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Civil War and Reconstruction
Civil War Soldiers' Stories
A Young Girl Meets Her Soldier Father

Mrs. I.E. Doane was 81 years old when interviewed by workers of the WPA Federal Writer's Project. One of 11 children, she moved with her parents to the low country of South Carolina. Her father purchased 3000 acres at the fork of the Salkehatchie River. The family was living there when the Civil War began and her father joined the Confederate Army. What does Mrs. Doane say about Yankee soldiers? About Confederate soldiers? How often do you think other Southerners saw their menfolk the way Mrs. Doane and her family did?

View Mrs. Doane's entire interview from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


Mrs. Doane says they never even saw any Yankees except for a few stragglers who passed now and then. When Sherman's army was approaching, the Confederates burned the bridge across Salkehatchie River to prevent them crossing, which proved to be most fortunate for the Cummings' family. The river was very high from recent rains and the Yankees were unable to get across. So that, although Sherman's army was so near they could hear them on the other side of the river, this plantation at least escaped the fate which fell to many in this section.

Undisturbed by marauding Yankees, the Cummings' were frequently visited by Confederate soldiers. These, ragged and half-starved, passed in hordes, raiding their provisions, killing their chickens, hogs and cattle. Although this was hard, Mrs. Cummings did not begrudge food to these soldiers. Mrs. Doane says she well remembers her mother and "Mudder" baking hoecakes in the kitchen for these hungry soldiers, who were so ravenous that they could not wait for the bread to be browned on both sides, but would snatch it from their hands and eat it half-cooked. She recalls seeing her mother dish up sauer-kraut for the soldiers until they had eaten her entire winter's supply - two barrels.

Late one afternoon word came that Confederate soldiers were passing through Salkehatchie, near Yemassee, and that her father was among them. He could not get away to visit his family, but wanted them to meet him at Salkehatchie. It did not take her mother long to make plans. She gave the children their supper, then laid mattresses in the big covered wagon, which was used to haul provisions from Charleston, and put them to bed under the watchful care of "Mudder", who was indeed like a second mother to them. Peter drove the wagon, which was also stocked with food, and Mrs. Cummings, with the baby and her oldest son, drove in the buggy. It was very exciting, Mrs. Doane says, seeing her father and all the Confederate soldiers, but almost as exciting was the experience of camping with the other families who had also come to see soldier husbands and fathers.
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View Mrs. Doane's entire interview from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.