Monday, April 3, 2017

Diary of John Hay: February 9, 1864

Jacksonville. . . . . We came to Jacksonville, gay with flags and busy with shipping at noon. I landed and found no General, no staff, no means of information. Ignorance the densest. Met Dorman, who took me to Mrs. Taylor’s. I saw in a few moments' glance the wretched story of two years. A lady, well-bred and refined, dressed worse than a bound girl, with a dirty and ragged gown that did not hide her trim ankles and fine legs. A white-haired, heavy-eyed, slow-speaking old young man. A type of thousands of homes where punishment of giant crimes has lit on humble innocents.

I put on my seven-leaguers and rode with Reese and Place in the afternoon around the pickets. Reese selected points for fortifications. We saw two negro regiments, one at dress parade, gay with banners, one in camp, fragrant with salt-horse. Some firing in the front, with ultimate intentions of mutton or fresh pork. As we came home we saw a train going to provision Gen Gilmore’s advance; — a pretty dowdy walking in the silent street, — and some blue-bellied vandals making themselves agreeable to one of the few remaining families.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 162-3; Michael Burlingame, Editor, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 159-60

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