I’ve had the pleasure of reading and learning from Eliza Frances Andrews and her journal titled: The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl 1864-1865. I have so many highlighted sections that I want to bring to you, but today, I want to share a couple of excerpts with you on Eliza’s experience in a divided house.
We often hear that the Civil War divided families and that brother fought brother and cousin fought cousin. Eliza knew first hand what this was like. Her father was a stout Union supporter from the very beginning, while ALL of his children were “hot rebels,” as she puts it. All of his three surviving sons joined the Confederate army and Eliza and her sister secretly created the Confederate flag that was flown at the top of her town’s courthouse. Conflicts abroad become conflicts at home. Here them from her own words:
(Eliza talks about watching the American flag on parade past her house) “Cousin Liza turned her back on it, Cora shook her fist at it, and I was so enraged that I said I wished the wind would tear it to flinders and roll it in the dirt till it was black all over… Then father took me by the shoulder and said that if I didn’t change my way of talking about the flag of my country he would send me to my room and keep me there a week. We had never known anything but peace and security and protection under that flag, he said, as long as we remained true to it. I wanted to ask him what sort of peace and protection the people along Sherman’s line of march had found under it, but I didn’t dare. Father don’t often say much, but when he does flare up like that, we all know we have got to hold our tongues or get out of the way. It made me think of that night when Georgia seceded. What would father had done if he had known that that secession flag was made in his house? It pinches my conscience, sometimes, when I think about it. What a dreadful thing it is for a household to be so divided in politics as we are! Father sticks to the Union through thick and thin, and mother sticks to father, though I believe she is more than half a rebel at heart, on account of the boys. Fred and Garnett are good Confederates, but too considerate of father to say much, while all the rest of us are red-hot Rebs….
…Henry is like me; he can’t talk politics without losing his temper, and sometimes he gets so stirred up that he goes off to his room and won’t come to the table for fear he might forget himself and say something to father that he would be sorry for. Serious as it all is, I can’t help wanting to laugh a little sometimes, in spite of myself, when I see him begin to swell up and hurry out of the way, as if he had a bomb in his pocket and was afraid it would go off before he could get out of the house. But it is dreadful; I wonder what we are all coming to.”
Click here for more Civil War Letters.