The Project Gutenberg EBook of Two diaries From Middle St. John's,
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and Mary Rhodes Waring Henagan

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Title: Two diaries From Middle St. John's, Berkeley, South Carolina, February-May, 1865

Author: Susan Ravenel Jervey
        Charlotte St Julien Ravenel
        Mary Rhodes Waring Henagan

Release Date: February 14, 2016 [EBook #51215]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)


From Middle St. John’s, Berkeley,
South Carolina, February-May, 1865





Extract from the Minutes of the 121st Annual Meeting of the St. John’s Hunting Club.

Wampee Plantation, July 4, 1921.

* * * * Prof. Yates Snowden exhibited carefully prepared copies of diaries kept by Miss Susan R. Jervey and Miss Charlotte St. J. Ravenel at Northampton and Pooshee plantations, respectively, during the months of February, March and April, 1865. Our women were then unprotected save by a few old men and boys, and Middle St. John’s was frequently raided by roving bands of negro soldiers, mainly by the 55th Mass. Regiment. Professor Snowden suggested that a committee be appointed to consider the propriety and devise means for publishing these authentic records of the sufferings and fortitude of our kinswomen during those times, and to make a report at the next annual meeting.

After an animated discussion by President T. P. Ravenel, J. St. Clair White, H. R. Dwight and others, Capt. Sam’l G. Stoney moved that the club proceed to publish the diaries forthwith, using such funds as were available in the treasury, and that the members of the club subscribe individually enough to make up the deficit.

The President appointed Capt. Sam’l G. Stoney, J. St. Clair White and Prof. Yates Snowden a committee to edit the diaries, add explanatory foot notes, and make a suitable contract with some publishing house for 300 copies of the pamphlet. * * * *



Thursday night February 16th. Such awful news came to us that just as the table was laid and everything ready for us to enjoy our supper Father[2] decided not to wait, but ordered the horses to be harnessed to the carriage, and we started on our fearful journey from Cedar Grove,[3] not even taking time to carry anything with us; our terror on the road imagining we heard the Yankees’ guns across the swamp. We reached Northampton about 10:00 o’clock. After a quiet night, we found many of the terrifying rumors false. Mother spent the next day at Cedar Grove, packing up and moving our more valuable goods here.

Saturday February 18th. Nothing certain about Columbia. Father and Rene[4] who had gone to hunt up James’s[5] company at Santee, returned this morning not having found the Marion Artillery. The dear old city (is) to be given up tonight at 12:00 o’clock; our army is falling back.

Sunday February 19th. The most un-Sunday feeling Sunday I have ever past. Father and Rene started for St. Stephens Depot in hopes of finding James hearing his battalion was to pass there some time to-day, but had hardly had time to get off the plantation, when they returned bringing James and Sinkler[6] with them.

These boys started from Huger’s Bridge to walk home; got lost and spent the whole of last night in the woods. They must have wandered over thirty miles.

Tuesday morning, 2 A.M. February——. Too busy with my books to write last night. James and Henry Sinkler started after dinner for their company. Startled a little while ago to hear some noise under my window; my head being full of negroes and Yankees roused up Mother with the cry, “the enemy is upon us”! Just as we stood listening, a man’s head appeared at the door. It was an age of terror, altho’ hardly a second before we recognized James. Henry Sinkler and himself could not find their company, so came back seeing a light in my window. James had tried to attract my attention when, remembering a defective shutter, he got in.

A Lieut. LaBorde[7] from Columbia, young, handsome and pleasant spoken dined here yesterday, trying to get a horn. Charles[8] turned over his riding horn to him. One squad of Southern deserters and five Georgians passed through this morning looking for their command.

February 21st. Our news now is all rumor; no papers; no letters. All we know is picked up from soldiers passing through. They are all marching for St. Stephens, where the army is concentrating to cross the bridge.

William,[9] who returned this morning from carrying * * * Aunt Nenna’s[10] carriage horses says for four miles from St. Stephens depot, the roads are white with tents. An army of 10,000 men is a sight to see! Cousin Thomas[11] rode over to tell us the last orders; all cotton to be burned and all negro men to go out.

James and Sinkler left after breakfast and the buggy has not yet got back.

Aunt Nenna has been busy all day moving all her provisions into the house. * * * * The negroes seem very unwilling for the work; some of their aside speeches very incendiary. Edward, the old coachman is particularly sullen.

Wednesday, February 22nd. Anna and her father old Mr. Cain[12] spent the morning. The buggy got back this morning. A note from James. Such a pitiful little note, on a slip of Confederate paper sealed with pine-gum! They expect to cross today, as the enemy have landed at Bull’s Bay and are advancing rapidly. This afternoon while very busy unpacking a box in the store room to carry up stairs to hide grist in, the alarm was given that the cavalry had come to burn the cotton. I dropped everything * * * while I ran to help the work. Aunt Nenna, Mother and I helped to roll one bale down the hill. Then Aunt Nenna was as busy as anyone, cutting the bagging open before setting a fire. No one can say she is not patriotic; she gave her three horses to the government; has burnt her five bales of cotton, worth about $7,500, and tomorrow sends off six or seven of her mules to the army. Most of the negro men took to the swamp last night for fear of impressment, Edward ringleader! Such heavy guns this morning! * * * *

Thursday, February 23—Uncle Peter[13] and his troop crossed Le Nud’s Ferry to-day. Poor Neddie[14] stopped here to-day on his way home, not knowing that home was desolate. Mother and home having gone, his eyes filled and his lip quivered when we told him.

Friday, February 24th. An anxious day. This morning heard firing, nearer; much nearer than the city; also that the enemy are fighting at Monck’s Corner. Cousin Edwin,[15] who has been down to reconnoitre, says the enemy have been fighting our cavalry under Captain Campbell near the canal bridge between Biggin and Monck’s Corner on the Murray’s Ferry Road. The right wing of skirmishers passed through Mrs. White’s[16] yard at Gippy. These men are said to have marched from Bull’s Bay to intercept our men at St. Stephens. We have been so intent watching for the Yankees that we mistook a party of our men, Georgians, for the enemy. Everything was ready. Rene even had his blanket ready for the swamp, when we found that they were our men, cut off from their command on their way to join them at Nelson’s Ferry. We, in the joy of our hearts, gave them a good dinner; made them dry their wet clothes by the fire; filled their pockets with “goobers” and I hope sent them away content and comfortable.

Saturday, February 25th. Jacob[17] returned from St. Stephens; says our pickets have been driven in; a body of artillerymen who had been sent to meet the Yankees had returned and everything was hastening to cross the bridge. Harry[18] came down from Cedar Grove this morning; only hope he will get horse and buggy safe home. The negroes have most terrifying stories this morning; the enemy have marched through Pinopolis, and were at Wampee last night, others say they heard great whooping and yelling as if some one was driving a hundred of cattle.

Sunday, February 26th. White Hall Essex[19] was here last night; says a negro had come from Gippy; the Yankees had shot all of Mrs. White’s poultry; took her horses; tore up her clothes and threw them out of the windows to the negroes; broke up her crockery; when they could not get keys, broke up the locks. The negro says this was only the first party. When the officers came they stopped the work of devastation, till the rest of the army came.

Monday, February 27th. Yankees at DuBois (near Bonneau’s) yesterday noon, four or five in number; did nothing but carry off Mr. Harvey’s saddle and bridle. Before leaving they called up the negroes and told them they were free; consequently none would go to work this morning. Father heard this from Mr. Harvey whom he met at Pooshee, where all the men left in the neighborhood met to decide what to do to save their property from Yankee spoliation. They had quite a fright; a squad of cavalry were seen coming up the avenue, which were taken for Yankees, but were discovered to be our own men under Lieut. Bright of Edgefield, detached by Gen. Samuel W. Ferguson to come down to worry the enemy and suppress disorder among the negroes. Poor old Mr. Cain * * * started for home on the first alarm, working his way around to stop here and let us know Father was a prisoner! Father having come home the direct road had told us all the news before the old man’s arrival. The enemy penetrated as far as Black Oak last night where they took prisoner one of our poor soldiers who had stopped at the Myers’ for supper. They returned as they came through Wantoot. The negroes say the house there very much injured. I hear Mrs. (Catherine) White behaved very bravely, but old Mrs. Brunson, who lived with her, said so much, the Yankees threatened to put her head through the window and shoot it off! Mrs. White wrote and begged Mr. Lewis Simons, who lived near, to come to her aid. He could not leave his family, but invited General Potter (sic) to dinner; told him what his men were doing. Potter instantly sent an order for them to desist. What I most fear is not the Yankees, but the negroes, cut off from all help from across the river, and at their mercy, what will become of us? Disorder has already started. Aunt Nenna’s people have all returned to their work, except Edward; the leader, I firmly believe. Bram returned this morning, but when Aunt Nenna sent him word to come to his weaving; his answer was, he wouldn’t, that he was cutting wood. When she sent word he must come, he decamped and has not been heard from since.

Ash Wednesday, March 1st. A gloomy, uncomfortable day; no church to go to; in constant dread of a Yankee invasion. A skirmish at Harbin last night; our little squad of cavalry under Bright was there. A negro brought the Yankees from Pineville and piloted them to where our men were camped taking them completely by surprise, capturing Bright and killing two of his men. Another mortally wounded, died this morning. All we can learn of the skirmish, the Yankees fired at the back door, some of the balls entering Cousin Jane’s[20] room, one hitting the post of bedstead where her baby was sleeping. She picked her up in her arms and rushed to the door appealing to the captain. A rumor tonight Cousin Rene a prisoner.

Monday, 2nd March. A most exciting day. This morning a Pooshee negro came over. The black Yankees, four in number, had been at Pooshee last night; had threatened to shoot old Uncle[21] if he didn’t tell where the brandy was hid; took all the meat from the smoke house. Hear they had been to Cousin William’s[22] in morning. Just after dinner a squad of Yankee cavalry rode up to ask for wine. The captain (Hartwell) was very polite. They went off to Chelsea, but soon returned. Then, while the officer was in the parlor talking, the men were busy at the back of the house, going through the closets, the safe, the dairy and the kitchen, * * * taking whatever they could find in the way of eatables,—have literally left us nothing for supper. One stayed behind and carried off Charles’s colt “Flavella.” These Yankees have pockets half the length of their legs and there is no telling what they contrive to stuff into them.

Friday, March 3rd. A most exciting night of horror! While I was writing yesterday afternoon another squad of three Yankees rode up in search of saddles and bridles. They were very rude; said we might as well tell where things were and save their rummaging, and then rode off. Aunt Nenna, having found some cold waffles actually left we were quickly seated enjoying (?) our supper thinking our trials over for the day, when we heard many heavy steps in the entry, a rough knock at the door; a rude voice; “how are you this evening, I say, how are you this evening?” The open door revealed the entry full of negro Yankees, armed to the teeth and all drunk enough to do mischief. Mother, who is in constant dread of Rene’s being seized on account of his age, altho’ so small, motioned him into the back room, (Aunt Nenna’s chamber), where the children had all run to hide. The negro sergeant, a coal black giant of six feet, immediately demanded what the boy was after and called him back. Aunt Nenna, with much presence of mind went to the door and brought out Charles Stevens. The sergeant was very insulting in his language. He demanded all fire arms, which were given him; then he wanted wine; said he had been told we had some, and would get it out of Father. Called for a rope and ordered a squad of men to carry him and string him up if he would not give up the liquor. Mother threw herself on her knees pleading for Father’s life. The wretch spurned her with his foot, and told her to behave herself like a woman and he would treat her like one. Mother was so overcome we had to get her into Aunt Nenna’s room. One of the men came to the door and told me: “Speak to the lady and make yourselves satisfied he wouldn’t let Father be hurt”;—with this small comfort I went to Mother. To add to our troubles Mother remembered a phial of brandy up stairs saved for Father’s use. If the wretches found it, what would become of us? Mother could not move; the children were clinging to her; the difficulties of the way; a long black entry full of drunken devils; then another entry above full of unknown horrors. We waited until most of the Yankees had left the house. Liz[23] offered to go with me; holding on to each other we treaded on our way, scarcely daring to think, we reached the room safely. Rose Washington,[24] who had been faithful, followed us; the guard were all around the house. We were afraid to throw the phial out, when we got it. Rose proposed breaking it in a bucket of water and carrying the bucket down on her head. She did her part well, badgering the men she met and answering their questions. I followed with Liz so grateful when we got to Mother. I can’t tell the words and doings of the Devils, but soon after we got back, our “friend” came to the door to say Father was all right; none of us had sense to do the right thing, but poor little Liz who stepped up and shook the man’s hand thanking him. The men had all the meat and salt collected and brought into the entry and the captain distributed it to the negroes. We have some idea of Hell now; such obscene language and ribald oaths filling our ears for the better part of the night. When at last, near daybreak they all left the house, they demanded sugar and coffee to make a supper, at the black overseer’s (Jimmy), you may imagine there was no sleep even then for us. We waited their return. A mattress had been thrown down in the middle of the room for the children. The men threatened to kill William[25] if he did not tell them where the liquor was buried. Tommie and Jacob[26] were carried to Hanover to show them where it was hid. Aunt Nenna’s people, with few exceptions, have behaved shamefully. Several, we hear, brought the enemy from Black Oak, hid them behind an out house until darkness and quiet reigned.

