Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 1862

October 31, 1862: Mrs. Dora Richards Miller, a Unionist woman living in Mississippi, recounts a conversation with a neighbor about the news of Emancipation reaching their slaves:
Oct. 31      —Mr. W. said last night the farmers felt uneasy about the "Emancipation Proclamation" to take effect in December. The slaves have found it out, though it had been carefully kept from them.
"Do yours know it?" I asked.
"Oh, yes. Finding it to be known elsewhere, I told it to mine with fair warning what to expect if they tried to run away. The hounds are not far off."
The need of clothing for their armies is worrying them too. I never saw Mrs. W. so excited as on last evening. She said the provost-marshal at the next town had ordered the women to knit so many pairs of socks.
"Just let him try to enforce it and they’ll cow-hide him. He’ll get none from me. I’ll take care of my own friends without an order from him."
"Well," said Mr. W., "if the South is defeated and the slaves set free, the Southern people will all become atheists, for the Bible justifies slavery and says it shall be perpetual."
"You mean, if the Lord does not agree with you, you’ll repudiate him."
"Well, we’ll feel it’s no use to believe in anything."

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