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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

May 31, 1865

Diary Entry on Former Slaves Mentioned Famous Author

Eliza Frances Andrews also wrote of problems facing former slaves, mentioning a famous writer - Harriet Beecher Stowe in the process.

“The Yankees have turned their poor ignorant heads and driven them wild with false notions of freedom. I have heard several well-authenticated instances of women throwing away their babies in their mad haste to run away from their homes and follow the Northern deliverers. One such case, Capt. Abraham himself told father he saw in Mississippi. Another occurred not a mile from this town, where a runaway, hotly pursued by her master, threw an infant down in the road and sped on to join the “saviors of her race,” with a bundle of finery clasped tightly in her arms. Our new ruler is as little disposed to encourage them in running away as was “Marse Lot,” but their heads have been so turned by the idea of living without work that their owners are sometimes obliged to turn them off, and when they run away of their own accord, they are not permitted to come back and corrupt the rest. In this way they are thrown upon the Yankees in such numbers that they don’t know what to do with them, and turn the helpless ones loose to shift for themselves. They are so bothered with them, that they will do almost anything to get rid of them. In South-West Georgia, where there are so many, they keep great straps to beat them with. Mrs. Stowe need not come South for the Legree of her next novel. Yankees always did make notoriously hard masters; I remember how negroes used to dread being hired to them, before the war, because they worked them so hard.” Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 277-278.