4 September 1864: “if they intended to act in violation of the Constitution”

Item Description: Diary entry, dated 2 September 1864, written by William King. King was a plantation owner from Cobb County, Georgia. He remained alone on his plantation to protect his property and slaves from depredations by federal forces.


Item Citation: From folder 1 in the William King Papers, #02985-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

4 Sept. 1864.

Sabbath again–another week gone, & I one week nearer Home; & Atlanta being occupied by the Federals, I may soon be able to get a passport to return Home–& what anxiety must I feel until I can hear from Home, not knowing what sad changes may have taken place during the long, anxious period since I have last heard from them. After the hard Rains yesterday, we have today a bright, clear & cool Sabbath. I have not left the House, not being able to hear of any Church services in town. I may walk into town this afternoon for exercise. Dr. Miller (Chief Surgeon at Military Ins: Hosp:) made me a pleasant of over 2 hours this morning, he is a very intelligent & pleasant man from Iowa. He told me he would like to move to this country after the war was over, & we united, but he apprehended the feelings would be too much opposed to all Northerners. I told him I did not think it would be so towards him, he has been so very kind to Mrs. McC. & others. We had a long & pleasant discussion about the waging of this War & the prospects of its termination. I told him if the North was contending for the Union & the Constitution as they professed, an early reunion may take place, but if they intended to act in violation of the Constitution, on the subject of Slavery or in any other way, they had to subjugate the South & force it back & keep it in by many Bayonets, which would violate all principles of a free government, to effect this purpose it would require years of bloody War. He said it was a sad state, but the North was so convinced that we could not live together in harmony with slavery, that it became necessary to if possible to get rid of the [torn] still he admitted that the North could not determine on any feasible [torn] of the Negro, to place them in a condition of happiness & usefulness [torn] slavery–he admitted that the difficulties were very great in [torn] but thought that without a reunion with the South, [torn] up into fragments & go to ruins, in which I agreed with [torn] but as perfect equals [torn]

Could hear of no Church service but among the [torn] a visit to Dr. Lowry’s family, where we heard that King [torn] having left Atlanta on the day it was evacuated [torn] the wives & children. Reid was kept in custody yesterday [torn] I presume [torn] relieved today. Mrs. Lowry informed me that one of Bro. B’s servant [torn] with 4 or 5 children had come to her begging her to take them to work for her that she would be a faithful servant to her during the War, if she would take care & provide for them, that they could not provide for their wants. She at first refused, having but little work for them, but afterwards took them. They have now been with her about 2 Weeks & doing very well. The Woman having gone to Church I did not see her, I will call to see her.

Large parties of Federals & Negroes I understand went down to Atlanta yesterday. On my return Home I made Mrs. McC. a short visit. I heard that last night the Pickets at the Johnson’s House had been fired on. On my way to town I saw one of the Guards seated down alone reading, I took my seat along side of him & found he was attentively reading the new testament, he was a young man about 21 years old, he told me that he was not a member of the Church, but that his parents were, that he found no greater comfort when alone than to read his testament & to think of his spiritual interest. I had a pleasant conversation. I heard that Col. Caprone, a Marylander, who had been on the Stoneman Raid, on his return had passed through Athens, but in a great hurry, but had remained long enough to do the Citizens much damage by Robberies, & after this (near Jug town) that he was overtaken by Wheeler’s cavalry & so terribly cut up & scattered, & that he had escaped by going down the Chattahoochee to Roswell in a small canoe on a dark, stormy night. I did not know him myself, but a friend who had had several conversations with him said he was a very bad, wicked man, & disposed to do all the damage & injury to the country & people he could, he seemed to think nothing too bad could be done to [torn]–he complained that our people had wantonly killed his men, & seem disposed to give no quarters–he was asked if his men had not acted in such a manner as to have provoke such feelings, he admitted that they had generally been very rough, & in one case a soldier (who had arrested) had threatened a Lady with his pistol at her head, to make give up her watch. I wonder if it was our daughter Gus! The same Col. Caprone, who camped mear Mr. Wilder, expressed surprize that Mrs. W. property was allowed to be protected and so great a Rebel, & wanted to take her property to make his men & himself comfortable, but he was not allowed to do so–this Col. C. seems to be another Maj’r Carter only a little worse–making one more bad case.

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