Night of Friday 3rd. About midday four or five Yankees (white) rode up; got off their horses and demanded to search the house. They ransacked everywhere; our private drawers were rooted up. They carried off, amongst others poor Willie’s[27] gold watch he prized so much. When leaving, they told us the negro troop would come tonight! So, another night of unrest, weary watching and waiting! We have all moved downstairs—one of the faithful few, generally Eugenia, Aunt Nenna’s faithful maid, sleeps in the house.

Saturday, March 4th. We passed a better night than we expected from sheer weariness; but, not much real rest as we did not undress, expecting every moment to hear the tramp of soldiers; but the night passed, and thank God! not a Yankee, black or white! Tonight, just before retiring one of the servants scared us by knocking violently at the back door. The servants, I can’t say all, but many, say they are free and went off last night; one Uncle Henry trusted most left, it is supposed, for Charleston. As a great favor, got one of the men to carry a note to Pooshee this morning. Cousin Ria[28] wrote us an account of what they had gone through. When the army came they were all in the piazza. The black troopers rode up, and hurrahed for Liberty. The negroes were called up and made to kiss and shout; even Janetta is tainted. The night before when the five Yankees (black) were there, the plantation negroes rushed into the store room and took everything, even leaving them no salt. When the army came, had to get General Potter to send one of the soldiers to the negro houses to get some for them. Cousin Ria sends a note from Cousin Rene, Pineville must be worse off than we are. It seems completely given up to the negroes. They have burnt all unoccupied houses. The freed negroes from the neighboring plantations seem worse than the Yankees, are destroying and burning everything around the village. At old Col. Ferguson’s,[29] Dockon, the Yankees tore up all the ladies’ clothes and threw them out of the window; ripped up the beds; took the feathers and provisions mixed them up with the molasses—such wanton destruction!

Monday, 6th March. Saturday the black troopers went to White Hall. The negroes behaved shamefully; went into the house; took whatever they wanted; tore down the curtains. The black “general”[30] had to go in his buggy to the negro yard and bring some of the things back. At Ophir, I hear the negroes met the Yankees and told them their mistress gave them so much they did not want more, so they did not go to the house. Yesterday they went to Cedar Spring, Harbin, &c.; dined at Cedar Spring on some turkeys they had killed at Brunswick.

Tuesday, March 7th. Harrison[31] has come down from Cassawda to-day. Charlie[32] has come back, not knowing Lilla[33] had left. Poor Lilla I hear has got no further on her journey than Gourdin’s Station, where she is living in a box car with no provisions. We heard from Anna Cain to-day. Her people have behaved well, but the Yankees treated them badly, even took the covering off Mr. Cain’s bed and demanded all his money, and took Anna’s clothes to distribute. They were rescued by her maid Rachel who offered to part them for the officer; told him if they were thrown out of the window there would be no end of quarreling among the people. When the Yankees left she restored everything to its place.

From all accounts the Yankees have taken less from us than most of the others, indeed, some of Hartwell’s (the Yankee Captain) men said the old lady (Mother) looked so pitiful and had so many children that they could not take much from her.

March 8. Wednesday. Yesterday, as we heard Pinopolis was to be burnt, Aunt Nenna sent William to save what he could; found her house had already been emptied by her own people. Tonight Moorfield Henry[34] stopped on his way to Pooshee to tell us the Yankees had gone to Cedar Grove last night and again this morning. He knows they had one barrel of wine as they had it on the cart last night; the other he thinks they broke open and made the people help them empty. All the men who could get horses and mules were with the troopers. The Yankees ordered breakfast and Daphne and the other women were busy cooking for them. The Moorfield negroes are crazy quite; they have been to Pinopolis, helping in the sacking of the houses. One brought off Mr. Stevens’s[35] carriage and was to go back for the piano which he (Mr. Stevens) had left at Chelsea lot for safety. Anna sent a letter from Sallie Palmer;[36] hear that the men in Columbia had to fly so rapidly, no time for a single blow; that the enemy have possession; blew up the new State House and burnt the old one.

The Yankees have been as high up as Cherry Grove and Poplar Hill; their gun boats have gone up the river as far as Mexico, one threw a shell in front of the house. They went to Mr. Warren Palmer’s[37] and offered him three alternatives; to take the oath of allegiance; to give up his house and be put across the river, or else they would give him sixty acres (mind you, his own land!) which he was to work with his own negroes. A poor man near Laurel Hill gave himself up to the enemy; was carried to Charleston and thrown into barracks with about six hundred negroes, with nothing but cracked corn to eat.

Monday, March 12th. Plenty of rumors to chronicle to-night; feel so much more light hearted. We are not entirely deserted. A body of our men, scouts under young Dennis[38] are doing fine work, if he only escapes Bright’s fate. He and his men peppered the black troopers at Blue Hole. * * * The story goes that the black troopers had so “raggified” the house that the family had to take refuge in the kitchen and barn that night. The scouts are repressing rebellion amongst the negroes. One negro (Old Rose’s son Harry) disappeared the other night. Rius gave his wife (Ellen) a fearful beating because she came to wait on Aunt Nenna. Those who are faithful suffer so much from the rebellious ones, and we can do nothing to protect them. Poor Mrs. Hill, a refugee from islands was living in Whiteville. The Yankees found out, or pretended to find out that the cook had put poison in the coffee they had demanded for breakfast, turned her out of her home, just with the clothes she had on, distributed everything and burnt the house.[39] Mom Beck from Cedar Spring—she has clung to Kate[40] through everything—gave us an account of the Yankees there. Anne Porcher asked the black captain what orders he had to search so closely. He raised his gun and threatened to shoot her; asked about John Porcher, said it was well he had not been killed in the war as they would have wrung George’s[41] neck. How harrowing this to poor Kate, so recently widowed with only George to care for! All her meat, &c. was distributed, they sent her a portion, even some of her wine, and finished off by all dining in the house at the table, the Captain when he finished carrying off a silver butter knife and spoon to remember the place. Quash[42] was here yesterday, gave a very satisfactory account of Cedar Grove. He had heard wherever the Yankees go the fellows with them are allowed to press all the animals for themselves. As soon as he heard the troopers were coming, he mounted the boys on the horses and mules, made them claim them and ride some way with the troopers, then come back home. By morning every animal was safe in the swamp.

March 14th. Tuesday. James’s birthday; the hardest part of being cut off as we are is hearing nothing of those we care for beyond the river. To our delight part of the Pooshee colony ventured over this morning; a party of women and children headed by Cousin Henry’s[43] patriarchal figure mounted on old Uncle’s little white pony. We were glad to see some friendly white faces and have someone to talk to.

Have got the true story of the Blue Hole skirmish. Charlie Snowden had set the negroes at Cassawda to work. The troopers were at Springplains;[44] saw them, dashed over and demanded their master. On being told where he was, set out after him at Blue Hole. Charlie, knowing all the byways and short cuts escaped and brought the scouts to meet them. How the fight went we can’t understand as the stories contradict each other, but the vandals turned Mrs. Snowden[45] out into the kitchen, saying that was good enough for her. Stripped the house of everything; distributed or destroyed all they could get hold of. The next morning the scouts were very much mortified by Mrs. Snowden’s conduct; they returned to reinstate her in her house and get back at least some of her things. She implored them to leave her, not to come near her; that they brought trouble and distress wherever they went. We heard nothing of poor Charlie.

Wednesday, 15th March. Kate Porcher stopped here on her way to Black Oak. She is certainly brave, went all alone in her sulky with only Samuel behind, Mr. Edward Mazyck was stopped on the road and had his horse taken from him. * * * Near dark a woman rode up on a sorry looking horse, asking shelter for the night. It was pouring rain; she seemed drenched. Poor soul, I am sorry for her. Mother and Aunt Nenna are possessed with the idea that she is a man in disguise; certainly she is masculine looking in her stride &c. This is her story; she is a Georgian, came to Charleston to see her brother in the hospital. The railroads were cut, and her brother moved. She got as far as Mr. Hare’s, near Pinopolis. After waiting three weeks to find some way of getting home, giving up in despair bought an old horse and saddle and started on her lonely journey to Orangeburg, where she has friends who will help her on her road. She is an Atlanta refugee and has been living with a brother in Southern Georgia. She says we don’t know what trouble is as yet. She stood with many others and saw her home burnt in Atlanta. When the war commenced, she had property, a husband and four brothers; all gone but two brothers, and all she owns is in two trunks.

16th March. Mother was so anxious to get letters across the river, that, notwithstanding our suspicions she gave a kind of diary[46] letter of all we had gone through for the aunts in Walhalla, to the woman’s care when we started her off on her journey this morning.

At Monck’s Corner the Yankees shot an old man, a Mr. Maree, taking him for Mr. Denny, Col. Ferguson’s overseer. The old man opened the door when they knocked and instantly had three balls shot through him.

One poor woman, a Mrs. Weatherford—Mrs. White’s overseer’s wife—the Yankees gave away everything she had to the negroes, even the hat she had on her head. They burnt her house, leaving her literally nothing but the clothes she had on.

Friday, 17th March. Dr. Morton Waring here this morning, as usual bringing piles of news; had seen Dr. White,[47] who had been ordered down to act as surgeon to our scouts. A skirmish at Florence, our men cutting the Yankees up; the vandals had reached Columbia, arriving in the night, turned the people out of their homes, put torches to the houses reducing the city to ruins. Reputable ladies were following the army begging bread for their little ones. At Cheraw the Yankees got two wagon loads of specie from the banks—moved there from Charleston.

Richard Strobhart was taken up by the black troopers in Pinopolis for Charlie Snowden and carried to Moss Grove their headquarters; cross-questioned about our scouts &c.; insisting this was the boy who had set the scouts on them at Blue Hole. While they were questioning him, a carriage with out-riders drove up in great style, and with all the form and ceremony of high life, “the General,” as he is called, handed out a black lady, very much dressed. When she passed Strobhart, she asked about him; said he could not be the boy they wanted as this one had come up with her on the train a few days before. On this evidence he was released.

Saturday, March 18th. Anna Cain and her father dined here to-day; so pleasant to have a young person to talk to once more.

Mr. Lewis Simons has had their minister Mr. Olmsted and his family living with him at Pawley. The Yankees visited the place and did no injury at first, but picked up a letter from Mr. S. written very bitterly. Not being able to read it, they carried it to the gun boat, had it read; returned to the house distributing everything, not even giving the old lady, old Mrs. Keating Simons (his mother), time to put on her shoes and stockings; made them walk over to the next place, over a mile across the rice field banks, in this condition.

