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In Their Own Words

May 01, 1865

Food Riot in Augusta

A darker side to the Confederacy’s defeat was witnessed by two Georgia women recording similar events on this day. First, Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas recorded:

“What a first of May. It had not occurred to me until I commenced to write - Today I have witnessed what I am sorry shall prove our last experience as a Confederate Nation - A riot has taken place in Augusta - an event often dreaded but never experienced before! Soon after breakfast I heard that soldiers were breaking open the stores on Broad Street and helping themselves - Immediately after I saw numbers of men walking rapidly, some running with large bags, bundles upon their shoulders … . The bright dream of Southern independence has not been realised - The war is over and again we become a part of the United States - how united will depend alone upon treatment we receive from the hands of the North … .”

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), p. 260.