Sunday, May 3, 2015

Emmala's War: 'Perhaps we deserved it'

Last of three episodes

This eyewitness account of Stoneman's Raid in Anderson May 1-3, 1865 is reprinted with permission from "A Faithful Heart: The Journals of Emmala Reed, 1865 and 1866," edited by Robert Oliver and published in 2004 by USC Press. Click here to start on May 1 or to buy the book.
 Wednesday, May 3, 1865
Emmala Reed Miller
     Wednesday, May 3 was a calm, lovely day—for a while no tramping, cursing foes, no rattling of vehicles & of citizens, but all resting from the excitement & robbed of their treasures. Yet, ere night it was waxed higher than ever for 'twas said that Kirk's raiders, or outlaws from the mountains, were coming down to burn & destroy. Some thought that Sherman's or Thomas' armies were next. Many wild rumors afloat—so we all picked up clothes to move out in case of burning and hid bundles at obscure houses, &c.
     Our negroes went out to camp & brought in sacks of corn. Many bushels were gathered by the people & other valuables. We had thought that several of the men had gone or wished to go off, but all were faithful. Yet some confessed that it was because they were too old and had families they couldn’t leave behind. Some talked a little pert, were idle & free a few days, but all soon settled down to their usual routine. Very respectful as far as we can see, but I rather dread them. 
     We heard such bad reports from Grandpa’s that Tom Carter had to leave us in the evening & go to them. We missed him much—were alone that awful night—for we heard wilder rumors than ever. All the men in town nearly hid out in the woods for being "hurt" as was threatened. Pa was persuaded to go—as a prominent "Secesh" with many home enemies too. He with Dr. Broyles & several Charleston men stole out at dark and remained safe in the woods all night.

     In the afternoon a parcel of the provost guard & other rash boys were here. [The provost guard was essentially a self-appointed police force.] Came to Pa to get arms to go out & arrest some stragglers, but he persuaded them not to do so—it would do only harm. (It was reported afterwards that he encouraged it & was marked for it—we trembled for that!) But they would go their way, & a small squad arrested two Yankees. A small party came up. Some threats & shots exchanged in town. One youth was shot dead or left to die there, alone in the streets, whilst all scattered. "Theodore Parker” of Charleston. Nephew of the Perroneaus here—a boy of 17—very rash, but brave.
     Dick Tupper was knocked in the breast by a gun—almost fainted, revived in the hotel. He & Joe Hyde pursued home by pistols several times. A negro man shot accidentally, his leg was amputated and he died, probably from too much chloroform. So that was the sad tragedy of the war in our streets.
     We feared they would take vengeance that night, but thank heaven we were spared. 
     About midnight heard many troops march through. Palmer’s Com’d perhaps, & a negro Brigade. All went through quietly several nights—in perfect control, with flags of truce—disturbing no one. They went on through to Georgia, where they were garrisoned at Athens & different towns, we hear—for they consider the whole South subjugated, & it virtually is.
     We can make no further resistance, but what is to be our fate? The order was promulgated that Sherman & Grant were making terms of peace, & hostilities were to cease, but we don’t know the particulars. Only hope that old Andy Johnson won’t be allowed control, for he will give no mercy, we hear. Rumors of foreign aid & recognition keep coming, but we don’t know the truth. There are no mails, we have no money, no means, no gov’t, no hope scarcely! Are a ruined, humiliated people! Awful to contemplate.
     Perhaps we deserved it for sin & imbecility—a falling off from just principles. The civil & military authorities corrupt, desertion, speculation, robbery, drinking, mismanagement, and the loss of confidence in the Pres’t & civil authorities—ruined us—whilst a powerful, persevering, cunning, cruel Yankee nation have outnumbered us & overpowered us, but what will the end be we fear to know. All feel subdued but bear our calamities as cheerfully as possible.

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