This afternoon, for the first time, we walked out on the dam across the swamp to Brunswick enjoying our freedom, but met a crowd of negroes going to Indianfield. On returning to the house, saw more, all going the same road, all armed with bags. We hear the Yankees are there and are going to sup with us. To add to our consternation, we heard some white soldiers were in our negro yard. We hurried, shut up the house. Hennie and Laura, rejoicing at their release from prison walls, were playing at the foot of the front steps, when seeing soldiers coming, they flew in terror into the house hiding behind the door. The men rode up calling to the children; “We are not Yankees, but Rebs;”—some of our own scouts under Dennis and McTureous. We were so uneasy for fear the vandals would meet them; so anxious for their safety, we could not enjoy the pleasure of seeing our own men again. They came to the negroes, ordering they to go to work Monday, &c. Young Dennis[48] is very pleasant looking and McTureous is very good looking indeed. They left us to scout around Indianfield, to find if the Yankee story is true. I think the negroes must have been disappointed as they passed back soon after the scouts left us. * * *

Sunday, 19th March. Mr. Mitchum stopped here; his regiment left the army at Cheraw; all disbanded and returning home.

Wednesday, March 22nd. Heard from Pennie[49] this afternoon. Cousin Henry’s family, except Lyd[50] and Attie,[51] leave for Aiken tomorrow; hired mules from some of the Woodlawn negroes. They heard from over the lines, some of the Wilsons;—many houses burnt in Columbia, Dr. Wilson and the baby, ten days old, spent the night camping in the woods.

Cousin Ellen[52] had a daughter[53] born Sunday; poor little mortal, at what a troublous time it has made its entry into life!

Aunt Nenna’s people have behaved infamously after the scouts went; some eight or ten have gone, it is thought, to town, determined not to work. The faithful few are very uneasy about it; think the “boys” have gone to bring the Yankees back. Harry, the driver at Hanover, (I wrote about his disappearance), has been hung by the scouts. Dennis had reason to suspect his hiding place in the swamp had been discovered by Harry. He and some of his men, disguised as Yankees, went to his cabin and offered a bribe if he could put them on the trail to the scouts’ camp. Harry eagerly seized the bait. When they reached the swamp they found he knew. Dennis called up his men and they hung the traitor. Hear the oath has been offered to the Cooper river planters. Some have taken it; those who refused, nothing has been done to them as yet. We are kept so distracted; rumors of all kinds,—some for and some against us,—penetrate the heavy cloud that surrounds us. What to believe—and what not to believe!

Saturday, March 25th. Yesterday Cousin Henry and family passed through on their wearisome journey home; they stopped for good-bye. This has been a most exciting day. Mr. Myers, (Uncle’s overseer) passed through telling Dr. Waring, who went out to stop him, that Willie must have slept last night at Cedar Grove, as he was ahead of him on the road. Father went up to Cedar Grove, but could hear nothing of him. Four of the Yankees foraging for eggs, &c. near Pinopolis were taken by our scouts; the Yankees, in retaliation, marched up from the river to Hog Swamp, took DeHay and the younger Dennis prisoners, spent last night there returning through Somerset to their gun-boat this morning.

Harbin house was burned yesterday afternoon. Read a letter from Sallie Palmer; the Pineville negroes, twenty-five in number, fully armed, have been marauding about the neighborhood, but the black troopers who have been plaguing this country were captured by the white Yankees, tried and carried to town as deserters.

We all walked over to Pooshee this morning to see Mr. Myers and hear something of Willie; gained no news; but returning home, just as we entered Black Oak gate, saw Willie drive in the opposite one. He had been knocking about Cedar Grove for two days afraid to return as he had heard such accounts of the Yankee raids. Poor child; he had nothing but the suit of clothes he had on, having sold everything, even his blanket, for something to eat. He walked down from Chester with some of the men he had been staying with, a Mr. Avinger and Ray in Wassamasaw. The scouts, we hear, are going to make a raid on the Pineville negroes tonight. Willie says the whole track of Sherman’s army is marked by smoking ruins and piles of dead animals, from old s——, on the State Road, to Columbia. Everything is burnt even to the wheat fields.

Monday, March 27th. The skirmish with negroes took place, scouts successful,—nothing but the bare facts. Four houses on Cooper river burnt because owners refused to take the oath; Ed Lucas; Holmes; Prioleau, and Dr. Moultrie.

Wednesday, 29th March. Mr. Gaillard dined here, brought more accounts of battle which Willie had told us he had heard confused accounts of. Press and Porcher Smith both wounded and Henry Lesesne killed. The Marion Artillery (James’s company) not in the fight.

Thursday, March 30th. Mr. Stevens called this afternoon. It seems like old times again, his bright and cheerful view of things has cheered us wonderfully.

Friday, March 31st. We all walked over to Pooshee this morning; it is too sweet to feel so secure again, altho’ still a little uneasy; things are falling back into their old routine.

April 2, Sunday. Such a treat! Our own dear service read by our own minister, in the old church! Such a display of mules, even those who had saved their horses were afraid to use them. Mr. Stevens lectured on Job’s trials, truly his motto is, “Think and Thank.”

Moved upstairs tonight. We all have been camping out down stairs since the night of the black Yankees.

Wednesday, April 5th. Mother, Aunt Nenna and I with Willie for driver rode over to Chelsea[54] this afternoon in an ox-cart. The whole family were in the piazza to receive us, quite amused at our primitive equipage.

Thursday, April 6. Willie drove me home to-day in the buggy,—so pleasant, the woods are beautiful with a wealth of jessamine, dog-wood and crab-apple flowers, while the air is balmy with fragrance of thousands of blossoms. The last day of Willie’s stay here has been truly delightful. Tonight we sat late in the piazza, everything so lovely! I forgot there was war and bloodshed all around us.

Saturday, April 8. Thank, God, Willie has gone! Father and Mother spent yesterday with him at Cedar Grove, sending him on in the afternoon to The Rocks[55] for the night.

Last night a squad of eight men rode up saying they were our scouts; that the Yankees had almost surrounded them at Somerset.[56] You may guess our terror altho’ Father and Aunt Nenna were firmly persuaded they were Yankees spying out the land. It is customary for folks to entertain the scouts, Aunt Nenna never even offered them a drink of water. The Captain actually got off his horse and told Father to listen and we would hear the drums beating at Somerset. I was listening for the drum all night (moved downstairs again); hardly closing my eyes. This morning was grateful for one thing, Willie was safe! I could think of little else. I don’t think Father really believed the enemy were near until at breakfast table, looking out the window we saw two pillars of smoke rising from the direction of Somerset. It was mill day, the engine in full blast and all our remaining stock in the way of mules, wagons &c. were assembled around the door. Father wished to order Harry, who had just driven in from Cedar Grove with the only horse left us, * * * to turn back, but it was too late. From up the avenue and across the fields came two squads of blue-coats at a mad gallop, like a very whirl wind, and before we could think, the Yankees were on us! Riding around the house, some to the stables, some to the mill, they scoured the place and the house, taking all the harness except some belonging to the old buggy. They took grist and poultry, shooting down the latter about the yard.

Richie White was with us; he was very much freightened. I had gathered all the children in my room upstairs; every time I would go near the window, he would implore me to come back. Some of these wretches had prepared themselves for plunder, having their pants’ pockets below their knees. They carried off all wagons, mules and carts; cleaned the store room of all hams &c. we had hidden; knocked down all the geese they could. Our red-faced friend, who has been on every raid, was here again and distinguished himself in the pilfering line; took a box with Uncle Henry’s letters. His buggy blanket was next seized, and finished off by pocketing Willie’s flute, which “would do to blow along the road,” he said. The officer came upstairs making noise enough to scare all the children as he had on not only his own sword and spurs, but Uncle Henry’s dragging behind him. Mother had all Father’s clothes in a trunk in the entry, but he passed that by going into Mother’s room. Noticed Father’s tin box of papers; then to the press; Mother trembled, as the silver we were using was all hidden in her dresses, but finding no man’s clothes,—with some most contemptuous expression about “her using the poor old man so badly, having so much more clothes,” he left, only stopping at my room door, not coming in.

One of the men rushed up before leaving and carried off the blanket from the boys’ bed.

The Provost Marshal tried to make Father take the oath; when he refused cursed him, and told Mother; “the men were all fools,” but he “was sorry for the woman.” The wretches actually carried off a towel that was hanging on the railing to dry.

After they had gone Mother missed Laura! Such stories of Yankees carrying off little ones, our hearts sank! We sent to the negro yard hoping she may have strayed to Mauma’s house, but no one had seen her; ah, the sorrow for us. So helpless; nothing to do but try and comfort Mother! Aunt Nenna’s room once had a window on the piazza. When the shed-room was added, it was boarded up; the high bedstead with its curtains was put against it; the brick wall being thick, the recess of the window made a splendid hiding place for valuables from the Yankees. Mother was sitting weeping by the fire-place, when she heard a faint voice; “dem Yankee gone yet?” She thought at first she was dreaming, when the question was repeated. Soon sorrow was turned into joy. She had wandered from her haven of refuge in my room to find Mother; failing to do so, she had crept into a good place to hide, and worn out with terror and weeping, had fallen asleep!

Hear the Yankees are en route for Pineville, where they say they are “going to give the people Hell.”

Sunday, April 9th. Here’s what the Yankees did at Pooshee. Heard from Cousin Hennie this morning. The Yankees took some of their silver and all of Uncle’s clothes.

Dr. Waring has just been here; Cousin William[57] and Cousin Rene both prisoners, the former right sick. Edith and Mary Waring were driving Leize Edwards home to Stewarton when they met the Yankees, who took them prisoner, carrying them along almost to Woodlawn; then, on Edith’s persistent pleadings, after taking their fine horse from them, they sent them off with an old balky animal that could hardly drag them home.

We find out Father was saved from taking the oath by the testimony of one of the enemy, who had served as a clerk when a boy in a corner shop near George St. Judy[58] recognized him, brought him up and made him give testimony that he knew Father lived in the city, and was only a refugee, as he said.

Eugenia and Judy have been faithful through everything.

Monday, April 10. Another anxious night of watching. A note from Anna Cain; the Yankee army had camped in Somerset yard, burning all fences, cutting down the beautiful shrubbery in the gardens to build their boothes; killed every head of poultry, except a few turkeys that escaped; took all the meat from the store room except a few pieces; worse than all, burnt down the provision barn with all the corn and peas &c. The most of Anna’s news is that a fresh party is coming up from Lewisfield. Chance, who brought the note says he met some blue-coats on the way but did not know if they were “Yankees or scouts dress up.” Dr. Waring was telling us the night the Yankees were at Hog Swamp, they took Mrs. DeHay out in the woods and tried to make her betray the scouts’ hiding place in the swamp. None of their threats or bribes had any effect. They even told her if she did not tell where Dennis and his men were, they would burn her house down. She says her blood was up; she told them they could do what they pleased; that Southern women would live under the green trees rather than betray their friends.

Wednesday, 26th April. The Yankees that visited us carried desolation to some places in the upper Parish. Mexico yard was cleaned up of everything like houses and trees, even the dwelling house was burned. Mr. Mazyck Porcher after standing and seeing his home destroyed was taken prisoner and carried to town. Cousin William and Cousin Rene were released and returned home the Wednesday after they were taken.

At Walnut Grove (old Mr. James Gaillard’s) everything was destroyed or given to the negroes, even the ladies’ clothes.

At Blue Hole everything was thrown out of the windows. Mr. Charles Snowden who had just returned from Aiken with his family has started again for Camden. The Yankees camped one night at Eutaw devastating the place, leaving Mrs. Sinkler nothing for her next meal. On her so telling the Commissary, he had some rice mixed with sand and given her. The Yankees returned to town by the State Road, the scouts peppering them from the bushes the whole way. The next Wednesday (the 12th) a band of two hundred and fifty passed, going up to their gun-boat. The 16th was a beautiful bright Easter day. Mr. Stevens preached here to the negroes. Aunt Nenna fixed the old brick barn (the upper story) and the children dressed it with green and apple blossoms. Kate and Anne Porcher joined the folks here making the white congregation. I was too tired, could not get out; have been sick since the last Yankee visit. Pettus and his whole band of scouts passed through the yard after church, and Uncle Peter[59] and his company supped here returning through the next morning. Cousin Edwin[60] died last Friday of typhoid fever, he never got over the burning of his home. (Harbin.)

