Monday, June 16, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - June 22, 1862

Sunday June 22nd [1862]

Mrs. Dickerson came up to day to take Nanny down to Old Mr. Corbin’s. She and Mrs. Dick Corbin intend to start for Richmond tomorrow in Mrs. Dickerson’s carriage to see their husbands. Mama was opposed to Nanny’s going, but I thought she ought not to let such a chance slip. They hope to get back in a week or ten days. The town is as full of soldiers as usual, but there are no pickets out on this side of the river. Mr. Berlin, a man who brought letters up from Richmond a few days ago, was to have been their escort, but he was pursued and arrested yesterday after he left town. Nanny took eight dozen lemons with her for some of our wounded and sick soldiers. It will be a great treat. They have not seen any tropical fruits for more than a year.

Runaway negroes from the country around continue to come in every day. It is a curious and pitiful sight to see the foot sore and weary looking corn field hands with their packs on their backs and handkerchiefs tied over their heads – men, women, little children and babies coming in in gangs of ten and twenty at a time. They all look anxious and unhappy. Many of them are sent to the north. We hear that there is great want and suffering among those in Washington. Many are shipped direct for Hayti from here.

The town is intensely Yankee and looks as though it never had been any thing else. Yankee ice carts go about selling Yankee ice. Yankee news boys cry Yankee papers along the streets. Yankee citizens and Yankee Dutchmen have opened all the stores on Main Street. Some of them have brought their families and look as if they had been born and bred here and intended to stay here until they died. One man has built him a house!!

The different currencies are very confusing. A pair of shoes are worth so much in specie, so much more in Yankee paper – and double their real value in Virginia money. Uncle John had occasion the other day to buy some northern paper and had to give one hundred per cent for it.

Have heard nothing from our forces near Richmond lately. McClelland’s army is on both sides of the Chickahominy about six miles from Richmond, and extending in a semicircle around two sides of the city. General Stuart made a most daring dash the other day with two thousand of our cavalry. They passed through the enemies lines to their rear, burnt several loaded transports on the Pamunky and many loaded wagons, took many horses and mules and prisoners. We only lost one man killed and two wounded and were gone between two and three days. They were greeted with shouts and cheers by the country people as they galloped along. One old woman rushed out to her gate and shouted out above all the clatter and din “Hurrah my Dixie boys – & drive the blue coated Yankee varmints away.”

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