[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]
Monday, January 5th - A bright warm day. Read French as usual in the morning with Maria. John came in for a short time. Went this evening to Linden to hear the tidings of Cousin Tom Nelson. Saturday night between midnight and dawn, the emissaries of darkness came down and carried off Cousin William, Warren Smith etc. the former had been out of the army for eighteen months, Warren discharged for inability to serve. Cousins Mary and Evelyn went up today to see him but the pickets did not even allow them to get in sight of Winchester. They had a rail pen built across the road this side of the toll gate, higher up a stone fence across it, pickets stationed all across the fields. Even little children were not allowed to enter. They stayed there some hours trying to get a pass but failed. One of the pickets promised to try and have them a pass tomorrow. They will try it again. Oh what degradation to be obliged to submit to such treatment, and to be given it by our own people. They had pickets stationed down as far as the Briars corner when they returned, who stopped them fifteen minutes untill they left for Winchester, saying the ladies would tell. They knew we had forces in the little town below. Poor deluded creatures! One of them said he didn't know they didn't make a dash on Richmond and take it. Cousin E. "One of your captains told me a year ago that they would take Richmond in ten days without striking a blow." Yankee McClellan could have taken it very easily if he had wanted to. The report of a great victory in Tennessee by Bragg over Rosencranz. I got a sad letter from brother Archie yesterday and feel very unhappy about him, poor fellow. He says the food is as bad as it is scanty and he had a wretched cough. Oh this wicked, wicked war, when will it cease?