Monday, August 6, 2012
“Old Abe Lincoln was inaugurated today amidst bayonets bristling from the house tops as well as streets. His speech was just what was expected from him, stupid, ambiguous, vulgar and insolent and is everywhere considered as a virtual declaration of war.” Emma Holmes diary March 4, 1861
“We the free born descendants of the Cavaliers, to submit to the descendant of the witch burning Puritans, whose God is the Almighty Dollar. Never! I thank God I am a Southerner and South Carolinian.” Feb. 14, 1863"
Two months before the Civil War broke out, Emma Holmes made the first entry in a diary that would eventually hold vivid firsthand accounts of several major historical events. Born into an elite South Carolina family, Holmes was in her twenties during the war years. She lived in Charleston during April, 1861, bombardment of Fort Sumter and was visiting there during the 1863 Union shelling of the city. Her description of the Charleston fire of December, 1861, which destroyed her family home and leveled much of the city, is one of the most powerful passages in the diary.