Last Sunday, (23rd April) a most exciting day. Willie and Mr. Tharin came in just before the folks came from church, it being communion Sunday. (I not being well, stayed at home with the children.) Just before dinner Uncle Peter was brought in badly wounded, his hand very much shattered and a flesh wound in his arm. His life was miraculously saved for both loads were aimed, one for his head and the other for his heart. He was talking to a man, in a friendly manner, on Cooper river, when, on riding off, he saw the man raise his gun, and aim for his head. He threw up his hand and received the whole load in it. The second shot glanced off something he had in his pocket, tearing up his clothes, passed through the fleshy part of his arm. The Doctor has had to amputate his thumb. Laura was so terrified at the blood when Uncle Peter was brought in, she spent the day under my bed. Near dark a poor worn-out foot-sore soldier from Lee’s army begged for somewhere to rest, and something to eat. The news we heard has proved too true; for sixty hours surrounded by Grant’s army with nothing for man or horse to eat, Lee has surrendered! This soldier was carried to Hilton Head, and is on his road home to Sumter.

On Sunday 25th April we heard the Yankees were coming. Uncle Peter was moved to Chelsea as being more off the road, but found it was only a band of thirty men with a white flag who went up to the river to communicate with Potter; could not get over so returned this morning by the Congaree road.

We heard last Saturday that Lincoln had been shot in the theatre, and Seward stabbed in his bed;—this news from a Herald Dr. Waring had.

All of Uncle Peter’s scouts breakfasted here. Tuesday morning, Captain Sineath dined, and the great Lieut. Pettus was here this afternoon, and I in my room, and saw none of them. Uncle Peter returned home after dinner. Father and Mother spent the morning at Cedar Grove. Between Yankees, negroes and deserters, the house has literally been stripped of everything portable. All books we had left thrown over the house.

Cousin Henry[61] came down from Aiken last week for the girls, carrying them Monday; stopped for good-bye.

Saturday, April 29th. Saw, from my window, a foot-sore, weary looking pilgrim coming through the fields with his knapsack on his back—Uncle Edward! (Dr. Smith). The aunts so worried over our safety he had worked his way down from Pendleton. He tells us Johnston’s army has disbanded—Uncle E. brought letters, one containing an extract from one of James’s, the first time we have heard since he crossed the river. Mr. Mazyck Porcher has returned from the city, says the people are under an iron yoke; they are not allowed to know anything outside.

Mr. Russell Middleton[62] was dreadfully treated on refusing to take the oath.

Tuesday, 2nd May. We have been enjoying an armistice of thirty days. Pettus[63] came over this afternoon to tell us and that he and his scouts were ordered out and the armistice was over. Uncle Peter got so nervous; sent for Dr. Waring preparatory to moving to Cassawda, the Yankees having vowed vengeance against him, but the Doctor carried him to Chelsea after dark. We are anxious about Charlie (Snowden). Not knowing the armistice was over, Uncle Peter sent Uncle Ned in his buggy as far as Nelson’s Ferry. They left just after breakfast and now near 11, no Charlie yet.

We move home tomorrow, Wednesday May 3rd. Uncle Peter lent his wagon to ride home in. Dr. Waring brought Uncle Peter this morning to gather his belongings and move right on to Cassawda. While we were waiting, something scared his horse; she dashed off over the yard in a wild run, smashing the buggy before she could be stopped.

Cousin Thomas[64] passed down to-day on his way home, but did not stop.

May 12th 1865. Have not the heart to write; I have hoped against hope; all is over! Our poor paroled prisoners are all coming home. Cousin John[65] has come, and I hear James[66] is on the road.


Pooshee, Feb., 1865.

My dear Meta:

As we are cut off from each other now, I will attempt to write for you, in journal form, an account of the trying times through which we are passing.

After the evacuation of Savannah we were very anxious to get to Aiken, but Pa[67] thought it best not to go until we were certain of Sherman’s movements. We heard from time to time that Charleston could not be held, and yet we heard on every side that Augusta was his destination. Several events occurred which would have prevented our going up if it had been our intention, the freshet then too Henry’s[68] illness and last of all the cutting of the railroad, which effectually cut us off.

We got newspaper accounts of Sherman’s movements on Orangeburg, and then there was a report that he was marching down the State Road to Charleston and of course we believed it. Every day report brought them nearer. Hennie had the silver packed ready for interment. On Wed’y evening the 10th of Feb’y. a note came from Aunt Ria[69] saying the Yankees were not far from Walworth, that they had burnt two houses on the river, and that all the men and boys in the upper Parish were leaving home, and going to a place of safety. This made us very uneasy on Harry’s account, for he was very weak. That night we got a note from Pa who was staying at Indianfield, asking Hennie to send for them very early the next morning, he said Uncle Rene’s[70] horses would be used for something else as there was no time to be lost, and telling her to have the silver ready, we thought the note very mysterious, but were not at all alarmed by it, for on the 16th the next day, Grand Pa[71] sent off for salt, and sent one of the servants to town for some things we needed.

After breakfast I was quietly reading “The Queens of England,” when we heard a horse racing up the avenue, Cousin Henrietta[72] had sent word to say that the Yankees were at Moorfield, and asked two of us for pity sake go and stay with her. You can never imagine our feelings when we heard it and thought of Aunt Ria by herself, my first impulse was to burn my letters and to put on a suit of good clothes in case the others should be taken. By that time the carriage came from Indianfield, and Pa came in; he was in such a hurry that he never said “Good morning,” but told us to come and help him pack. He then went in and told Harry that he must go right off; fright seemed to make us all strong, for two of us nearly ran with Harry’s trunk down one flight of stairs and up another. Pa and Harry went off in the carriage loaded with all kinds of things and Uncle Rene went on horse back. Though it was a relief to get them off it was a very sad parting, for we did not know when we would meet again, and the excitement in Harry’s weak state made him so nervous we were very uneasy about him.

Soon after they got off we remembered the wine up-stairs, and though we did not know at what moment the Yankees would be here, we made the attempt to bring it down, and then we had time to seal the bottles and have them buried in the garden. By that time a wagon came from Moorfield with some of Aunt Ria’s things; we were very much relieved to hear that the enemy was not at Moorfield, but near Walworth. A carriage then came from Indianfield, and you would have been amused to see the number of people in it, four nurses and eight children. The house was in confusion all day. Belle and Aunt Ria both moving over, and Grand Pa moving provisions into the house, we all worked so hard that we were completely worn out by night. Aunt Ria came that evening and told us how the mistake had been made, she had written to Sarrazins exactly what she wrote us the evening before; the family there sent word to the driver at Brunswick that the Yankees were near Moorfield, and he must give out the corn to the negroes; the driver sent word to Northampton that they were at Moorfield. As everything was so quiet Emily[73] and I went to spend the night with Cousin Henrietta we had not been frightened enough for one day, for after supper, Mr. Jervey’s[74] entire family came down. They had heard that the raiders had burnt Mr. Parker’s house near them; they had intended coming down the next day, but this news brought them at once. Emily had gone to bed with a headache, and wanted to get up and come home, but I persuaded her they could not get there before the next day, though I was so frightened I could scarcely stand. So much for one day of Yankee fright!

Febr’y. 17. We were quite relieved to hear that the enemy had taken the State Road, and gone down to Summerville. They had visited several places and taken what they pleased. On our way home we met Belle[75] and Sister[76] who told us of a report that the Yankees were at The Rocks Church and the plantation on their way to Belle Isle. I did not believe it, but thought it better to be prepared, so buried a few things. Aunt Ria received a note from Cousin Edward[77] saying there was no truth in the reports we had heard, that there was not a Yankee this side of Orangeburg. We were not left quiet for long, for that evening Capt. Guerard, from Savannah, rode up to say that he had come to notify the planters that all of their corn was to be impressed by our government to feed the army on its retreat from Charleston, and that planters would be obliged to remove their property beyond the lines. This was the first intimation we had that the evacuation had commenced. We then held a council of war, and decided that we must send and let the gentlemen know what we had heard; fortunately we had found out that they were at the Eady’s. We all felt very blue for we heard that our army was crossing as fast as possible at St. Stephens, and then the bridge was to be burned.

Febr’y. 18th. By breakfast time, the hiding party arrived. At first Pa said it was impossible to stay here; that we must leave, if we had to walk, but upon deliberation he concluded we could not go, for the railroad being cut, our only way was by Orangeburg, which we knew had been in the hands of the enemy, and besides, we did not know if we had a house to go to, for we had heard nothing definite from Aiken. We had three of our soldiers to spend the night, and they cheered us up a great deal, and said it was best to stay at home.

Feb’y. 19th. I have never spent such a Sunday, and hope I never will spend such another; we were in confusion from the time we got up until we went to bed. Aunt Bet[78] moved over, and Mr. Gignilliat came with her to spend a few hours.

I had just been hoping that some of the soldiers we knew would stop here. That night after we had all retired, Tom Heyward came up, his feet all blistered from marching. On the 20th. Tom Heyward, Tom Porcher Ravenel, and Samuel Ravenel all left to join their respective commands, Tom Porcher having joined Mr. Gignilliat’s battery. We were very anxious that Harry should go along with them, but he was by no means strong enough.

Nothing occurred of any consequence except our soldiers coming in continually, until the 24th, when we heard that there was fighting down at Biggin Church. Uncle Thomas,[79] who was at home, hurried off, and Belle[80] moved her family to Pineville to secure a summer home. About dinner time a party of horsemen rode up; for a time we thought them Yankees, but soon found out they were a squad under Lieut. Miller from Colcock’s cavalry. On the 25th just at dinner time, Dr. Waring[81] drove up to say that Uncle Thomas would pass through in a few moments on his way to St. Stephens and that our pickets were retreating before the enemy. In a very short time a number of our men passed through the yard. We felt as if our last friends had left us, and that we would never see a Confederate soldier again, and to add to our discomfort Dr. Waring told us that the Yankees had visited Gippy, taken all they wished, and then given out everything else to the negroes. Cousin Catherine’s[82] clothes were thrown out, her bed clothes, towels, &c., burnt; her person was guarded; that was all. Of course this put us in a state of mind. That night Pennie[83] and myself sat up until 2:00 o’clock putting away things in a mattress. We opened the cotton and put the things between. Though the next day was Sunday we found a hiding place in our room and put away a great many things. That evening we heard that Mr. Harvey[84] had been visited, but not very badly treated. Just as we had gone up stairs a servant of Uncle Rene’s came in to say that the Yankees were all along the road from Fairspring to Wantoot. We all slept in our clothes that night for we were certain they would be here before morning. On the 27th about midday the alarm was given that “the Yankees were coming” but we had our fright for nothing, for they turned out to be some of our scouts under Lieut. Bright. They had four prisoners taken near Mr. Westcoat’s place with a cart full of things. Two of our men said they wanted to kill the prisoners but the others would not let them. They stayed that night, and the next at Harbin, or a part of the next, for a servant betrayed and they were taken so much by surprise that two of these men were killed, two wounded and Bright and two of his men taken prisoners. The Yankees fired several times into the house thinking men were there. They then gave out everything to the negroes, which they all brought back to Cousin Jane.[85]

