Monday, October 10, 2016

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: May 5, 1863

Came up with tail end of fleeing rebels, had a spirited little cavalry chase. The negroes said, “When dey seed you all comin', Lor', how dey did run. Dey got away from heah as fast as dey could make de horses run. Lor', you ought o seen 'em go. When one lose his hat he neber stop to pick 'em up, he go rite on as fas as his hoss can lay legs to de ground. Yaw! yaw! yaw! When dey went down, Lor', how dey did brag. One rebel could kill a hundred Yankees. Yes, Massa, da gwine to clean you all out. But dey come back a heap faster den dey go down. I see dey can fight mighty well with their tongues, but when dey seed you all, dey could run a heap better den fight.” I said to an old matronly looking woman, “We have come to free you all.” She replied, "May de Lor' bress you all. Ise been prayin' and prayin' for you dis many years. Now my eyes see dat de good Lor' has heard my prayer. Bress his holy name! Now Ise gwine ter die in peace.” I left her going on in this strain, with the tears rolling down her wrinkled face. Her earnest simple manner was indeed affecting, and I thought I saw tears glistening in the eyes of some of our hardy soldiers as they passed, pretending to laugh at her simplicity. But I thought her rejoicings were premature, for she would probably have to wait some time before she could see the full fruition of her expectations, as the sequel proved. I merely cite this as an example of many scenes like the foregoing. Indeed every plantation we passed from Opalousas to Alexandra had its complement of these simple-hearted beings crowding to see us as we passed; all frantic with joy, some weeping, some blessing, and some dancing in the exuberance of their emotions.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 50-1

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