Dolly Sumner Lunt begins her diary,A Woman's Wartime Journal, published in 1918, by recalling her anxiety about the approach of General Sherman's Union army on January 1, 1864. While she worries about the arrival of Sherman's troops and their habit of pillaging and burning everything in their path, she records stories of visits by local raiders posing as U.S. soldiers and the sleepless nights she has spent watching fires on the horizon. Despite Lunt's efforts to hide her valuable possessions, which include sending her mules into the woods, dividing her stores of meat among the slaves, and burying the silver, the passing Union troops raid her house and plantation and take her slaves with them. They also set fire to cotton bales in her barn, but the blaze burns out before spreading, largely sparing Lunt's property the widespread destruction suffered by neighboring plantations. In her last entries, dated December 1865, Lunt writes optimistically about the recovery of her farm, her new sharecropping system, and the first cheerful Christmas in years.
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University of North Carolina Press, Inc.
December 01, 2012
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