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In Their Own Words

August 18, 1865

Contempt for Northern Press in Journal

From Washington, Georgia., a distressed Eliza Frances Andrews recorded in her journal a lengthy tirade of her contempt for the national weekly newspapers of the day because of what they reported about the South

“Just returned from a visit to Woodstock … . On reaching home, I found that sister had arrived, with the children. There was a big mail, too, with letters from our friends in Richmond and Baltimore, and a quantity of Northern papers they sent us. I hate the Yankees more and more, every time I look at one of their horrid newspapers and read the lies they tell about us, while we have our mouths closed and padlocked. The world will not hear our story, and we must figure just as our enemies choose to paint us. The pictures in “Harper’s Weekly” and “Frank Leslie’s” tell more lies than Satan himself was ever the father of. I get in such a rage when I look at them that I sometimes take off my slipper and beat the senseless paper with it. No words can express the wrath of a Southerner on beholding pictures of President Davis in woman’s dress; and Lee, that star of light before which even Washington’s glory pales, crouching on his knees before a beetle-browed image of “Columbia,” suing for pardon! And these in the same sheet with disgusting representations of the execution of the so-called “conspirators” in Lincoln’s assassination. Nothing is sacred from their disgusting love of the sensational. Even poor Harold’s sisters, in their last interview with him, are pictured for the public delectation, in “Frank Leslie’s.” Andersonville, one would think, was bad enough as it was, to satisfy them, but no; they must lie even about that, and make it out ten times worse than the reality - never realizing that they themselves are the only ones to blame for the horrors of that “prison pen,” as they call it. They were the ones that refused to exchange prisoners. Our government could not defend its own cities nor feed its own soldiers; how could it help crowding its prisoners and giving them hard fare? I have seen both Northern and Southern prisoners, and the traces of more bitter suffering were shown in the pinched features and half-naked bodies of the latter than appeared to me even in the faces of the Andersonville prisoners I used to pass last winter, on the cars. The world is filled with tales of the horrors of Andersonville, but never a word does it hear about Elmira and Fort Delaware. The “Augusta Transcript” was suppressed, and its editor imprisoned merely for publishing the obituary of a Southern soldier, in which it was stated that he died of disease “contracted in the icy prisons of the North.” Splendid monuments are being reared to the Yankee dead, and the whole world resounds with paeans because they overwhelmed us with their big, plundering armies, while our Southern dead lie unheeded on the fields where they fought so bravely, and our real heroes, our noblest and best, the glory of human nature, the grandest of God’s works, are defamed, vilified, spit upon. Oh! you brave unfortunates! history will yet do you justice. Your monuments are raised in the hearts of a people whose love is stronger than fate, and they will see that your memory does not perish. Let the enemy triumph; they will only disgrace themselves in the eyes of all decent people. They are so blind that they boast of their own shame. They make pictures of the ruin of our cities and exult in their work. They picture the destitution of Southern homes and gloat over the desolation they have made. “Harper’s” goes so far as to publish a picture of Kilpatrick’s “foragers” in South-West Georgia, displaying the plate and jewels they have stolen from our homes! “Out of their own mouths they are condemned,” and they are so base they do not even know that they are publishing their own shame.”

Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 370-373.