November 20, 1864

Cornelius Platter Diary Entry
(Union Soldier)

Sunday Nov 20th, 64 

Crossed the “Ocmulgee” this morning and advanced on the Montcello road passing through a country abounding in Hogs Cattle Chickens &c. [et cetera] On account of the recent rains the roads were very heavy. When we were about 4 mile from the river. we heard brisk firing in our rear – we supposed to be skirmishing, but it proved to be the Killing of worthless horses & mules at the “Crossing”. The Citizens living near supposed a fight was on hands, and they were badly frightened — The Factory & cotton were destroyed — In our route we find many “Contrabands” but very few Citizens — We marched 10 mile and went into camp at 8 P.M. in a beautiful pine grove. about half mile west of Montcello the County seat of Jasper Co. [County] This has been a damp disagreeable day for marching — Lost a very valuable ring today We are still in the dark as to our destination Rain in morning. Retired early.


From Cornelius Platter Collection housed at the University of Georgia’s Hargrett Library Special Collections


Dolly Sumner Lunt
A Georgia Woman’s Wartime Journal

NOVEMBER 20, 1864.

This is the blessed Sabbath, the day upon which He who came to bring peace and good will upon earth rose from His tomb and ascended to intercede for us poor fallen creatures. But how unlike this day to any that have preceded it in my once quiet home. I had watched all night, and the dawn found me watching for the moving of the soldiery that was encamped about us. Oh, how I dreaded those that were to pass, as I supposed they would straggle and complete the ruin that the others had commenced, for I had been repeatedly told that they would burn everything as they passed.

Some of my women had gathered up a chicken that the soldiers shot yesterday, and they cooked it with some yams for our breakfast, the guard complaining that we gave them no supper. They gave us some coffee, which I had to make in a tea-kettle, as every coffeepot is taken off. The rear-guard was commanded by Colonel Carlow, who changed our guard, leaving us one soldier while they were passing. They marched directly on, scarcely breaking ranks. Once a bucket of water was called for, but they drank without coming in.

About ten o’clock they had all passed save one, who came in and wanted coffee made, which was done, and he, too, went on. A few minutes elapsed, and two couriers riding rapidly passed back. Then, presently, more soldiers came by, and this ended the passing of Sherman’s army by my place, leaving me poorer by thirty thousand dollars than I was yesterday morning. And a much stronger Rebel!

After the excitement was a little over, I went up to Mrs. Laura’s to sympathize with her, for I had no doubt but that her husband was hanged. She thought so, and we could see no way for his escape. We all took a good cry together. While there, I saw smoke looming up in the direction of my home, and thought surely the fiends had done their work ere they left. I ran as fast as I could, but soon saw that the fire was below my home. It proved to be the gin house [cotton gin] belonging to Colonel Pitts.

My boys have not come home. I fear they cannot get away from the soldiers. Two of my cows came up this morning, but were driven off again by the Yankees.

I feel so thankful that I have not been burned out that I have tried to spend the remainder of the day as the Sabbath ought to be spent. Ate dinner out of the oven in Julia’s [the cook's] house, some stew, no bread. She is boiling some corn. My poor servants feel so badly at losing what they have worked for; meat, the hog meat that they love better than anything else, is all gone.


From Documenting the American South- UNC Chapel Hill