Sarah Wadley

Wadley’s father William Wadley and family is mentioned in massey1964, p. 49:

During the first two years of the war they opened their home near Monroe to dozens of Louisiana refugees, most of whom were en route to Texas. The Wadleys often discussed what they would do should they ever have to leave, and the only thing all agreed on was that they would not go to Texas. They made no plans until Vicksburg fell, and then decided to go to Georgia where they owned property.

Their decision also seems to have been motivated by fear that Willie, Sarah’s brother, would be conscripted, and by general uncertaintly abobut the Marshall conference which seemed to indicate the possibility of a new Western confederacy.

Her father was a Confederate official in charge of railroads, and her brother Willie worked, it appears, for the the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Texas Railroad.

Wadley also reports about the activities of slaves on her plantation, and the request of one slave, Prince, to be purchased in order to stay with his enslaved wife when the Wadley family leaves. “Uncle Jim” another frequently mentioned slave, who sometimes traveled with Willie or William Wadley into Texas, it appears.


I contacted the Middle Georgia Archives on October 2, 2012, and received this reply from librarian Muriel Jackson:

We do hold a Wadley Family Collection 1856-1909. The Collection consists of correspondence, a diary, two published biographies, plantation and family financial records, miscellaneous family business records. We have a lot of correspondence for that time period. The collection as compiled by Sarah Lois Wadley, the second child of William Morrill Wadley. The railroad records (1858-1899) contain various materials related to the construction, operations, and finances of several Georgia and Southeastern companies as well as the Mexican National Railroad. I cannot be sure how much if any information is in the correspondence.

Are you aware that Emory University hold the Raoul Family Papers and University of Georgia holds another grouping of Wadley family Papers.


There is a transcription of Sarah’s diary now on DocSouth, some entries from which are excerpted below:

July 13th/62.Oakland–

A month since I have opened my journal book! as I look back upon it, it seems an age, though the days and weeks pass as a dream; the times are feverish, and often my heart burns with anxiety and sympathy for our soldiers, our noble soldiers, yes I will say noble, for erring and violent as they often are, yet how many noble hearts are among them! Noble Vicksburg, I am proud of her, she still holds out, though the large Yankee fleet before the city is constantly bombarding her. Many of the buildings are injured and some in ruins, the Court house is still untouched. The Yankees have landed at De Soto and penetrated ten or twenty miles into the interior, they have seized the negroes from many plantations along the river, have about two thousand at work cutting a canal across the point opposite Vicksburg so as to draw off the river from that noble town, and thus ruin her prosperity. Their gunboats, too, want a safe passage up the river, and even their gunboats feel a slight distaste to passing Vicksburg.

There was a youth here today who carries the mail from here to the other side of the river, he goes on horseback, crosses when he can find the river free from Yankees, and changes his route according to circumstances, his recital of his adventures made me think of the old revolutionary times, he says that some of the negroes which the Yankees have, are very desirous to return home, they release them on Parole of honnour! one of the negroes who got away said that they never would catch him any other way but running, the negroes say that they have to eat in the ditch where they work and never come out except to sleep, when they are sick the Yankees send them off to a ginhouse near by and do not give them any medicine, many of them are taken with the sunstroke, they have a guard over every twenty four negroes. They have got the canal dug fifteen feet wide, and four feet deep, they cannot get the water to flow into it, the current is so swift; the river is falling fast. We have gained a victory in Virginia, we have not heard the particulars yet. It was reported that McClellan was captured, but that has been contradicted.

Friday–Dec. 26th. [1862]

Our turn has come at last, we heard this morning that the Yankees had come as far as Delhi (on the railroad) burning everything in their track, and coming four miles an hour, we know nothing of their force, all suppose that they are coming to Monroe. I do not know whether our few troops will resist or not. Willie is gone in at full speed to ascertain the of the matter and to bring back our teams which went in this morning for corn. Oh if Father was here! I am determined, come what may, never to renounce my country, but what is before us!

The negroes are busy barbecueing and cooking for their party tonight, they may have to start away before day, but we shall let enjoy themselves while they can.


Willie returned this evening, bringing us no further news, Mr. McGuire thinks that the Yankees have e’er this gone back to their gunboats, it is true that they laid Delhi in ashes.

General Blanchard has ordered all the men under forty five to meet at Cotton post tomorrow morning early, he purposes to make a stand at Monroe, I hope he will.

