4 May 1862: “…he knew still less how to surrender a city filled with women and children and unarmed citizens; the city was at their mercy…”

Item description: Entry, dated 4 May 1862, from the diary of Sarah Wadley.

More about Sarah Lois Wadley: Sarah Lois Wadley was born in 1844 in New Hampshire, the daughter of railroad superintendent William Morrill Wadley (1813-1882) and Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley (1819-1905). Although born in New England, she appears to have been raised in the South, and lived with her family in homes near Amite in Tangipahoa Parish, Monroe and Oakland in Ouachita Parish, La., and near Macon, Ga. Sarah Lois Wadley died unmarried in Monroe County, Ga., in 1920.

[Transcription available below images]

Item transcription:

Sunday, May 4th/62–

Father has been away ever since last Sunday, he stayed at De Soto nearly all the week, and then went down the country in search of some government officers with he has business.

The river has risen so high as to cover nearly half the railroad, with its waters. The last we heard from New Orleans was that the Yankees had demanded its surrender, and that all the Confederate flags should be hauled down and the stars and stripes run up instead; Mayor Monroe said in reply that in compliance with his request Gen. Lovell had withdrawn his forces from the city as they could not successfully resist the enemy, that he (the mayor) was no military man, that if he had an army at his command it would be presumptuous in him to lead it to the field and that he knew still less how to surrender a city filled with women and children and unarmed citizens; the city was at their mercy, but that as to hauling down the flag of their adoption and substituting the hated one of their invaders, there was “not a man in his constituency so dastardly that his hand and heart would not be palsied at the thought of such a thing”, and in conclusion he said that he wished them to understand that “the people in New Orleans, while unable at this moment to prevent you from occuppying their city, do not transfer their allegiance from the government of their choice to one which they have deliberately repudiated, and that they yeild simply in obedience to that which the conqueror is able to extort from the conquered”.

The Yankees had not entered the city, the forts below still held out, Commodore Duncan says that he will not surrender, so long as there is a “shot in the locker”. I hope he will keep his word, none of the enemy’s transports had passed up, and no more gunboats.

We heard yesterday of a battle at Yorktown, it was a dreadful battle, the dispatch said that we were in full pursuit of the Yankees, and that their escape had been cut off by the Virginia, but sad to tell Gens. Lee and Joe. Johnston were both killed.

General and President Davis was in command. A battle is daily expected at Corinth, both armies are concentrating their forces, and will move as soon as the weather allows roads to dry a little. We have had a very wet Spring, since May came in it has been very bright warm weather, however.

This entry was posted in Southern Historical Collection and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.