The 1st of March is a day which we will never forget; everything went on as usual until nine o’clock at night when we heard several pistol shots in the negro yard. I ran up stairs to tell Pennie who had gone to bed and by the time I got back we heard a noise at the back door; our hearts sank when we heard them talking, for they were negroes without an officer, what we had always dreaded. They asked for the master of the house, and when Grand Pa went out, they asked in the most insolent manner for his horses, wagons, meat and poultry. They then asked if there were any fire arms in the house, and told there was none but a plantation gun. They said they would not believe that such a house could be without a gun and that they would have it or shed blood. They then went off into the yard to get the things. They emptied the smokehouse; took what poultry they wanted, and then went to the store room under the house, took a few things from there and told the negroes to go in and take the rest;—which they did, cleaning out the store room and meat room. There were a great many things there for Aunt Bet had moved over her provisions. The plantation negroes took about twenty bushels of salt; twenty of rice; fifteen of grist, besides several jars of lard, molasses; all of Hennie’s soap, a box of Pineland crockery and a good many other things. They left us with one quart of salt in the house and would not bring any of it back, until Pa stated the case to a white Yankee, the next day and he went around and made them bring some of it back. When the negro soldiers first went to the store room they sent for Grand Pa. It made our blood curdle to hear our aged relative spoken to in the manner they did. We were all in the hall and could hear everything that went on below. After some very impudent language we heard a gun click. I will never forget that moment as long as I live. The wretch had his gun pointed at Grand Pa, and though we found out afterwards that they did not dare to take life, we did not know it at the time. After this they called up the negroes and told them they were free, and if they worked for Grand Pa again they would shoot them. They then went off with three horses, a wagon and a buggy. They told the negroes that the army would be through the next day to take our clothes and other things. Three of us sat up in the hall for the rest of the night, and though the others retired to their rooms there was rest for no one. It must have been too mortifying to poor Grand Pa for his negroes to behave as they did, taking the bread out of our mouths. I thought better of them than that. I have attempted to describe that dreadful night, but nothing can come up to the reality. The next morning everything looked so desolate that it made us feel sad, most of the house servants came in crying, and said they were willing to do for us, but were afraid. Of course we would not put them in any danger, so sent them all off. We sat down to breakfast to a plate of hominy and cold corn bread that had been cooked the day before for one of our soldiers. The very night before we had sat down to an elaborate supper;—such are the fortunes of war! We cleaned up the house and cooked dinner, looking all the time for our friends for such we considered the officers. Just as our dinner was put on the table a party rode up; we were so glad to see them that we all went in the piazza. The officer came forward and bowed very politely. Pa then told him how we had been treated the night before and asked what guarantee we would have against such treatment in the future.

Capt. Hurlbut who was in command of the party said that the black soldiers had no authority to come without an officer and if found, they would be punished. He said that Gen’l. Potter would be along soon and we might get a protection from him, but afterwards he said that he would write a paper which might do us good, and certainly would do no harm. I do not remember the words; but, the sense of it was, that we had very wisely remained at home, while many had flocked to other parts of the Confederacy. He said that everything had already been taken from us, and he would advise that we would not be further molested. He then spoke to the negroes, told them they were free and could either go away or stay at home, but if they remained on the place, they must work, for no one could live without working. He told them they would be better off if they stayed at home.

Soon after Col. Hartwell and staff arrived. They all agreed in saying that the marauders would be punished and the Colonel signed the paper. One of his staff got quite familiar; played with Aunt Ria’s baby, little Maria, and ended by kissing her. We laugh and tell the baby she has caught a Yankee beau, and she always laughs and seems to enjoy the joke. In a very short time Gen’l Potter and his staff came up in the piazza. Then the army commenced passing through the yard, about three regiments of infantry, one white and two colored passed through, besides artillery and cavalry. Each one stopped (sic) and the men ran in every direction after poultry. They marched the colored regiments right by the piazza; I suppose as an insult to us. The negroes were collected in the yard and cheered them on, Hennie[86] and Sister[87] asked the General if he could not leave us a guard that night, but, he said there was no use; his army did not straggle, and that he could not leave a guard at every place he passed. The General did not make a favorable impression on us;[88] he was very short in his manner, but his staff were very polite. One of them told us to try the General again.

You must not be too surprised at our staying out in the piazza with so many men, for there were a great many of us to keep company, and then we had never seen such a sight in our lives before. The last of the army had not left the yard before we saw the General returning; he said he had determined to take up his headquarters here that night. We were all of course, delighted for we could not have been better guarded. They had the parlor for their sitting room, and one chamber for the General. The wagon train camped just in front of the house, and two regiments in the field in front. There was a sentinel at the front and one at the back door all night. The camp fires looked very pretty at night. Did we ever imagine that Pooshee would be headquarters for a Yankee army? About two hundred head of poultry and a great many sheep were killed; the negroes’ own did not escape! We recognized one of the prisoners (that our scouts had here the first of the week) driving a cart, and Lieut. Bright and his men were prisoners that night in the wash room, one of them asked to be allowed to speak to some of the girls who were at the back door; he seemed to be a gentleman.

During the course of the next day soldiers were continually passing through. Our protection paper was of great use, for we were not molested again and from that day to this 9th of March we have been in comparative quiet.

Wantoot[89] house has been burned, also seven unoccupied houses in Pineville. Some of the residents there were shamefully treated, even their clothes taken from them. Uncle Rene was among the fortunate ones; he only had a ham stolen from his house but all of his poultry. They went into the house at Woodboo, though a Mrs. Williams was living there to protect it, opened every drawer and box in the house; dressed themselves in Uncle Thomas’s and the boys’ new clothes, leaving their old ones behind.

At Northampton they were told by the negroes that a good many things were hid in the house, so made a thorough search. They actually threatened to hang Mr. Jervey, and had the rope brought. For some time they had been told (that treasure?) had been buried. The people about here would not have suffered near as much if it had not been for these negroes; in every case they have told where things have been hidden and they did most of the stealing. The negroes here have behaved worse than any I have heard of yet.

Daddy Sandy is as faithful as ever. He is sorry that the Yankees have been here. George still comes about the house, but does not do much. Daddy Billy, who we all thought so much of, has not come in since they were made free. He pretends to be hurt because Hennie told him he could go if he wanted to. Hennie’s maid Annette has taken herself off. Kate comes in regularly to attend in the bed rooms night and morning.

We have to do our own cooking now, and you don’t know how nicely we do it. * * * * * We take it by turns to cook dinner in the pantry, two going together every day. * * * I have not touched my needle for a week; would you believe that? The field negroes are in a dreadful state; they will not work, but either roam the country, or sit in their houses. At first they all said they were going, but have changed their minds now. Pa has a plan to propose to them by which they are to pay Grand Pa so much for the hire of the land and houses; but they will not come up to hear it. I do not see how we are to live in this country without any rule or regulation. We are afraid now to walk outside of the gate. * * * * *

We have just heard a report that Charlie Porcher has been taken prisoner in a fight near Aiken, and fear it is true. Do let me tell you a smart trick of Cephas, Grand Pa’s carpenter! It is worthy of the Yankees. Before (the minds of the) Moorfield negroes had been poisoned, he went there and told the servant Robert that Aunt Ria had sent him for a cart, five turkeys and a sheep. He then came here at night, took up his wife Adela and traveled off to Charleston. One of Aunt Ria’s negroes who had always been sick got one mule from Moorfield, another mule and carriage from some other place, went to Pinopolis and took all of Mr. Stevens’s[90] books. The next day he went for the piano. He told some of the negroes that he had been playing on it already. The negroes are in the most lawless and demoralized state imaginable. If this is what the Yankees intended they have made their work complete. We have to keep everything under lock and key, and can call nothing our own now.

Grand Pa seems completely broken down, tho’ he tries to keep up. It must be too hard for one of his age to have everything so changed from what he has been accustomed to all of his life.

The day that the Yankees left here, George brought in an envelope which he found in the prison (the wash-house). It was directed to “Miss Carrie Cribbs,” Tuscaloosa, Ala. On the back was a Confederate stamp, and inside a blank sheet of paper folded. At first we did not think anything of it; but the idea soon struck Aunt Bet that it was left here with an object, which was that we should write and let the young lady know what had become of him. We heard afterward that one of the prisoners’ name was “Cribbs,” so that settled all doubts we had on the subject. We will send the letter off the first opportunity we hear of, tho’ I can’t say when that will be, for we are entirely cut off from the world and almost entirely from neighborhood news.

March 10. We received notes from White Hall and Sarrazins and also a letter from Alice Palmer, quite a treat. The White Hall negroes behaved shamefully; they rushed into the house; tore down the curtains, carried off bedding, blankets and trunks, and are grumbling now that they have not enough. We hear that one man asked Cousin Marianne[91] to step out and take a dance, that they were on equality now.

March 11. Uncle Rene dined here to-day. It was really refreshing to see some one out of the house. He says there is a report that Sherman has been defeated with heavy loss, and is going down to Georgetown. I fear it is too good to be true. Uncle Rene also brought the news that fighting was going on at Blue Hole, Uncle Charles Snowden’s place. I suppose it can only be a skirmish. How composedly we can be talking of fighting in our very midst!

One item of news, which I must not forget to tell you, is that Newport has taken the cooking, and we are all ladies again.

March 13th. Dr Waring[92] came in to-day and told us the particulars of the affair at Blue Hole. On Thursday four Yankee negroes, with a good many plantation negroes, armed, went to Moorfield. There they found a quantity of wine. A good many men joined them from there and Cedar Grove, mounted on anything they could find, and in a drunken state they all rode up the Parish. When they reached Blue Hole, Charlie Snowden, who was there on a visit, went off and informed our scouts. They killed two or three of the negroes, and took several prisoners, which I do not think they kept long. After they left, the negro soldiers made the negroes move everything out of the house, and the family had to go into the kitchen. The next day our scouts came up again to assist Aunt Harrie[93] in recovering her things; but, she begged them to go away; that they had been the cause of her trouble, so they left in not at all a good humor, and we have heard nothing more. I hope young Charlie Snowden has succeeded in getting out of the way. Several of the people about here have put up the white flag, because the Yankees told them it would be a sign that they had already been visited. Our scouts did not like it; they said it looked as if the country had submitted, so they have all been taken down. I am so glad we never had one up.

March 14th. We all went to Northampton this morning to pay a visit; quite an era in our own monotonous lives. Pa rode on horse-back and we closed up the ranks on foot.

March 15th. Aunt Ria left us this morning to stay a while at Woodlawn. She went in the buggy with the baby and Maum Mary; the two boys followed in the cart.

March 16th. Dr. White[94] dined here to-day; he had just crossed the river. He had not seen a paper for some time, so, of course, could not tell us much news. Sherman had not been defeated and was avoiding a battle.

March 17th. Drs. White and Waring paid visits here to-day. We are not as much cut off as we expected at first. Dr. Waring told us he heard that the oath of allegiance was to be offered to every man in the country. This is the worst news we have heard of for some time. Pa and Harry will try and get out of the way, but Grand Pa will be compelled to take it.

March 18th. Mr. Cain and Anna Maria were here to-day; the old gentleman seems to feel his loss very much.

March 20th. * * * * This morning Pa went to Woodlawn to try and make arrangements for carrying us all to Aiken. He has succeeded in hiring three mules, and the present plan is that we are to start on Wednesday in a wagon,—Rather a novel style of making the trip! We are all anxious now to go, but hate so much leaving Grand Pa, and the rest of the family, particularly in Grand Pa’s state of health.

March 21st. We heard rumors to-day of the enemy landing on the banks of the Santee, and coming this way in great force which made Pa decide not to go on Wednesday. * * * * *

March 22nd. We heard to-day from Nina[95] and Cousin James Wilson. * * * Nina writes on the 16th of March from Winnsboro. She had met the enemy there and had not lost much. * * * a good many houses were burned in Winnsboro, also the Episcopal Church, and they were kept in constant fear. Cousin James and family lost everything by fire in Columbia—They had to spend one night in the woods with Nana’s[96] baby only ten days old. How much some people have suffered. We have every cause to be thankful, for we have suffered very little in comparison to others.

We also heard to-day of several battles in which we had been victorious; that France had recognized the Confederacy and the United States had declared war against Mexico,—if it could only be true! We cannot help feeling hopeful anyhow.

