Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/335

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fright at tin- sound of a gun and threw her against some rocks, badly injuring her in the face. Her husband, who was very pompous and slow in his language, hearing of the accident, hastened to her, and, entering the room, said: 'Tell me, Elizabeth, are you defaced? '

" She made lit -r way, however to the soldiers, and she and my sister had the church in Warrenton turned into a hospital to receive them, and there they were tenderly nursed but some got well and others went to their eternal reward."

" Again events were hurrying forward, but not as at the beginning of the year 1861, when we all entered Richmond with such bright hopes. But the final catastrophy was delayed for a while yet. Col- onel Dahlgren determined to make a raid upon Richmond, and when the news reached us, all there was to oppose him was a force of local soldiery and a battalion of department clerks. The members of Congress shouldered guns and mounted guard around Richmond. But the small force of department clerks and unskilled soldiers were a match for Dahlgren, and averted the plot he had formed to pour fire upon the devoted capital of the Confederacy. But we soldiers were hungry," said Mr. Semmes. "I had had nothing to eat all day, and the heartiest meal I ever enjoyed was a piece of dry bread and a raw onion that I asked of an old market woman as she passed me where I was keeping guard. That was the best onion I ever ate in my life. Dark days were coming, however, for it had become apparent to all that the South must yield, not in bravery, but in su- periority of numbers. In Virginia, the supply of bread even was exhausted, and little more could be expected until after the next wheat crop came in. Provisions of all kinds were enormously high. ' '

" For instance," said Mrs. Semmes, "at our New Year's dinner in 1864, we had to pay $i 10 for the turkey to grace the feast. That was one of the last big dinners that we had at our house."

" It was not such a big dinner in point of courses," said Mr. Semmes, "for we were getting reduced now, and money was worth nothing and provisions were high. Nevertheless, it was a good sub- stantial dinner; we had our expensive Confederate turkey, and vega- tables and game, and good bread, made at home, and nice dessert. We had Mr. Stephens and General Sparrow, and Mr. Garland from our home, and Bishop McGill and dear old Father Hubert to dine with us. I shall never forget that New Year's dinner. We all tried to be gay, but our hearts were inwardly sad. There was the usual visiting, customary in those days on New Year's day, but the old brilliancy and fire were fast ebbing away."