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of receiving a visit from General John B. Gordon, and a wife’s heart breaking task of having to tear Confederate buttons from her husband’s coat.

“The Gordons and Paces are here on their way home from Virginia. Nora was in Richmond when it was evacuated, her nurse deserted and went off to the Yankees, and she had an awful time coming out. The general [John B. Gordon] dropped in to see us; he is almost heartbroken over the fall of the Confederacy. His career in the army was so brilliant, no wonder he feels the bitter change for himself as well as for his country. After sitting awhile with Nora I went to see Mrs. Elzey and found her cutting off the buttons from the general’s coat. The tyrants have prohibited the wearing of Confederate uniforms. Those who have no other clothes can still wear the gray, but must rip off the buttons and decorations. The beautiful Hungarian knot, the stars, and bars, the cords, the sashes, and gold lace, are all disappearing. People everywhere are ransacking old chests, and the men are hauling out the old clothes they used to wear before the war, and they do look so funny and old-fashioned, after the beautiful uniforms we had all gotten used to! But the raggedest soldier of the Confederacy in his shabby old clothes is a more heroic figure in my eyes than any upstart Yankee officer in the finest uniform he can get into. … ” Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 269-270.