We're traveling with
Great-grandmother McNair - through her wonderful letter that survives to
this day - when she visited Moultrie during Sherman's March to the Sea.
We appreciate Mr. Tom Vereen sharing this with us.and thank him for
permission to use it here!
Mrs. McNair continues: Sometime later word came that the hotel people
had gathered up some vitals (sic) and we rushed along with the hungry mob
to get in touch with something to stay hunger, if possible. My share
turned out to be half of a stale breakfast roll and a cup of tea made from
leftover leaves and the situation became nerve wracking with two children
and nothing to eat and all eating places closed and the town filled with
Next morning about daylight my husband swept the streets and bought
$12.00 worth of baker's bread and the family devoured most of it during
the exciting day, which followed. We secured seats in the first outgoing
train and we pulled out of the city only to find the train stalled with
cylinders blown out before we had covered 60 miles.
We waited as patiently and as circumstances allowed, but we were all
still hungry. (Confederate money bought little). And with another long
crowded gloomy day ahead of it. The train missed all its connections -
all the eating places had been visited and left bare. And, for the first
time in my hereto compatible life, I was "dead hungry," and there was
nothing to buy - and we had to bare (sic) it.
Sometime in the night the train began to move and we decided to stop
over at Quitman because we must find food to eat and that night early.
The bill at the Pulaski Home was $75 and I suppose that was room/suite for
one simple night with two beds. We chanced upon a Bartow County family in
Quitman who had been wise and who went farther down than we and purchased
a small farm and our welcome was charming beyond expression. We had nine
o'clock breakfast Tuesday morning and "did the subject justice." The news
from abroad was most gloomy. We were persuaded to stay a while and wait
for developments. The people were all at sea as to plans and purposes.
Sherman was devastating the country.
My beloved husband left us with these glorious friends and made his way
from Quitman to Macon in a buggy with another anxious patriot whose family
was also near Macon. It was two weeks before the word came to me to start
on the big trip - across the wire grass country and our host sent us in a
two horse wagon hoping to make the trip inside of three days. It occupied
the most of four days - and one of those nights we were fortunate enough
to find shelter in a little hamlet called Moultrie. A sick Confederate
soldier wracked with rheumatism had reached his home from Virginia and as
the creeks were swollen and rain imminent we were thankful for the
shelter. They gave us the best they had - in a two roomed house - with
immense log heap fires - in the main room. Fifteen people slept in one
room - and if we had not been privileged to open the wooden shutters
partly I think I should have felt parboiled by early morning.
The shed room was the kitchen and eating place for this hospitable
family - and we had plenty of fried bacon - combined with sweet potatoes
for supper and breakfast.
I never paid a bill in a New York or Washington hotel with greater
willingness and thankfulness than the money I handed that humble soldier
citizen in Moultrie where he had but very few neighbors and all were as
poor as our host and hostess.
We'll finish Great-Grandmother McNair's adventure next week!