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Diary of Elizabeth Collier, April 20, 1865


Diary of Elizabeth Collier, April 20, 1865


The diary entry of Elizabeth Collier on April 20, 1865, covered the last few days of fighting in Bentonville, and interaction between the women of her family and Union soldiers who have begun to pillage Goldsboro for supplies and necessities. Collier, a passionate supporter of the Confederate forces, refused entry to many soldiers who are in search of supplies. She used words such as “cowardly” and “wretches” to describe the soldiers as they held a gun to the “helpless women” demanding they give supplies to him. She described that while they were left alone inside their home after this incident, the Union forces destroyed the majority of their property outside of the home. Collier described one soldier that described the Collier family and "felt sorry" for them since they had so little for the soldiers to take. In the end of the diary entry Collier discussed her and her family leaving Goldsboro by way of Confederate protection. When she saw the Confederate soldiers she described them as "bright, open, and cheerful."


Collier, Elizabeth


Elizabeth Collier Diary 1861-1865, #1335-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill




Stafford, Scott




Goldsboro, North Carolina

Original Format



April 20, 1865

We have lived in such a state of excitement for the past month that I have not had the time to write any thing which occurred but to begin at this late day—After the evacuation of Goldsboro—we were in constant expectation of the Yankees for more than a week before they made their appearance. On Sunday 17th of March the Battle of Bentonville took place. Dr. Maddox on hearing the cannonading rode out in the direction of the fight, but went only a few miles when he a met a party of Yankees who took him prisoner, carried him to headquarters where he was paroled and sent home under the care of Lt. Storey. On Monday morning the 20th the first foraging party made their appearance at Everettsville- We were of course all very much alarmed—They asked for flour and seeing that we were disposed not to give it, made a rush in the house and took it himself—the cowardly creature even pointed his gun at us –helpless women. Look out we soon found that poor little Everettsville was filled with Yankees and that they were plundering the house—After a while we succeeded in gettings “Safe guard” and for a week we got along comparatively well-But in the meantime every thing out doors was destroyed. All provisions taken fences knocked down—horses, cows, carriages and buggies stolen and everything else the wretches could lay their hands on—even to the servant’s clothes.

On Monday 27th, a party of most desperate fellows burst the back door down and forced their entrance- they had made several attempts before to get in the house—but we had the doors locked—and now the commence their sacking of the house and did not cease until they had taken everything to eat the house contained—not leaving a single mouthful—curses and oaths were uttered on all sides—it was truly fearful- one fellow remarked in his insolent way, as he was destroying a jar of Brandy Peaches- That he really did feel sorry for these people—they had so little- They then told us that they intended burning the house that night== made the most desperate threats—they did put the fire in three places, but the guard extinguished it before it did any injury—Poor Wise Sally had her trunks searched, and her things stolen-While they cursed her every moment calling her damned old rebel- At last we were compelled to leave the house and seek refuge with Dr. Maddox- They even threatened to burn his down for harbouring damned rebels as they called us—We were two days at Dr. Maddox’s, on the third we went over to Goldsboro and there remained for a week—I went to see Gen. Schofield to ask him to send us out of the Yankee lines—he very politely said he would—So the next morning the 5th of April- We came out under a flag of Truce. Col Hays of Schofield’s staff examined our trunk and would only allow us pieces- Ma’s and my trunk—the boys not a change of clothing but I was only too thankful to be rid of their hateful presence at any cost and I really do not think I was ever so happy in all my life, as I was when I first saw our men- rebel soldiers in their grey jackets- Their bright open, cheerful countenances were such a striking contrast to the mean low, miserable looking Yankees—Gen Hampton furnished us with transportation to the train.


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Collier, Elizabeth, Diary of Elizabeth Collier, April 20, 1865, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,