Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/331

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


//"//. '/'/><>, no* ./. S, unties. :!i!7

about $100 a month, and towards the close of the war the money \\ .is not even valued at that. I was not a rich man, hut my father- in-law was one of the wealthy men of the South, and he kept us libi-rally supplied with funds."

"Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Semmes, "we used to get all manner of nice provisions and hampers from Montgomery, and never knew how they reached us so safely, for everything came to us con- traband. Our table was always well supplied, and many were the brilliant dinners we gave. We often invited the senators from the In mU-r States, for some of these fared very badly, indeed; they had to live in one room, and on corn and beans and bacon, and as their States were very much divided, supplies sent them by their constit- uents were cut off, and money, too. They had a hard time of it, but they stood nobly by the cause to the end. We had great times in the first years of the war, when our cause seemed so sure of suc- cess and our boys were fighting so bravely, but towards the end Mr. Stephens and Mr. Garland, General Sparrow and Mr. Semmes used to come home with weary hearts."

" But you were always bright and cheerful to the end," said Mr. Semmes. " It was wonderful, the courage of the Southern women during the war. In Richmond, where at all hours, day or night, you could hear the roaring of the cannons and the echo of shot and shell, where bullets were often flying in the streets, the women kept up their social life. Parties and receptions and dinners were given night after night; when our boys in gray passed through the capital, all the women went out to greet them, waving handkerchiefs and bidding them Godspeed. Receptions were given in their honor, and a perpetual round of gayety was kept up. The women did this to cheer on the soldier boys. Many a group of handsome officers danced the night away and went forth to fight on the morrow, and were buried in the evening shadows on the battle field. There was General J. E. B. Stuart, the dashing cavalry officer, who, the night before he was killed, played in the charades at the home of my sis- ter, Mrs. Ives, wife of Colonel Ives, who was an officer on President Davis' staff. Mrs. Ives' home was a great centre for the young folks. That night all the prettiest girls in Richmond were taking part in the charades, and some of the most brilliant officers of the army. There were present Mr. Davis, Mr. Stephens, Judah P. Ben- jamin, Secretary Mallory, Mrs. Mallory in fact, all the cabinet officers and their wives, the representatives in Congress, justices of the Supreme Court, etc., and General Stuart was the observed of all