Civil War Letters: Honest Journal Entries

52One of the highlights to reading a journal is the brutally honest approach the author has when she believes no one will ever read her journal. I’ve had the pleasure of reading two journals written by women so far and will be sharing a few quotes from these ladies. I should warn you, that I’ve spent enough time with these ladies to know that they normally aren’t so harsh so don’t judge them too hard. 😉 And I hope you get a giggle out it.

Nannie Haskins Williams:
July 25, 1863
“Yesterday was the first time I ever met with Mr. Ensly. I think he is handsome when he is not looking at you, but when you catch his eye, what a sleepy expression. He actually looks stupid to me, although he talks very well; but I would not let anybody see this for the world.”
August 14, 1863
“Miss Williams is one of the prettiest, most fascinating young ladies young ladies I ever met with, but it is a great shame that she receives the attention of the Yankees. Anna Ewing is very pretty, but is much too fast for me. She’ll admit anybody to wait on her, but I suppose I ought not to speak so of strangers.”
October 2, 1863
“Fannie brought me a thousand messages from Mr. Sypert. He sent me the most beautiful bouquet by Fannie when she returned. Sometimes I think probably Mr. Sypert is trying to flirt with me, but he cannot do that for I do not care one straw for him. Then again I think he really loves me. However time will prove. I know there is one who loves me, but I do not even like him. He says he could always heretofore talk to young ladies, but in my company, he is perfectly mute. I believe he loves me devotedly and sincerely. I wish I could transfer his love to someone who could return it.”

Eliza Frances Andrews:
April 6, 1865
“Captain Greenlaw brought his flute and spent the morning. He is red-headed and ugly, but very musical, and such jolly good company that one can’t help liking him.”
April 7, 1865
“Captain Greenlaw spend the day here and brought me the biggest bouquet of the biggest red roses I ever saw; I couldn’t help laughing when he threw it in my lap. He calls me “cousin,” because he says we both have such red heads that we ought to be kin. There is something in his easy, good-natured way of laughing and joking about everything that reminds me a good deal of Fred. And he has the sweetest way in the world of carrying flowers about with him, and slipping them into your work basket, or throwing them into you lap, or laying them on your handkerchief -no matter where, but I can always tell when he has ben about by finding a full-blown rose, or a sprig of wild honeysuckle, or a bunch of swamp lilies, or some other big bright flower lying around among my things.”
May 4, 1865
“General Breckinridge is called the handsomest man in the Confederate army, and Bragg might well be called the ugliest. I saw him at Mrs. Vickers’s where he is staying, and he looks like an old porcupine. I never was a special admirer of his…”
May 4, 1865
(Truly, one of the most surprising gems in the entire journal!)”Judge Crump, especially, is one of the most entertaining men I ever knew. He has traveled a great deal and I was very much interested in his account of Dickens’s wife, whom he knows well. He says that she is altogether the most unattractive woman he ever met. She has a yellowish, cat-like eye, a muddy complexion, dull coarse hair of an undecided color, and a very awkward person. On top of it all she is, he says, one of the most intolerably stupid women he ever met. He has had to entertain her for hours at a time and could never get an idea out of her nor one into her. Think of such a wife for Dickens!”
May 12, 1865
(Speaking of one of the Union soldiers station in her town) “He really seems to have the instincts of a gentleman, and I am afraid I shall be obliged to respect him a little, in spite of his uniform.”

Quotes courtesy of The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl written by Eliza Frances Andrews and The Diary of Nannie Haskins Williams

5 thoughts on “Civil War Letters: Honest Journal Entries”

  1. What a description of Dickens’ wife. Makes me wonder what attracted him to her or was Judge Crump being overly harse. My, oh, my what a delight it would be to have a Mr. Greenlaw around to shower me with flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve wondered the same thing about Dickens’s wife. A friend mentioned reading something about her that made the Judge’s comments about her more truth than mean spirited. They definitely don’t sound like a suitable match to me. Lol
      AND I KNOW!!!! I love Captain Greenlaw!!! I have every intention of creating a flower-throwing character in his image. 🙂


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