We have been watching the negroes dancing for the last two hours, Mother had the partition taken down in our old house so that they have quite a long ball room, we can sit on the piazza and look into it. I hear now the sounds of fiddle, tambourine and “bones” mingled with the shuffling and pounding of feet. Mr. Axley is fiddling for them, they are having a merry time, thoughtless creatures, they think not of the morrow.

I am sad, very sad, tonight, last Christmas Father watched their dancing with us; where is he now? where shall we all be next Christmas, and tomorrow Willie must go, perhaps to battle, I do not feel a single complaint in my heart, but I am very sad.

Wednesday, March 25th–

… Mr. Floyd was camped at Mr. Noble’s place and he called to Col. Coleman, we then came on home, met a negro man who usually brings letters from the railroad, asked him if he had brought one “Yes M’am”. “Who was it from?” “Mr. Wadley I believe, M’am”. …

May 16th. 1863.

Just a month since my last entry in my old book! What a busy month it has been, I cannot record all that has happened but will give a few items.

About the 20th. of last month, Mrs. Stone (a lady from the swamp) came to Mother to get board for herself and family for a week; they had escaped from the swamp in haste and at night, lost all their clothing, except what was contained in one small trunk, and abandoned their house and furniture entirely to the Yankees and negroes. Mother was very reluctant to take them, but they urged it and she could not refuse persons in their situation, so they came, Mrs. Stone, Miss Kate, Rebecca and Jimmy and Johnny, they are a very pleasant family, have no small children Rebecca is eleven years old and a very nice, good little girl. Mrs. Stone has been here very little of the time, and Johnny and Jimmy have been away a great deal. Miss Kate is a very sweet young lady, so unaffected and agreeable. …

Mrs. Stone and Jimmy are in Delhi, getting some negroes from their plantation. Willie has been as busy as possible for the past week arranging to have the railroad negroes brought over this side of the river, they are here now, about seventy. Poor Willie is getting quite pale and thin again, I hope all this fatigue will not make him sick again. The weather is quite cool for this season of the year, it is warm at Mid day but the mornings and evenings are almost cold.

Tuesday May 26th/ ’63.

We have three more “lodgers” now, really our house seems quite elastic, we thought it full to overflowing when Mrs. Stone came, but now we accommodate these ladies very well. Willie gave up his room and took an unfinished one on the north side of the house. Mother would not have taken these ladles but the circumstances of their case were so sad she could not refuse. Mrs. Barr and her daughter Mrs. Morancy are both widows. Mrs. Morancy was only a wife eighteen months, and her husband died recently, she has a little baby eight or nine months old. Mrs. Barr has lost two grown sons within the last two years, was obliged to leave her plantation, and lost a great deal, her house with all her furniture was burnt by her negroes a few days after she left it, her family now consists of her widowed daughter, a young lady daughter, Miss Julia, and Mr. Bowmar Barr and wife; they are all scattered about, the two first here, Miss Julia at Mrs. Dortch’s and the young couple (they have only been married three or four months) are keeping house at a cabin on Dr. Temple’s land, I an so sorry for them, the cabin is built of logs without any ceiling or a single window; how hard it is for families to be separated in this way. We are really fortunate in our “lodgers,” they are all such pleasant people. Mrs. Barr seems to be a very sweet lady,–her troubles, though many, have not soured her disposition at all.

Tuesday June 9th / ’63.

