Saturday, May 7, 2016

Diary of Sarah Morgan: April 19, 1865

No. 211 Camp St.

“All things are taken from us, and become portions and parcels of the dreadful pasts.” . . .

Thursday the 13th came the dreadful tidings of the surrender of Lee and his army on the 9th. Everybody cried, but I would not, satisfied that God will still save us, even though all should apparently be lost. Followed at intervals of two or three hours by the announcement of the capture of Richmond, Selma, Mobile, and Johnston's army, even the stanchest Southerners were hopeless. Every one proclaimed Peace, and the only matter under consideration was whether Jeff Davis, all politicians, every man above the rank of Captain in the army and above that of Lieutenant in the navy, should be hanged immediately, or some graciously pardoned. Henry Ward Beecher humanely pleaded mercy for us, supported by a small minority. Davis and all leading men must be executed; the blood of the others would serve to irrigate the country. Under this lively prospect, Peace, blessed Peace! was the cry. I whispered, “Never! Let a great earthquake swallow us up first! Let us leave our land and emigrate to any desert spot of the earth, rather than return to the Union, even as it Was!”

Six days this has lasted. Blessed with the silently obstinate disposition, I would not dispute, but felt my heart swell, repeating, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble,” and could not for an instant believe this could end in an overthrow.

This morning, when I went down to breakfast at seven, Brother read the announcement of the assassination of Lincoln and Secretary Seward.

“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” This is murder! God have mercy on those who did it!

Charlotte Corday killed Marat in his bath, and is held up in history as one of Liberty's martyrs, and one of the heroines of her country. To me, it is all murder. Let historians extol blood-shedding; it is woman's place to abhor it. And because I know that they would have apotheosized any man who had crucified Jeff Davis, I abhor this, and call it foul murder, unworthy of our cause — and God grant it was only the temporary insanity of a desperate man that committed this crime! Let not his blood be visited on our nation, Lord!

Across the way, a large building, undoubtedly inhabited by officers, is being draped in black. Immense streamers of black and white hang from the balcony. Downtown, I understand, all shops are closed, and all wrapped in mourning. And I hardly dare pray God to bless us, with the crape hanging over the way. It would have been banners, if our President had been killed, though!

SOURCE: Sarah Morgan Dawson, A Confederate Girl's Diary, p. 435-7

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