Saturday, May 24, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - May 5, 1862

Monday night May 5th [1862]

Well the Yankees have been here to search for arms. Three came and sent up word that they wanted to see Mrs. Maury. I went down. The head one said “We have been informed that arms are concealed here and want to get them.” I said “There are several swords here. Come and take them. They have been put in the parlour to prevent the house from being searched.” I gave them to him five old swords __ and then asked him if he intended to go upstairs. He said “No__ your word is sufficient that these are all.”
One of our servants told that they were here. They are getting very insolent and unbearable. We did not attach much value to the swords but it was a very humiliating feeling to have to give them up. The soldier was full of apologies all the time but I gave no heed to them.
New Orleans is in possession of the enemy. The forts below the city have surrendered. The troops in fort Jackson mutinied and spiked some of the guard. The Louisiana, our big iron clad steamer, was unmanageable and was blown up by her commander, McIntosh, who had an arm and leg blown off.
Surely the Lord has hidden his face from us. All the cotton and shipping in the city and at Baton Rouge was burnt ___ about 22,000 bales. The people are loyal.
Our forces have fallen back from Yorktown.
The gun boats on the Pamunkey that Papa was having built, and his navy yard there have had to be broken up and abandoned. The enemy have left him no water now to build upon. His occupation is gone. Oh! that Congress had given him the appropriation sooner. The gun boats would have been done by this time and their service would have been invaluable. But it is all for the best I am sure. Maybe he could not have plated his vessels with iron and then he would have been defeated and captured.

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