26 March 1864: “The gunboats are firing. I see one of my houses burnt to ashes…”

Item description: Entry, dated 26 March 1864, from the diary of Frances Woolfolk Wallace.  Wallace describes destruction and evacuation during the Battle of Paducah, Kentucky.

[transcription available below images]

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Item citation: in the Frances Woolfolk Wallace Diary, #3063-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Our friends told us if we did not succeed in getting through Nashville to return and be content to remain at home, but we have decided to go to Vicksburg. Shall we let our friends in Paducah know we are there or not? Report that Forrest is in Paducah, don’t believe it. Well, it is really true, we find the town burning. What more can disturb our feelings? The boat is not allowed to stop. The gunboats are firing. I see one of my houses burnt to ashes, Mally fears hers is hurt also. But what is the fate of our friends in the town? What success had the Confederates, God bless them!? We arrive at Cairo at 7 o’clock. The captain went to the Quartermaster department–find them burnt. Returned and meet Cousin Coleman Woolfolk, and he takes me at once to his room where Georgie and I stayed all night. I was quite brave.

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