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Introduction: The following selected excerpts are from the diary of Mary D. Waring, a teenage girl living in Mobile during the Civil War. The original diary is at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama (SPR 30).
Mar. 27th 1865 To day the enemy commenced operations by an attack on Spanish Fort, where some of our best troops under Gen. Gibson, were stationed. The firing was heavy and continuous, while the booming of heavy Artillery was heard distinctly on this side, rendering us uneasy as to the fate of our brave and gallant boys stationed in and around the fort. Being unaccustomed to such heavy firing, we were, of course, much startled and excited until we gradually became used to the sound.
Tuesday March 28th Heavy firing is still kept up at the Fort, from both sides, our men stubbornly resisting any advance of the enemy. The wharves and all high places in the city, filled with persons, impelled, some by curiosity, but many more by anxiety, watching the firing. It has been impossible to do work of any description, or to compose the mind, for reading, writing, practicing or any thing else. I have been wandering around, like a restless spirit, trying to compose myself, but finding every effort to do so, impossible, finally give up the attempt, so great is my anxiety about Marion, and many of my friends stationed there.
Sunday April 9th Bright and early this morning I was awakened with "Spanish Fort is evacuated" while I could hardly believe it, only it was a confirmation of our worst fears- Still I had to believe the evidence of my own eyes, for our soldiers were passing by in squads, from an early hour, dirty, wet and completely worn out, having been compelled to march through a marsh for a distance of four miles, in order to make their escape. Poor fellows, how discouraging it must have been to abandon the fort after having so bravely defended it for two weeks.
Thursday April 13th The city is filled with the hated Yanks, who differ in the greatest degree from our poor dear soldiers - the commonest, dirtiest - looking set I ever saw. Really I feel quite strange in my own city, seeing so many new and strange countenances. To do them justice, however, I must admit, though reluctant to do so, that they are very quiet and orderly, and they entered the city with extraordinary order and quiet, so different from what we had anticipated, from the numerous accounts of their behavior in captured cities. We are thankful for it and hope such conduct will be preserved throughout their stay here.
Saturday April 15th 1865 The day has passed off very quietly, with very little or nothing worthy of comment, except a very few moments interview with three "Yankee" officers, which, of course, devolved upon me, because I did not wish to have a word with any of them. Cora was not dressed and Mother would not go down, so that I was compelled to go down and see what their business was. As I expected, they came to inquire if we could rent them a room, as they were exceedingly anxious to find lodgings, and experienced great difficulty in obtaining them, as almost every house in the city was occupied- Summoning all the politeness I could possibly exercise towards those whom I consider our bitterest foes, and against whom, all the fiercer feeling of my nature aroused, I plainly informed them that we could not possibly accommodate them, as the house was not sufficiently capacious even for the family, after which information they bowed themselves away - They then tried at Mrs. J's - but with no better success, and began to feel that no body in Mobile wanted them - Great geese for imagining otherwise. This afternoon, we held our rebel meeting at Mrs. Johnson's - with Miss Kate O - Maria Minge, Anna Tuthill - Libbie White - Fanny L. and Addea. We agitated the question as to whether or not we should attend Christ Church after Dr. L. strange conduct, and finally concluded, in consideration of its being Easter Sunday, to go, and if we did not admire the course ursued by Dr. L. not to go again - nothing else worthy of mentioned transpired today so I put up until to-morrow.
Sunday April 16th We went to Church "en Masse" this morning, and soon after taking our seats the "blue coats" began coming in until the Church was quite filled with them. They are as far behind our dear Southern boys, in appearance and many other respects, as they can possibly be imagined. Even the uniform is inferior to the Confederate grey, in point of beauty.