SOUTH CAROLINA: Southern Civil War Journal Ends Up in York County
No one in the South knew where the Civil War would go next. Ella Bassett Washington (1834-1898), mistress of Beall Air plantation in Jefferson County, West Virginia, thought she and her children might be safe at her parent’s Clover Lea estate in Hanover County, Virginia, not far northeast of Richmond. She soon found she was wrong; that house sat on what is now known as the Cold Harbor battlefield.
The journal that Washington kept from May 27 through June 13, 1864 gives us insight as to what it was like living, with a child less than a year old, in the midst of an invading army. Her husband, Col. Lewis Washington, had been sent by the Confederates to France on a diplomatic mission shortly before the Union troops came to Hanover County. Washington’s chronicle has been used as reference by numerous noted historians and transcribed in its entirety by historian James O. Hall in the February 1978 issue of Civil War Times under the title “’An Army of Devils”: The Diary of Ella Washington.” The original manuscript copy is in the …
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)