Book Review: Sarah Morgan The Civil War Diary Of A Southern Woman edited by Charles East
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Published by Touchstone--Simon and Schuster October 1992/672 pages
Non-fiction/Memoir/Civil War/Journal/Louisiana History
When I read a book that has been edited from a journal I still feel as if I'm ease dropping in to intimacies of a persons life that I need to stay out of. The author of this journal encouraged its publication.
She lived a long life, a life filled with both happy times and sad times---I guess this could be sad for most of us. Although most of us cannot state we have lived through a war in our own front yard.
Sarah Ida Fowler Morgan was born February 28, 1842.
She was the 7th child and the youngest of 4 daughters.
Her father was a judge and they lived in the town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
She was age 19 when the war began and not quite 20 when she started her diary.
The first entry is January 10, 1862. The previous year had held not just the beginnings of the war, but the deaths of her 2 closest family members.
The journal has its moments when Sarah is full of all the angst and drama of a young woman her age. For the most part the journal is a first hand serious look at how a Southern civilian felt and lived during the Civil War.
The term "The Yankee's are coming!" is not just a cliche that has been used in movies, but was a real statement that was used.
Sarah and her family would flee the approaching army of Union soldiers taking only what they could carry, when they were able to return home they would find their homes in complete disaray. Clothing, letters, books, food, and any other object whether personal or not, was stolen and or destroyed.
The Morgan family home was a large Southern style home.
They had slaves only 1 I remember being mentioned by name, Tiche.
They were an educated family, book readers.
Their parents were originally from the north, but felt identified as southerner's.
She writes of various battles, the men that she knew that were in battle and this included her brother's.
She wrote of the bitter feelings she had of President Lincoln, the Yankee's, the inability to hear often from her family that was scattered, and food shortages.
She often reminisced of her dear ones that were no longer living.
She had an accident later in the book and was unable to walk or care for herself, after a lengthy recovery she was able once again to move about and go on with her life.
The editor in the preface and introduction wrote a synopsis her life and family, it made it easier to follow along with her journal and I was never at a loss.
The editor also included her family tree. She would write of various relatives and I was able to look at the family tree and comprehend.
Several photograph's of her family are included.
The book is lengthy at 672 pages, 5 of her journals are in one binding.