Miss Kate, Willie and I attended a fish fry on Crew lake yesterday, the party was very small, only Mrs. Willson’s family, Mary Stevens, and Miss Sarah Garrett and Mrs. Proctor, with a few gentlemen; we rose at half past two, rode into town, and met the rest of the party at the cars at about five o’clock, we spent the morning very pleasantly in the woods, fishing, walking and talking, Mrs. Proctor afforded me a great deal of amusement, she is one of the gay widows whom one meets with so often in books; has a large bunch of small curls on each side of her face, and a net trimmed with bugles, waving behind, a complexion which is a happy mingling of brown and flushy red, a hooked nose, retreating forehead, and a wide mouth always open and showing very good teeth, her head dress yesterday was a black hat trimmed with blue ribbons, over which was thrown a black lace veil which never descended to cover her face; she has a nervously lively air, talks in a high key and shakes her curls, throws back her head, and laughs at almost every word spoken either by herself or another; her great affectation of youth ill accords with the number of wrinkles on her face, and her general shriveled appearance; yet with all this ludicrous and disgusting appearance and manner she seems to be generally liked, so I suppose she must have some redeeming qualities. We took the cars at about four O’clock, and after a short ride of twelve miles reached Shonroc where bidding goodbye to our friends, we took the way home. I heaved a sigh of relief as we entered the enclosure and drove up through the grove, I felt perfectly exhausted by a day spent in the pursuit of pleasure, even though the object had been attained. This morning we commenced again our quiet routine though I felt little like it, I am better now though, do not feel so languid as when we commenced school. Loring accompanied us to the fish fry yesterday, and today he felt so tired and his eyes were so much inflamed from cinders that I did not take him into school. Eva has given me some trouble this morning, I was obliged to keep her in, though I disliked very such to do so, I wish she would take more interest in her studies, yet I never punish her for anything except ill behaviour. We heard yesterday that there had been a battle at Milliken’s bend between part of Walker’s brigade and a force of negroes mixed with a few Yankees, it is said that the Yankees at the first onset left their allies and fled but the negroes fought desperately, and would not give up until our men clubbed muskets upon them, we lost three hundred killed and wounded and it is said there were three thousand of the negroes killed; it is terrible to think of such a battle as this, white men and freemen fighting with their slaves, and to be killed by such a hand, the very soul revolts from it, Oh, may this be the last.

Friday, June 19th / ’63.

Mrs. Stone and her family left for Texas on Wednesday, it seems strange not to have them in the house, they had been here so long (nearly two months) that we miss them almost as if they were members of the family. Miss Kate went away with tears as they all did, they have a long and wearisome route before them, and at the end nothing but uncertainty and discomfort. I hope we may never have to move to Texas, Father does not think it will be necessary to move at all unless Vicksburg falls and if it does, if that most melancholy event should ever happen, we would go to Georgia if possible; Father has had an offer made him to take charge of some iron works in Dade County and, I think, sometimes inclines to accept it and leave Louisiana forever; this idea is terrible to me, to leave my home, this place which is now associated with all the joys and sorrows of the most impressible period of life; would be to sunder many ties, the dearest, strongest of my nature, there is no other spot in the world to which I feel a home attachment; every tree here has for me an expression, for the past two years I have looked upon this as a future home and all my plans, my hopes, are connected with it; but if father thinks it best to leave here, how can I complain as long as I am with him, while my parents are spared me, I must always have a home, and if we must go anywhere Georgia is the place I should choose, that dear old state of which I feel a proud tender feeling and must always feel it wherever may be my home. I received a letter from Miss Valeria yesterday telling me all about the Yankee raid near Hazelhurst and saying that, should Vicksburg fall, they would move to Georgia or Alabama, to be with her I would sacrifice much. …

Thursday, July 16th. 1863.

Mrs. Barr and family returned Monday morning, they found Eva sick with diptheria, she was taken Saturday evening with sore throat but she so often has it that we thought nothing of it, but Sunday she was so sick that we sent for the doctor, he pronounced it the dreaded diptheria. Eva was very much frightened and allowed him to cauterize her throat and took the medicine he left without any resistance, yesterday evening the doctor said her throat was much better, she has the disease in a very mild form. Little Jim was taken with it Tuesday, has it quite badly, I hope it will not spread among the little children. Mrs. Morancy was so much alarmed for Jennie that she took her down to Mrs. Waddell’s. Miss Julia is there too, so we have only Mrs. Barr with us. Our salt wagons arrived Tuesday noon, said Willie and Loring were well when they left there, all the government stores are being hauled from Monroe, so the wagons did not return, and we expect Willie and Lory the last of this week, I am very anxious to see them. Yesterday Miss Mary and I packed the books. Oh it was a sad work to me, it brought forcibly to my mind all the hopes, the bright golden dreams I had indulged in here, and which were, many of them, connected with these books. I had thought I should never again have the melancholy task of packing them. Oh my home, my dear home how can I leave it, it seems as if it would break my heart, and I know I shall never return, never see this place except as the dwelling of another, it may be an illusion but in my eyes it is a beautiful place, and I had projected so many improvements. And than the bitterest thought of all is Vicksburg, had it not been for this we need not have left home, but gladly would I have gone if this bitter humiliation could have been spared us. Miss Mary and the children look forward with bright anticipations to their journey to Texas and residence in San Antonio de Bexar, but I have no bright anticipations, usually so fond of weaving bright joys in the future I cannot now look forward, a mist shuts in my mind like the mist which has hung over our hills for several days, only the past is ever present with me. I know these feelings are wrong, how many have suffered more than we have, Mrs. Barr for instance, deprived of her two sons, the one her pride and stay, the other her pet and darling, her daughter a widow, her surviving son with no talent for business and little energy, she has lost much of her property and knows not where to go or what to do, we are still united, I feel this blessing and am thankful.

