The war closed when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse. For many days afterwards all the roads in the State were full of weary men wending their ways homeward. Many homes were devastated and poverty-stricken. The army of the Confederate States had wasted away, and not only so, but the people were impoverished. Some food was left in the county,—more, indeed, than was generally known of a few weeks before,—and the pressing need was for articles of clothing. Railroads had been torn up, factories destroyed, farms laid waste, towns wrecked, the banks were all broken, and there was literally no currency in the country. Farmers set to work to do what they could and a few other people found employment. Most white people were idle from necessity, and the negroes asserted and proved their newly acquired freedom by leaving the farms and flocking to town. The recuperation of the country, which began at once and has been so far consummated, is one of the marvels of the age.
It was not anticipated at the close of the war that the Southern people generally would be subjected to pains and penalties. Edmund Burke said: “It is impossible to frame an indictment against a whole people” But the fate of many regarded as leaders was for some time in suspense.
We continue our extracts from the diary:
April 19.—No rumors to-day of any consequence. Yesterday there was a report that Lincoln had been assassinated.
April 20.—The report of Lincoln’s assassination was renewed this evening. * * There is general regret in our community. * * We are now in a condition of anarchy. Bands of soldiers are roaming about and taking off all cattle, sheep, horses, etc., they suppose to be public property.
Having borne the heat and burden of the war for so long, it is not strange that returned soldiers, having come home in a state of destitution, should feel that they had a peculiar right to Confederate
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..