Dr. Waring mentioned that a few Yankees had landed, but had gone back to their gun boats, so the Aiken cavalcade is to go off in the morning.

March 23rd. The Club House[97] came down with a crash this evening, or rather the frame, for the Yankees had nearly stripped it of boards and the negroes finished it.

March 24th. The caravan started for Aiken to-day. The negroes are behaving a great deal better now on most of the plantations; they have commenced working again, and most of them that went to town have come back, which I think will have a very good effect on the others. Our scouts have done a great deal of good in making the negroes afraid to go out.

March 25th. Harbin house was burned yesterday about 2:00 o’clock by accident we hear. We have heard no particulars, or what has become of the family. Mr. Myers (the overseer) returned home to-day to join the scouts. He reports that Sherman has been defeated in N. C. and four thousand prisoners taken. He was perfectly surprised to see the state of things here, so different from what they are on the river. We feel very anxious about Henry,[98] for Mr. Myers left him a week ago in Chester quite sick. He was in a cotton house as he could not get private lodgings. We saw a Charleston Courier of 21st of March. The Yankees claim the victories of all the battles that have been fought lately, and say the Rebels are nearly done up! That remains to be proved.

March 26th. This day will long be remembered by the people of Pineville. The Regulators[99] had just returned from Mt. Pleasant with a supply of arms and ammunition—Last night they sent to several of the gentlemen and told them they would hang them the next day, but our scouts surprised them this morning and 27 were killed, eleven right off, and the others in the course of the day. One man was taken who told where their ammunition was hidden, and then he was dispatched. Several made their escape in the woods but the ring-leaders were killed;—15 were killed from Capt. Gourdin’s place. Our force was 56 men; that of the negroes was not known, though supposed to be less. We hear that Col. Ferguson[100] is on his way with 1,500 men, and Major Jenkins with six companies. They will soon put things straight again.

March 30th. * * * Mr. Stevens arrived to-day. He does not appear to think anything of the behavior of his flock; but I know he must feel mortified and disappointed. He will remain and preach for us as long as it is safe for him to do so. To-day has been a regular mail day. Mr. Stevens brought letters from Nina, Mrs. Sams and Auntie,[101] * * * one from Uncle Charlie Snowden saying he had taken possession of our farm, and also mentioning that some of Wheeler’s men had broken into the house, taken all of the carpets, blankets and provisions. * * * This evening Hennie received a long note from Cousin Marianne Porcher; she mentioned that Hardee had been repulsed, but that after that Johnston had defeated Sherman taking 4,000 prisoners.

Press Smith was wounded in both legs, and his brother Porcher in the head; both were doing well; Ravenel Macbeth was wounded and a prisoner. We have heard nothing of our other friends. Cousin Marianne says she heard from negroes that the entire Barker family had taken the oath of allegiance and were preparing to go to the city. We cannot blame them for we do not know how they were situated. Dr. Motte had refused the oath up here, but was carried to Charleston, and there he was made to take it. Mr. Holmes refused to take it and is now a prisoner. I do not know how true all this is, but we must take it for what it is worth. I am very thankful that Pa has gotten away and that we do not live on Cooper river. * * *

March 31st. The Northampton people paid a visit here to-day. Willie Jervey is at home for a short time. We heard a report to-day that Charleston was blockaded by fifty French vessels and that the Yankees were preparing to evacuate the place. It came from a man about here who had gone down to the Gunboat to take the oath of allegiance.

April 1st. The negroes’ freedom was brought to a close to-day. During the morning a party of our scouts rode up and asked if Grand Pa wished them to do anything for him. Grand Pa told them that one of his negroes had been seen with a gun but had said that it belonged to one of Uncle Rene’s men who had gone to town, so the scouts went off. We were very uneasy when we saw them coming, fearing that they might be Yankees. About dinner time another party came up, Edward Dennis, Mr. McTureous and several others. They requested the negroes be called up, and told them they were not free, but slaves, and would be until they died; that the Yankees had no right to free them, and that they were to go to work as they had always done with a driver;[102] that they would be here every two or three days to see that they worked, and the first one caught out without a ticket would be killed. Then they demanded guns from two of them and said they were to be forthcoming. Poor deluded creatures! Their friends the Yankees have done them more harm than good; this day month their freedom was proclaimed. One report to-day is that the white Union soldiers in Savannah united with the citizens and massacred 4,000 blacks on account of their outrageous behavior. Another is that the Gun Boats have left the Santee and the one on Cooper river has gone lower down. About dark after we had shut up the house we heard a loud rap at the front door, and much to our surprise it proved to be your father (Mr. Heyward). He had come all the way from Aiken on horseback to carry Aunt Bet back.

April 2nd. We have been permitted the privilege of again meeting at church to offer our thanks to God for his manifold mercies to us during this terrible time. Nearly every one in the Parish succeeded in getting there, mules supplying the places of all horses that had been taken. It was very pleasant to meet our friends, whom we had not seen for six weeks.

April 4th. Aunt Bet started to-day for Aiken with a carriage, two wagons, one cart, one donkey cart, two cows and an outrider,—quite a cavalcade! We heard today that two of the ring leaders from Pineville went to the Gunboat and told how they had been treated, whereupon the officers had them put in irons and sent to Charleston, and told them, if they had only known it, they would have sent a company to help the white men. We received numerous letters from Aiken this morning by the return wagons. I am sorry to say that Wheeler’s men have done us more damage than the Yankees. I did not mind it at first when I thought they had only taken things they needed, but I do blame them very much for their wanton destruction of property that they ought to protect. It is a shame and they ought to be exposed.

April 6th. The scouts were here again to-day under Lieut. Pettus.[103] Charlie Snowden has joined them. Hennie got them to go to Wampee and send her maid Anette home.

April 8th. We have had another visit to-day from the Yankees. Before breakfast we saw smoke in the direction of Somerset, and the negroes told us they had heard a drum and fife in the night. We thought it was imagination until a servant from Wantoot told us that the Yankees had burnt Somerset house and were coming on. Soon after we saw them coming through the field, and in a very short time the house was full of black Yankees. I remained in the hall to see what they would take there, and to keep a watch on our room door. The first one that came into the room asked for fire arms. I told him they had all been taken. The next one asked for silver. I had no idea of showing him, so told him I was not the lady of the house. He made no reply but went on looking. A number then came in, and the silver was soon found and carried off; 40 small pieces of table silver and soup ladle; these, and one candle stick were the only things taken from the hall. Grand Pa lost all of his clothes that he had out. A box was broken open, some sheets and table cloths taken, the rest flung over the floor interspersed with broken eggs. The safe door was broken open and the ham taken. Several other rooms were entered and things taken; but, I am thankful to say our room was left untouched. All of the horses were taken. Gen’l Hartwell took good care not to come up until the darkies had left. He told his Captain to go and see if he could get the silver and one horse back, which, of course, we knew he did not mean him to do. The object of their visit was to catch the scouts. They said we had brought all of this on ourselves for encouraging the scouts.

Uncle Rene and Uncle William have both been taken prisoners and we hear, are to be carried to Charleston. They took the latter to get information from him,—so they say, but we think they took him because he had entertained the scouts. Uncle Rene had to put himself under the protection of the General as there was a conspiracy detected among the black troops to come back that night and kill him. The Yankees went to Mexico this evening and I suppose will visit all the places up there.

April 10th. Of course there was no service yesterday. Dr. Waring paid a visit and told us that Mr. Stevens was still in the Parish, but keeping close. This morning several of the negro men came to Grand Pa and asked to be allowed to stay here and work; they would do anything he told them. The Yankees told them to go with them, but they said they did not want to go. Two of the boys from here have joined the (U. S.?) Army.

April 11th. * * * * Cousin Mazyck Porcher[104] has been taken prisoner. Mexico house and all the out buildings have been burned. Last accounts of the enemy they were at Eutaw Springs.

April 12th. Uncle Rene and Uncle Wm. returned home to-day. We were too thankful to hear of their release. They were carried as far as Eutaw, and then told to “Go Home.”

Woodlawn, April 14th. Uncle Rene drove Sister home, and I came back here to take her place. Uncle Rene and Uncle William had a most dreadful experience on the ride from Pineville to Mexico with the Army. At one time they were guarded by only one black soldier, and they could hear others all around trying to bribe their guard to give them up to be killed; but the guard, though a darky, was above bribing.

Pooshee, April 20th. I returned here to-day quite unexpectedly. Pa came down last night and went over for me. We are to leave on Monday. We hear the most exaggerated accounts of things here. To-day’s reports are that Lee’s Army, 32,000, has surrendered to Grant, and all the men paroled not to fight again during the war. The other report is that Sumterville and Summerton have both been burnt to the ground; of course we do not believe either of them.

April 21st. We hear to-day that there has been a fight on the river, and two regiments of blacks under Potter completely cut up.

April 22nd. Today’s news is very cheering; it is that Lincoln and Seward have both been assassinated, and that there is to be an Armistice.

(Here the diary-letter ends without signature.)


(Written in December, 1917, to be Read at a Meeting of The
Girls of the Sixties, Columbia, S. C.

The evacuation of Charleston, crossing of our soldiers over the Santee river, burning the bridge behind them, left the lower part of the State in the power of the Yankees.

My home was in this deserted region. We knew that our enemies were all around and had visited in no kind manner many of the neighboring plantations, but Chelsea, our plantation and winter home, seemed to be exempted. We learned afterward that this was due to the devotion of our slaves.

At last the Yankees did come. Our home, a big old colonial house built in 1714, was packed with refugees run from the coast from their homes earlier in the war. My mother directed each of us to go to my grandmother’s room as soon as we saw the Yankees coming, and meet them in a body there. My grandmother had passed her eightieth mile-stone and was old for her years.

As day after day passed and no Yankees came we felt more at ease. On one particular day in February, 1865, the young folks were sitting in a room removed from the main body of the house, one reading aloud and the others knitting, when my sister-in-law put her head in at the door and exclaimed, “Girls, the Yankees.” There was a rush for the house and my grandmother’s room. Just as we reached it the house was surrounded by an excited crowd of men calling for the Confederate soldier they had seen enter the house. There was no soldier there and they were so informed, but they insisted there was one for they had seen him. Their officers had some trouble in keeping them from searching the house. One officer stood at the front door with my father, who was the physician of the neighborhood, Dr. Morton Waring, and the other at the back door with my mother and her sister. Just then the excitement was relieved by one of our young negro men walking up with a military cap on.

There was no soldier with us just then, only a boy not yet in service.

Our young horses were gone, for the negro boys had taken them all into the swamp a half mile away as soon as the Yankees were in sight. Some of the soldiers were anxious to take my father’s horses that he used for his practice, but this Captain Hulbert, one of their officers, would not permit, telling his men they might need the services of a doctor and he could not get to them if his horses were gone.

Captain Hulbert told my father that his negroes had represented him as such a kind friend to them that the general in command had directed him not to enter his house or permit any outrages, only to free the negroes, as they thought they were slaves until each plantation was visited and the negroes told they were free.

But the soldiers were not satisfied and meant to have something if possible, so they surrounded the smoke house and told one of our negro men to go up and throw out the meat. Of course he obeyed. As my father and Captain Hulbert walked quickly up one of our negroes stepped up to the captain and said, “Please don’t let your men take our meat. This belongs to us negroes.” This was not strictly true as the meat was for us all, but it had the desired effect. The meat was left.

At this time when we were so anxious and worried our negroes showed themselves true friends by concealing our valuables. Different ones would come at night and offer to take anything we would entrust to them and hide it for us. In this way many valuables were entrusted to them which were taken care of and returned after all was safe, in every case under cover of night. Our silver of course was buried by members of the family.

