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Civil War documented in Lilly's diary

Civil War documented in Lilly's diary
By Tom Watson
Thursday, June 23, 2005

It is sincerely hoped that Dr. John M. Lilly's notations last time were as interesting to our readers as they have been to your scribe.

There's more to enjoy this week, along with a picture identification project. Please take a look at the fellow and three girls in a photo made in the Bloomfield Drug Store many years ago. If you can identify them, let me know.

Now, here's more of Dr. John with my comments in brackets. I make no changes to the doctor's style, capitalizations etc.:

"July 25, 1864, the Federals [Union troops] have been pressing horses in Several neighborhoods, proposing to pay only those who can prove their loyalty.

August 4, 1864, John D. Lilly was killed by the Federals this morning near Jos. Wrights. Shot through the head, he had visited but the previous night.

November 8, 1864, Rained incessantly all day & the river rose, and prevented those on this side from voting for the President and Vice President of the U.S.

November 11, 1864, A. Lincoln has been elected President of the U.S. over McClellan, the latter only getting the votes of three states.

December 10, 1864, The Federals have pressed all the horses in Louisville the last few days, caught several of the neighbors in the city, amongst whom is the Rev. Mr. Elliott, consequently, no church today at Fairfield.

January 18, 1865, the guerrillas, under the leadership of McGreuder [Henry Magruder of Bullitt County] burned the bridges on the Louisville and Bardstown pike, over Coxes Creek, East Fork of Salt River, and Floyds Fork. Expected to start two loads of wheat to Louisville but on account of the burning of the bridges, could not go.

February 21, 1865, Marian [Bill Marion] and his men, guerrillas, impressed two horses from me and left two tired horses in their place. Later in the day 4 of Capt. Young's men, Federals, came to my house and took away my bird gun worth $50 or $75 and two coats and gloves worth $40.

March 23, 1865, the bridges over the Beach Fork at Bardstown and Fredericksburg were destroyed by fire about night, the work of the war.

March 29, 1865, Some home guards under command of [James H.] Bridgewater, called on us today, my wife and myself being absent, and took off with them about $75 worth of property, consisting of violin, buggy blanket and clothing in general, from coats, pants, down to paper of pins, also two horses and saddles. I met them and begged them out of two broke down horses and my saddles. They also took my brothers clothing and sundry other articles and $20 or $40 in money. The soldiery is becoming exceedingly demoralized. It is time this unholy war was coming to a close.

March 31, 1865, 26 soldiers ordered their dinner and fed their horses at fathers today.

April 1, 1865, 17 soldiers ordered their dinner and fed their horses at fathers today.

April 2, 1865, also today 50 ordered dinner and fed their horses, rather heavy in this line of business.

April 14, 1865, Good Friday, the capture of Richmond and the surrender of General Lee was celebrated in Louisville by a procession, an illumination, disregarding the sanctity of the day. In Louisville on business for my brother Thomas, who was drafted the preceding of the draft, ceased for the present, as it is supposed the war is near its end.

April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, was assassinated about 9 o'clock, P.M. in the theatre, Washington City. Seward, Secretary of State, supposed to be mortally wounded in his bed.

December 25, 1865, Christmas day has rolled around with all its joys and merriments, rejoicing that Christ our savior was so merciful as to come down from heaven to redeem fallen man, and still continues to assist us in our human weakness and showers down on us blessings. All that we are, all that we have, Christmas week, holy day for all. The poor Negro, who has been freed by the arbitrary power of the present administration, is in a great quandary.

He is thrown upon his limited resources, friendless and badly accustomed to his present condition. O sad and trying will be the first few years of his experience. Bereft of the sympathy which duty and interest fell upon his master, many of these unable or unfit to battle with the strong arm of necessity will severely bewail the fast, which abolitionists cut for them.

Abolitionism, oh foolish philanthropy, they will be the last to relieve the poverty stricken outcasts which thou hast made. Old age, disreputable public women and children, who will be your protectors, since no charitable organizations have been prepared for so sudden a change."

Don't forget, if you have ledgers, journals, diaries, pictures, give me a call 502 252-9991, email apwriternews@yahoo.com or write: Tom Watson, 5225 Little Union Road, Taylorsville, Ky. 40071.


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