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Diary of Emma LeConte, February 23, 1865


Diary of Emma LeConte, February 23, 1865


Emma LeConte was around the age of seventeen and the daughter of a professor at South Carolina College when General Sherman, of the Union Army, and his army made their way through South Carolina in mid-February of 1865. LeConte resided in the state capitol of Columbia, which was also one the hardest, if not the hardest, city hit by Sherman and his army. The account came roughly a week after Sherman’s men entered Columbia. Sherman’s army took and destroyed many resources through their march, trying to destroy the Confederates’ ability and will to fight, particularly on the home front. Sherman’s tactics made it difficult to survive because of the lack of physical necessities, like food, as LeConte and her family had to cut their rations to as short as possible after Sherman came. However, the resolve to fight was still there. LeConte believed, “The more we suffer, the more we should be willing to undergo rather than submit.” LeConte’s opinion differed from what Sherman had hoped would happen, to psychologically destroy the will to fight. Instead, her resistance increased.  The main image is of a young Emma LeConte.


Emma LeConte


Emma LeConte,  When the World Ended The Diary of Emma LeConte, ed. Earl Miers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1957), 66.






South Carolina

Original Format



Sallie has commenced studying and will receive her lesson to me tomorrow. I cannot summon energy or interest to go back to my own studies. That must not be until, anxiety banished, we are reunited and settled down in quiet. When wilt that be! The Yankees talk very strongly of conquering the South immediately-if so, our day of rest is far off. Somehow, I am still as confident as I ever was. If only our people will be steadfast. The more we suffer, the more we should be willing to undergo rather than submit. Somehow, I cannot feel we can be conquered. We have lost everything, but if all this-negroes, property-all could be given back a hundredfold, I would not be willing to go back to them. I would rather endure any poverty than live under Yankee rule. I would rather far have France or any other country for a mistress-anything but live as one nation with Yankees-that word in my mind is a synonym for all that is mean, despicable and abhorrent.


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Emma LeConte, Diary of Emma LeConte, February 23, 1865, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 19, 2024,