During this same period we were surprised one day by seeing a buggy coming up with two men in it, one wrapped in a blanket, the other, his son, driving. These were Dr. Peter Snowden and his son Charlie. When they drew up in front of the house and asked for my mother she went to them at once and was accosted by one of these gentlemen, both of whom she knew well. He was one of the scouts and had been wounded and taken refuge at the next plantation, but the Yankees hearing of his hiding place were in pursuit of him, so he came to see if my father could help him. My father was not at home, but my mother never hesitated. She made a bed in a small room where my father had hidden much corn and other provisions, and placed a large press in front of the door which it entirely concealed. In this store room our scout was cared for until he was able to go further. While arrangements were being made for him my grandmother called my mother to her and said, “Anne, do you know what you are doing, you have many helpless ones in your care and this piece of kindness may cost you your home?” My mother replied, “It is my duty to protect him. I will do it. God will do the rest.” When my father reached home he commended her action.

If the Yankees ever knew the wounded scout was with us they certainly made no sign indicating they possessed such knowledge.

There were skirmishes about in our neighborhood between the northern troops passing through on their way to Columbia, Camden and other points, and our scouts. These were men sent back to protect the helpless ones left behind. They used a kind of guerilla warfare, but sometimes they had a real open skirmish. One of these was on a plantation near our home and my father was sent for to dress the wound of one soldier, I think a Yankee, another having been killed in the same fight. The mistress[105] of this plantation had two young nieces with her for companionship. Her husband, of course, was away, and her children very small. The older of these girls carried a pistol in her pocket for protection. One day the pistol discharged its contents into her thigh. Only a flesh wound resulted, but it alarmed the family very much. My father was called and after making her comfortable he persuaded her aunt to let him take her home with him. She improved rapidly and was soon able to walk around. Then she thought best to return to her aunt. We had not seen or heard of any Yankees in the neighborhood for several days so my father thought we might venture the trip of two miles in our carriage. My sister and I went with her. As we were crossing the Santee canal about a mile from our house we saw some soldiers on the bridge. Tom, our coachman, drove quietly on, but as soon as we crossed we were halted and our carriage surrounded by blue coats who were rather inquisitive. We had driven right up to a long line of marching Yankees. A portion of Hartwell’s army on its way to the up country. Some of them recognized our friend, having seen her at Harbin, the home of her aunt, so accosted her with “Halloo Leize and Sallie. There are Leize and Sallie.” They had mistaken me for her sister. My sister in a quiet manner and voice asked to speak to their commanding officer. This caused them to stand back while one went for the officer. After a while, which seemed much longer than it really was, the officer (I believe a colonel) rode up and asked her business. She told him we were on our way to a neighboring plantation to make a friendly visit and return, and asked his protection for the trip. He told her he was obliged to detain us where we were for a time, but we should be protected. That as he had to march on with his command he would leave us in charge of a guard. This he did at once, so that in a very short time our guards were the only soldiers in sight except one that was sent back with a dispatch to the Major of the fifty-fifth. While he was waiting for the major and his men to come up he sat at the root of a large pine and played beautiful music on a very sweet flute that he had stolen from one of the plantations. I had heard that flute so often, it belonged to Rene Jervey. As we were circumstanced it was better to assume a friendliness of manner with our guard who was a very polite Canadian named Alfred Brett. He said he was only fighting for his pay, that he did not care which side whipped.

After listening to his yarns for some hours my sister asked him why he was detaining us and how long he meant to keep us there. He replied “I must keep you until General Hartwell’s division passes. He has many regiments of colored troops and if you should meet them I could not answer for the consequences, they are coming by the same road you are going.” My sister said “But if you will allow us, we will return straight home by the same road we came.” He agreed to this and told Tom to hitch up, which Tom did with the sorry horse he gave in place of our beautiful one he stole. He did not wish the other so let us keep him. This certainly gave us a pair of wretchedly matched horses, one large gray and the other a small red hack that loped all the time in harness that was so large it could scarcely be kept on.

While guarding us Mr. Brett had an eye to self. He asked Tom very particularly about one of my father’s sulky horses, a very fine iron gray named “Beauregard,” where he was kept and so on, and said he wanted him. Tom suspecting mischief consulted with our foreman as soon as we reached home and between them they determined to save the horse, and lost no time about it. They took my father into their confidence.

Not long after we reached home and before the excitement caused by our story had subsided my father came driving slowly home behind an old frame of bones in a much bruised horse hide. They had met him at Woodlawn plantation where he had gone professionally and taken his horse. Zeleka would not stand haltered, so we hoped she would come home. Sure enough that night after she had eaten her oats and all was quiet she slipped her halter and started homeward. She had gone quite a long way when one of our scouts caught her. He used her and took care of her until the troubles were over, then returned her to my father.

Early the morning after our capture the whole plantation was thrown into wild excitement. During the night the stable door was unhinged and Beauregard taken, the news spreading through the neighborhood. The doctor could not visit his patients, both of his horses having been taken. Other persons lost their horses too, so he could only go as best he could to the urgent cases. Then the weary weeks of waiting, we could hear nothing of my brother. All we knew was he was with General Young’s brigade wherever that was. Some of the men from St. John’s Parish had gotten home but none had seen or heard of him. The war was over. The army disbanded, and we were still waiting. One memorable day about the middle of April we were gathered in the parlor trying to be cheerful and busying ourselves with mending when our butler stepped into the room and said in a most joyous voice “Mars John.” O, such a rush for the front door where my mother ahead of the rest had her soldier boy in her arms. It was a happy household that night that gathered around the family altar. Some time after this we were again gathered in the parlor. This time chattering of how we were going to make our little serve for a great deal, when we were attracted by the neighing of a horse at the fence near by and looking up saw Beauregard. What a welcome he received. Tom thought it safe for him to come home so released him from his hiding place in the swamp.

No. 280.

APRIL 5-15.

(From pp. 1042-1043, ‘War of Rebln Official Records,’ &c. Series
I: Vol. XLVII, Part 1. “Campaign of the Carolinas, etc."

Headquarters Provisional Brigade.
No. 8 Meeting St., Charleston, S. C., Ap’l. 15, 1865.

Captain: The following is respectfully submitted as the report of the expedition to the Santee River under my command:

In pursuance of orders received from Brig. Gen. John P. Hatch, I caused, on the 5th of April, the Fifty-fourth New York Veteran Volunteers and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers to cross from James Island and assemble with a section of the Third New York Artillery at the Four Mile Tavern on the State Road. Starting early on the morning of the 6th inst., I reached Goose Creek at nightfall, and went into bivouac eighteen miles from this city. From this point I sent back for the surplus ammunition. On information from a contraband that there were from thirty to forty Rebel cavalry at a place called Dean Hall I sent, at 5:00 P.M. two companies to attempt to surprise this party. During the night I was notified that these two companies had been misled by the guide, and were awaiting orders near the Twenty-Five Mile House on the State Road. April 7 at 7:00 A.M. I started to Mr. Cain’s, near Black Oak, Santee Canal, some twenty-two miles, sending a detachment to Biggin’s Bridge, who rejoined the column at night, together with the two companies from the Twenty-Five Mile House. Thirty cavalry were in my front having gone from Dean Hall around my flank. I sent two companies to deploy and surround the house in which they were reported to be, and surprise them. The enemy, however, got notice of our approach in season to escape, leaving several blankets and guns, and their supper ready cooked. Mr. Cain had several sons in the Rebel army; he had entertained those who had just gone, and had recently given them a grand dinner; his barn accidentally, or by some unknown incendiary, was burned.

Marched at 7:00 A.M. on the 8th of April, and halted at noon in Pineville for dinner. Reached Mexico at nightfall, and went into bivouac there. Distance marched, about twenty miles.

The people in Pineville implored our protection from the negroes, who were arming themselves and threatening the lives of their masters. Mr. Reno (sic) Ravenel requested me to take him with me to save his life. The negroes flocked in from all sides.

At Mexico I found that Mr. Mazyck Porcher had made his house the headquarters of the Rebels in the vicinity. While I was on his grounds his property was protected, but was burned to the ground immediately on my leaving, I think, by his field hands.

April 9, started for Eutaw Creek, thirteen miles distant. Some skirmishing occurred; but dispersed the enemy with a few shells.

From Eutaw Creek I sent two companies to Nelson’s Ferry, who sent me word at night that General Potter had gone up the Santee in transports the day before, and that they had burned forty or fifty bales of cotton that night on the opposite shore. During the night a contraband reported to me that General Potter had encountered the enemy at Manningsville, and had had a skirmish there. He was advancing, however, to Sumterville. A certain Lieutenant Pettus, commanding some Rebel cavalry in our vicinity, came in on a flag of truce at my request. I told this officer that he would not quarter in or near houses, or fire from houses, if he cared to save them from destruction. I also sent by this officer a note to General Ferguson, suggesting the propriety of his recalling his scouts from attempting to coerce the slaves to labor.

April 10. Sent parties to Vance’s Ferry and vicinity to gather corn and rice together to feed the contrabands which had congregated together on the march. Marched at 5:00 P.M., taking the cross-road to the State Road. At about 10.00 P.M. we encountered twenty-five or thirty Rebel cavalry; shots were exchanged and they disappeared, leaving a gun, some blankets, and hats, &c.; bivouacked fifteen miles from starting point at midnight.

April 11. Marched at daylight down the State Road; found that the bridges over Cypress Swamp were in bad condition, and was delayed by the falling through of a limber and chest. From this delay, and my column being encumbered by the train of refugees, I did not take the Ridgeville Road, which was reported very heavy, but marched to the Twenty-Five Mile House, and there bivouacked.

April 12, marched to Goose Creek, leaving there two companies and the train of refugees. The rest of my command I marched to the Four Mile Tavern, where they still remain. The companies left at Goose Creek have since rejoined them there.

I remain, Very Respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. S. Hartwell

Col. Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers,
Bv’t. Brig. Gen. of Vols.

Capt. L. B. Perry,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Northern Dist.,
Department of the South.


Extracts from the Diary of Col. Charles B. Fox, covering the
visit of black troops to Somerset and
Mexico Plantations.

April 7. The march was continued until the head of the column arrived within a short distance of Monck’s Corner, when it turned to the left, on the south side of the Santee Canal, and moved toward Pinopolis, a village of summer residences similar to Pineville, though smaller. Few families or articles contraband of war were found there. A detachment sent from Monck’s Corner to the canal and creek bridges on the Biggin-Church Road, reported no sign of the enemy in that direction. After marching until after dark, the command bivouacked, in line of battle, near the house of Mr. Cain, the artillery in position, and the men sleeping at the foot of their gun stacks. Squads of cavalry were reported in front and rear, and a mounted party, in advance of the infantry, were fired on just as the line for bivouac was formed. The cavalry seen, however, did not number over twenty-five or thirty; and the report of troops in line of battle in the front proved to be an error. Mr. Cain’s house and plantation were very fine. He claimed to have made an agreement with his former slaves, with which they were satisfied. Whether they were or not, few of them left him at that time. Many of the trees and fences around the yard were cut to strengthen the position, but the house and grounds were not otherwise injured.

April 8. The line of march was resumed in the early morning, in a drizzling rain, through the plantations to the Black-Oak Road, to Pineville, where a halt for dinner was made; thence to Mexico, to the plantation of W. M. Porcher. As the troops left Cain’s Plantation, the carriage-barn was fired, whether by accident or design is not known. The fire did not, however, spread to other buildings.

At Pineville, all sorts of rumors were current of the cruelties practiced by the guerilla cavalry, who were said to have shot and hung many of the negroes in that vicinity. The men of the Regiment were greatly excited, and effort was necessary to preserve discipline. It was difficult to trace most of the reports to their source, but it is to be feared that some of them had too good foundation. One thing was certain, that a company of negroes had a fight at Pineville, with a squad of Rebel scouts, under Lieut. Pettus, in which the latter had been at first defeated, and only effected their purpose after the arrival of reinforcements. Alarmed by these stories and events, an exodus of the freed people commenced at this point, which continued during the remainder of the expedition, until the refugee-train was far larger than the rest of the column.

