Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 10, 1863

March 10, 1863

---President Lincoln issues a proclamation of amnesty to soldiers who are absent from their regiments, if they return by April 1, 1863.  After this date, such soldiers will be considered deserters, to be arrested and prosecuted according to military law.  The President maintains that such desertions are “weakening the strength of the armies and prolonging the war, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and cruelly exposing the gallant and faithful soldiers remaining in the ranks to increased hardships and dangers.”

---Miss Sarah Morgan has opinions about Banks’ move against her home town of Baton Rouge---the second time the Yankees will have occupied it:

I had so many nice things to say—which now, alas, are knocked forever from my head—when news came that the Yankees were advancing on us, and were already within fifteen miles. The panic which followed reminded me forcibly of our running days in Baton Rouge. Each one rapidly threw into trunks all clothing worth saving, with silver and valuables, to send to the upper plantation. I sprang up, determined to leave instantly for Clinton so mother would not be alarmed for our safety; but before I got halfway dressed, Helen Carter came in, and insisted on my remaining. . . .

Such bustle and confusion! Every one hurried, anxious, excited, whispering, packing trunks, sending them off; wondering negroes looking on in amazement until ordered to mount the carts waiting at the door, which are to carry them too away. How disappointed the Yankees will be at finding only white girls instead of their dear sisters and brothers whom they love so tenderly! Sorry for their disappointment!

"They say" they are advancing in overwhelming numbers. That is nothing, so long as God helps us, and from our very souls we pray His blessing on us in this our hour of need. For myself, I cannot yet fully believe they are coming. It would be a relief to have it over. . . . These Yankees interfere with all our arrangements.

I am almost ashamed to confess what an absurdly selfish thought occurred to me a while ago. I was lamenting to myself all the troubles that surround us, the dangers and difficulties that perplex us, thinking of the probable fate that might befall some of our brave friends and defenders in Port Hudson, when I thought, too, of the fun we would miss. Horrid, was it not? But worse than that, I was longing for something to read, when I remembered Frank told me he had sent to Alexandria for Bulwer's "Strange Story" for me, and then I unconsciously said, "How I wish it would get here before the Yankees!" I am very anxious to read it, but confess I am ashamed of having thought of it at such a crisis.

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