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To my unspeakable surprise, I waked up this morning and found myself alive. Once satisfied of that, and assuring myself of intense silence in the place of the great guns which rocked me to sleep about half-past two this morning, I began to doubt that I had heard any disturbance in the night, and to believe I had written a dream within a dream, and that no bombardment had occurred; but all corroborate my statement, so it must be true, and this portentous silence is only the calm before the storm. I am half afraid the land force won't attack. We can beat them if they do; but suppose they lay siege to Port Hudson and starve us out? That is the only way they can conquer.
We hear nothing still that is reliable.
Just before daylight there was a terrific explosion which electrified every one save myself. I was sleeping so soundly that I did not hear anything of it, though Mrs. Badger says that when she sprang up and called me, I talked very rationally about it, and asked what it could possibly be. Thought that I had ceased talking in my sleep. Miriam was quite eloquent in her dreams before the attack, crying aloud, "See! See! What do I behold?" as though she were witnessing a rehearsal of the scene to follow.
Later. Dr. Kennedy has just passed through, and was within the fortifications last night; brings news which is perhaps reliable, as it was obtained from Gardiner. It was, as we presumed, the batteries and gunboats. One we sunk ; another, the Mississippi, we disabled so that the Yankees had to abandon and set fire to her, thirty-nine prisoners falling into our hands. It was her magazine that exploded this morning. Two other boats succeeded in passing, though badly crippled. Our batteries fired gallantly. Hurrah! for Colonel Steadman! I know his was by no means the least efficient!
Clinton, they say, will inevitably be sacked. Alas, for mother and Lilly! What can we do? The whole country is at the mercy of the Yankees as long as Gardiner keeps within the fortifications. Six miles below here they entered Mr. Newport's, pulled the pillow-cases from the beds, stuffed them with his clothes, and helped themselves generally. What can we expect here? To tell the truth, I should be disappointed if they did not even look in at us, on their marauding expedition.
- Sarah Dawson
- A Confederate Girls Diary, Dawson, Sarah Morgan 1842-1909, HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY, The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1913