|In this excerpt, Ms. Davis describes her experiences during the Civil War and her Emancipation. Of note is the fear that her enslavers had of the Union soldiers, and how she was put on lookout outside the property when they would come, allowing her enslavers to hide while the soldiers took what they wanted from the property. She finished by retelling the reaction of her and her family when they were told they were free.
When the war came Ole Master didn’t go, but he was a regular old secesh! (Secessionist/Southern sympathizer) Young James Andrew went off to war and ole Missus used to grieve for him. We never saw fighting around our place but we could hear the big guns over at Columbus. When the soldiers were around the neighborhood, they’d always have me playing around the front gate so I could tell them when they were coming up the road. Then they’d go and hide before the soldiers got there. They were all scared of the soldiers. I was scared too, but they said soldiers wouldn’t bother a little black gal. The soldiers just came in and ransacked the house—they’d find something to eat and they’d look for money. They want money! But they don’t find any. Then they wanted to know where my folks were, but I told them I didn’t know, “They just left and didn’t say where they were going’.
When the war was over, Ole Master Joe came in and he said, ’Rose, you all ain’t slaves any more. You are all as free as I am.’ Then you should’ve heard my mammy shout! You never heard such shouting in all your born days. And Ole Missus, she joined in the shouting too. She was glad because now James Andrew would be coming home.
Formerly enslaved person
|Birth Year (Age)
|Cape Girardeau, MO
|Themes & Keywords
|Family, Civil War, Emancipation,
|First person, dialect, Union Soldiers,