The Porcher homestead was the most elegant which the expedition had seen. The house was filled with articles of convenience and luxury, with treasures of art and family relics. It was situated in a large park, shaded by magnificent trees. The position was good; and the line was formed for bivouac, the right at the mansion house, the left beyond that of the overseer, the out-buildings, over which guards were placed, being in the rear. There was slight picket-firing during the night, probably, however, at cattle and hogs. The march was resumed soon after daylight.

Mr. Porcher was known to have been an original and most decided Rebel, and he was taken to Charleston as a prisoner; but his property would not have been destroyed as it was, had he not in reply to the question of the provost-marshal, “If he had any wine in his cellars” merely stated that he had not, omitting to say that he had a large amount in the garret. During the night a quantity of this liquor reached the mounted men of the escort, and probably some of the refugees; and by one or the other, while in liquor, the house and all the outbuildings, except the dwelling of the overseer which was saved by the exertions of Chaplain Bowles, who had spent the night there, were set fire to and destroyed as soon as the guards were withdrawn and the troops upon the march. As soon as the existence of the wine was ascertained by the provost-marshal, Capt. Torrey, he destroyed what remained of it.


[1] Northampton. A St. Julien homestead, passing by marriage into the hands of Gen’l William Moultrie, whose name belongs to the history of the State. On this place he made the first experiment of cotton-planting on a large scale. The substantial brick house was destroyed by fire in 1842, but the massive walls were uninjured, and the loss done by fire restored. (From the “Upper Beat of St. John’s, Berkeley,” by Prof. F. A. Porcher.)

[2] William Jervey, Esq., of the Charleston Bar.

[3] Cedar Grove, my grandmother’s old home, away from the great thoroughfares, was our refuge during the war, but Father had promised that Aunt Nenna (Mrs. Stevens) should not be left with her two babies all alone to meet the Yankees—the place was Northampton, near Black Oak the center of Yankee raiding. We kept putting off our move until the news came of the army being at Orangeburg. S. R. J.

[4] Rene R. Jervey, son of W. J.

[5] James L. Jervey, C. S. A., son of W. J.

[6] William Henry Sinkler, C. S. A., son of Wm. Sinkler, of Belmont.

[7] Lieut. Oscar M. LaBorde, C. S. A., killed in the battle of Averysboro, March 15.

[8] Charles Stevens, son of Mrs. Henrietta Stevens.

[9] William Palmer;—body servant of late Henry L. Stevens, C. S. A.

[10] Mrs. Henrietta Stevens, widow of late Henry L. Stevens, C. S. A.

[11] Mr. Thomas P. Ravenel, Sr., C. S. A

[12] Hon. Wm. Cain, former Lt. Governor of South Carolina.

[13] Dr. Peter G. Snowden, C. S. A.

[14] “Neddie” Snowden, son of Dr. P. G. S.

[15] Edwin DuBose.

[16] Mrs. John S. White.

[17] A negro servant.

[18] A negro servant.

[19] A negro servant.

[20] Mrs. Jane Screven DuBose (Harbin).

[21] Dr. Henry Ravenel (Pooshee).

[22] Wm. F. Ravenel (Woodlawn).

[23] Miss Elizabeth Jervey.

[24] A negro servant (my grandmother’s faithful housekeeper). S. R. J

[25] Body servant of Henry L. Stevens, C. S. A.

[26] Negro servants; two of Uncle Henry’s most trusted negroes. S. R. J.

[27] Wm. St. Julien Jervey. C. S. A.

[28] Mrs. Percival (Maria) Porcher, widow of P. R. Porcher, C. S. A.

[29] Col. James Ferguson, father of General S. W. Ferguson, C. S. A., “Dockon,” his plantation on Cooper River.

[30] A non-commissioned black officer, known to the negroes as “the General.” S. R. J.

[31] A negro servant.

[32] Charles Snowden, C. S. A., afterwards an Episcopal minister.

[33] Lilla Snowden, daughter of Dr. P. G. Snowden.

[34] A negro servant.

[35] The Rev. (Lt. Col.) Peter F. Stevens, C. S. A., rector, Black Oak Church, afterwards Bishop, Reformed Episcopal Church.

[36] Miss Sallie Palmer, daughter of Dr. John Palmer.

[37] “John’s Run” plantation.

[38] Edward J. Dennis, C. S. A., afterwards Senator from Berkeley county.

[39] Hear the true cause of their spite was that when our army was going to St. Stephens, a dying Confederate soldier from the islands was carried to her house and died there. S. R. J.

[40] Mrs. Kate C. Porcher.

[41] Mrs. Kate C. Porcher’s little son.

[42] Old Quash, a servant, head-man at Cedar Grove.

[43] Dr. Henry Ravenel.

[44] Tom Porcher’s place, next to Cassawda.

[45] Mrs. Harriet (Charles J.) Snowden.

[46] This letter reached the old ladies in Walhalla a month later from Connecticut. S. R. J.

[47] Dr. Christopher G. White.

[48] “Edward J. Dennis belonged to Co. F. Sixth South Carolina Cavalry, Col. Hugh K. Aiken. * * * When just out of his teens, while in Virginia the latter part of 1864, took fever, and as soon as he could travel was sent on sick furlough to his home at or near Pinopolis, then in old Charleston District, now Berkeley County. About the time that the City of Charleston was evacuated in 1865, Dennis had recovered, and not knowing where his command was he gathered together a squad of six men and operated on the Santee and Cooper rivers in old Charleston District. He was a terror to the Yankee raiding parties who gave the people of the section no end of trouble.” (From “Butler and Cavalry, 1861-1865,” by U. R. Brooks, Columbia, S. C., 1909.)

[49] Miss Henrietta E. Ravenel, daughter of H. W. R.

[50] Miss Lydia S. Ravenel, daughter of H. W. R.

[51] Miss Charlotte Ravenel, daughter of H. W. R.

[52] Mrs. Wm. Ravenel of Woodlawn.

[53] Miss Annie Ravenel (of Tryon, N. C.)

[54] Chelsea, plantation home of Dr. Morton Waring.

[55] The Rocks, plantation belonging to Mr. James Gaillard, Jr.

[56] Somerset, plantation belonging to Mr. Wm. Cain.

[57] The brothers Ravenel.

[58] A negro servant.

[59] Peter G. Snowden, M. D., C. S. A.

[60] Edwin DuBose, son of Samuel DuBose of Harbin.

[61] Henry W. Ravenel, the botanist of Aiken.

[62] N. Russell Middleton, LL. D., President, College of Charleston.

[63] “One day Captain Pettus, the young Texan in command of our scouts, came and told us that a raid had started from Charleston; a negro brigade with white officers. They told us, to our horror, that they had taken prisoner two gentlemen on their plantations in lower St. John’s; one our friend Mr. Mazyck Porcher, and Mr. William Ravenel a cousin of ours; and burned down Mr. Porcher’s house. * * * The next thing we heard was that the plantation of “old Mr. James Gaillard,” had been raided and the house almost destroyed. This was because, when the troops arrived, they found two of the scouts riding away from the house where they had been given breakfast. Mr. Gaillard was an old man and his house was a veritable haven of refuge for women and children. One of the granddaughters who lived with him had an infant of two or three weeks old, and there were a number of others, old and young, homeless, bereaved and afflicted women. One of the officers ordered them all to leave the house. He stood on the steps using frightful language, as he was in a towering rage on account of their sheltering “bushwhackers,” as he called them. These women were courageous enough to refuse to leave the house, knowing very well that it would be burned down if they did. They all gathered on the piazza while the soldiers ripped off the doors, tore off the shutters and threw furniture and china out of the windows; even a melodeon.”

(From “Memories of a South Carolina Plantation During the War.” By Elizabeth Allen Coxe, daughter of Charles Sinkler of Belvidere, pp. 40-41. Privately printed, Phila., 1912).

[64] Thomas P. Ravenel, Sr., C. S. A.

[65] John Henry Porcher, Engineer Dept., C. S. A.

[66] James L. Jervey, C. S. A., son of William, and brother of the diarist.

[67] Henry Wm. Ravenel, the botanist.

[68] Henry W. Ravenel, Jr., son of H. W. R.

[69] Mrs. Percival R. Porcher.

[70] Rene Ravenel, M. D.

[71] Henry Ravenel of Pooshee.

[72] Mrs. Henry L. Stevens.

[73] Emily G. Ravenel (Cain).

[74] William Jervey, Esq., of Charleston.

[75] Mrs. Rene Ravenel.

[76] Miss Lydia Ravenel.

[77] Edward Mazyck.

[78] Mrs. Thomas P. Ravenel.

[79] Thomas P. Ravenel.

[80] Mrs. Rene Ravenel.

[81] Dr. Morton Waring, of Chelsea.

[82] Mrs. John S. White.

[83] Miss H. E. Ravenel.

[84] Arnold Harvey.

[85] Mrs. Jane E. DuBose.

[86] Miss Henrietta Ravenel.

[87] Miss Lydia Ravenel.

[88] It would appear that General Potter made an even less favorable impression at Otranto, in St. James’, Goose Creek, the home of Philip Johnstone Porcher.

“As it was then near midnight we decided to go to bed, and mother said she would go down in the morning and request that a written protection be furnished us, as this had been suggested by the quiet-looking officer, our protector of the afternoon before. Therefore, as early as possible she did so, but General Potter received her very shortly, and only replied, ‘Your husband is in the Rebel army.’ She replied, ‘it was our desire that he should leave us, and I am glad he is not here, for if he had been I suppose he would have been shot.’

“He replied, ‘you talk like a fool when you say that,’ and turned off; when mother said, ‘If that is your opinion, I have the more need of protection’.”

(From “Some War-Time Letters,” by Marion Johnstone (Porcher) Ford, in “Life in the Confederate Army,” p. 113. Neale Publishing Co., N. Y. 1905.)

[89] Wantoot was the original home settlement of the Ravenel family in St. John’s, Berkeley.

[90] Rev. (afterwards Bishop) P. F. Stevens.

[91] Miss Marianne E. Porcher.

[92] Dr. Morton Waring (Chelsea.)

[93] Mrs. Charles J. Snowden.

[94] Dr. Christopher G. White.

[95] Mrs. Richard Y. Dwight.

[96] Mrs. Robert Wilson.

[97] The St. John’s Hunting Club. (The Black Oak Club.)

[98] Henry LeNoble Ravenel.

[99] A band of negroes who had conspired to massacre the whites.

[100] Gen’l Sam’l W. Ferguson, C. S. A.

[101] Mrs. Peter C. Gaillard.

[102] A negro under-overseer.

[103] “The Confederate scouts who formed our patrol and police were wild and irresponsible men, although brave and honorable; their captain, a son of Governor Pettus of Mississippi (sic), a youth of nineteen. Except for them the country between us and Charleston after its fall was at the mercy of bands of stragglers who burned and pillaged recklessly in the lower neighborhood, but seldom came so far as our plantations.” (p. 56). * * * * “At last the time came when our faithful band of Confederate scouts were recalled. In fact, the war was over, and I suppose they really had no longer any recognized position, but were only bushwhackers; indeed, liable to be hung or shot if caught. Therefore, it was determined to give them a farewell party at Mrs. Palmer’s house Springfield—even if there were some risk in it—and Deasey and I were invited to spend the night. I was quite pleased with myself in a dress I had made out of an old pair of white window curtains. There were about thirty scouts at the party, and their horses were picketed close to the piazza; their guns stacked in the corners of the large bare drawing-room, and they danced with their pistols stuck in their top-boots which give them a very dashing look.” (P. 63). (From Mrs. E. A. Coxe’s “Memories,” &c.)

[104] See article by W. Mazyck Porcher in the (Charleston) Weekly News, August 16, 1882.

[105] Mrs. Edwin DuBose (Harbin.)

[106] Pp. 69-70, “Record of the Service of the Fifty-fifth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Printed for the Regimental Association, Cambridge Press of John Wilson & Son, July, 1868.” (Printed for private circulation.)

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Two diaries From Middle St. John's,
Berkeley, South Carolina, by Susan Ravenel Jervey, Charlotte St Julien Ravenel
and Mary Rhodes Waring Henagan


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