1862 May 30 before Richmond, Va.

[from the diary of Jonathan Hager of the 14th U.S. Regulars, as copied and annotated at a later date]

May 30  Friday   This morning was intensely, excee
dingly hot & useless duty required very few
ventured beyond their bowers. Such heat we
thought must soon be followed by a storm &
in the afternoon we caught it in all its grandeur.
The thunder and lightning was awful almost
beyond conception & the rain fell in torrents.
The tents of the officers of the 14th being on
the left of the brigade & the ground descending
from the right brought the water down in a
perfect river.  Nearly every tent was flooded
but mine.  Mine was perfectly dry and I
indulged in a little tantalizing amusement
at the rest who were out with spades & shovels
digging & ditching to turn the water off.
This morning I went foraging with my
Contraband.  I wanted some pease for dinner
& heard there were some almost a mile away
across Gaines Mill Pond.  I found the house
& bought a peck of peas for a dollar and a
dozen young onions for 50 cents, and offered
the woman a five dollar greenback to be
changed.  But this she wouldn’t take.  She said
it wouldn’t buy anything in Richmond.
I told her in my innocence that by the time
she got to Richmond it would buy anything
She didn’t believe it. I was about to give
up the peas painful as it was when I remem-
bered I had a $20 gold piece in my purse
I gave her this & she gave me the change in
gold & silver  Poor woman, her husband
was in the rebel army & all the slaves had
left her except one old man and a small
boy & the growing crop to take care of. Her
future did not look bright & she knew it,
yet she was rebellious in her feelings.
We heard to day of the evacuation of
Corinth and esteemed it good news. We
little thought what a serious effect it would
yet have upon us or we would have grieved
& not rejoiced.

MSS 9044 

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