Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Voices of the Civil War: Camp Followers (Lady of the Evening, South)

(This is part of a series of historical fiction letters relating what life was like during the Civil War. For an explanation of this series, please click here.)

From a Lady of the Evening (South):

Dear Evangeline,

Having been displaced by the war and my dear William shot dead by the Yankee soldiers, I have no recourse but to follow the confederate army as they fight for land that is rightfully ours, but which has been taken by the dirty Yankees.

I have no other means of surviving and I pray to God that he will forgive me my sins on the day of judgment for what I am forced to live with in order to survive. I have made the acquaintance of several handsome officers and have captured the eye of a general. He dresses me in fine clothes and has given me money to send my dear little Emily to you. I shall come when I have the means to do so, but in the time remaining, I fear I must stay here and live the life I have reconciled myself to.

The general is a kind, jealous man, for which I am eternally grateful, since he does not allow any other man to share my favors. I get paid handsomely for not turning to other men for sources of income and for that I am thankful, for I cannot imagine how I should live with myself after my part in this mutant beast is finished – though I fear I will have a hard enough time of it as it is.

My only prayer is that Emily should not be tainted by this horror to which I am degraded to. I pray she does not start to loathe me for it, for it is for her I am doing such things.

I am shamed beyond all imagining at the fate to which I have been put to and I can begin to understand the desperation that drives these young women towards this fate. I pray you do not shun me for this decision, dear sister.

Forever yours,
Georgia Buchanan

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