Sunday, May 9, 2010

It Didn't Look Like A Yankee Person Could Be So Mean

"Ex-slave Nancy Johnson's testimony was recorded after the War as she and her husband tried to recover $514.50 from the victorious Union, in compensation for their horses, hogs and provisions:

"the Yankees had ripped up the beds, scattered the feathers and carried off the ticking, blankets, and coverings of every description and had burned her clothing and her children's clothing. And the Union men killed their cattle. All their provisions had been taken from them, so they were compelled to find another country. Whenever the Yankee officers were remonstrated with for burning and destroying property which was valuable only to the owners, their universal reply was: 'I'm sorry for you, but must obey orders'."

"Nancy Johnson's testimony informs us that the soldiers treated master and slave alike. During the 1930's ex-slave Sam Word recalled that a Yankee stole a quilt from his mother. She retaliated, "Why you nasty stinking rascal. You say you come down here to fight for the negroes, and now you're stelaing from them." The soldier replied, "You're a goddamned liar. I'm fighting for $14 a month and the Union."

And that was the treatment of the slaves that encountered the Union Army.

As for the white folks?

"The armies took anything that could be eaten, drunk, worn, or slept under. Soldiers stripped beds, from the big house to the slave cabins. Women often directed their servants to bury their quilts with the silver. the sentimental value of the quilts was probably as important as their functional value."

From Quilts From the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, Diary Entries by Barbara Brackman, offered for sale by Chewybooks on Amazon as of May 9, 2010.

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