Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1863 Januaty 10 [Clarke County, Va.]

[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]
Saturday, January 10th - Snow in the morning, rainy in the evening.  Cousin Fran and Cousin John here int he morning.  I have been reading over the papers and find much encouragement.  The Yankees seem to be thoroughly demoralized.  Their losses everywhere are heavy.  The New York says the battle of Fredericksburg has made 20,000 cripples.  The 121st[sic] Psalm has been the battle cry of the people.  "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us.  Blessed be the Lord who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."  With God above and Gen. Lee at their head they fear nothing.  The northern politicians are getting alarmed about Napoleon, think Old Abe may have to fight as well as Confeds if rebellion is not ousted before spring.  A Yankee has at last explained the neutrality of England  She recognizes the South as belligerent that she might sell arms, ammunition and ships to both parties.  They now regret keenly that the blockade has compelled them to sell just as much contraband of war to the North as the South and are now trying to make up the deficiency by fitting out the fastest fleet of steamers that ever crossed the ocean, expressly to run the blockade with munitions of war. Eighteen new steamers are now being fitted out.  The success of Alabama in the capture of the Ariel will encourage them.  Unfortunately the Ariel had little specie.  Her captain was Jones, one Simms his First Lieut. They are endeavoring to force their way up the Nease[sic] in North Carolina.  Surely this New Year gives us cause for great national joy.  Assault after assault has been made by the enemy and repulsed.  The advantages of the defense of Pittsburgh[sic] has been glorious.  We keep open our communications with Missouri, Arkansas and Texas and we prevent the enemy from carrying on commerce on the Mississippi.  He ought to despair by this time of taking the city by sea or land.  Morgan Wheeler and Youst[sic] are spreading horror in the enemy ranks.  We have now in Richmond sixteen hundred prisoners.  "The unknown and unrecorded heroes of this war" which Bishop Elliot speaks so beautifully of will fill many glorious niches in the annals on every battlefield. A proud monument should be raised to them.  Bragg, speaking of his victory at Murfreesboro says, "God has granted us a Happy New Year."

[Either Harrison or the transcriber made several errors.  The Psalm is 124, not 121. The defense was of Vicksburg, not Pittsburg. The North Carolina River is the Neuse not the Nease.  Youst is a mangled form of an unidentified Confederate commander]

MSS 9759

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