Saturday, July 18th. 1863.

… Major MaClay and Major Mason called to see us last night, Major Maclay as usual was very entertaining notwithstanding he was suffering from neuralgia in the face, he told me some very interesting things about Texas and San Antonio which I shall lay up in my memory. Father did not see the gentlemen as he had retired and was so unwell. Julia Willson and Tabitha Scarborough called here yesterday evening on their return from a horseback ride, I was very glad to see them, they are on the eve of moving to Homer and thence to Texas. I shall be very sorry to part with them, I have few such pleasant acquaintances this side of the Mississippi, but we are going so soon it matters little, I dare say we will meet again in some of our wanderings.

Thursday, Aug. 27th.

I do not know where or how to begin, all is movement, anxiety, expectation. We are doubly troubled, Eva is very ill, I am writing in her room by the candle light. Her fever has never yet left her, yesterday evening she had an alarming nervous paroxism and another more violent about 11 o’clock at night, I sat up with her till 2, then Mother took my place, this morning, and all today she has been quite sensible, and has less fever this morning, but there has been a good deal of unavoidable noise which perhaps has had some effect in increasing her fever and nervousness tonight, she complains of excessive weakness, sleeps a great deal but not peacefully, takes all the medicine given her and is scarcely irritable at all. This is all so different from her usual manner when sick. We had a sad parting this evening from Mrs. Barr and her family; they have started for Texas in company with Major Waddell’s family. They stayed with us last night and today until this evening about 5 o’clock; it was like parting with a near and dear relation to tell them goodbye, poor Mrs. Barr! her’s has been a sorrowful lot, and she is so lovely, so ladylike and admirable, Mrs. Morancy too, her youth blighted, I could not but love her. Miss Julia is so useful to her Mother, she directs everything, arranges everything. Dr. Young’s family left today. Oh, if we were only on our way, but it is impossible for us to go now. Father says if it were not for Eva he might attempt to go, but as it is we cannot stir. Willie wants to take away the negroes and stock, I don’t know whether he will or not. Poor Father, he says that for the first time in his life he don’t know what to do, he was in Monroe yesterday all the morning, seeing to the railroad things, and could not sleep last night from his thoughts.

Prince, Emmeline’s husband came to Father last night begging him to buy him, Father has tried once or twice before but could not. Prince said a speculator offered his master 5000 dollars for him but he (Prince) told him flatly that he would not go with him, he was so anxious for Father to buy him, said “One reason I want to get away from Monro is because these black folks that come back say the Yankees takes all the young looking fellows and puts them in the army, and I’ve no notion of going in the army.” Father went in this morning and bought him for four thousand dollars, I expect he will bring him out tonight. Father went away immediately after breakfast and returned to dinner, he went back soon after, and has not come yet, though it is eight o’clock, we are expecting him momently. …

Friday Aug. 28th.

… Willie has been busy all day loading the wagons and preparing to start with the negroes and stock, we are to keep only the house servants, Alice, Sally, Emmeline and Prince and their children. I suppose Uncle Jim will stay too, and Rose, I forgot her, it seems such a matter of course that she should stay. …

Saturday, Aug. 29th. 1863. Oakland, La.

About twelve o’clock this morning Mr. McCormick came out from Monroe and told us that the Yankees had gone, they came into Monroe about eleven o’clock yesterday morning and went away about seven this morning, taking with them a number of negroes, mules and some wagons. … Father gave all the negroes choice yesterday evening, told them they might go with Willie to a place of safety or they might bundle up their things and go to the Yankees, to take a free choice, they might have done so in reality, Father would not have hindered them, but they every one chose to go with Willie. Some were not sincere, for Mr. McCormick says that Mr. Duvall is sure he saw one of them, he thinks several, with the Yankees this morning when they left. I was passing through the hall yesterday morning and overheard one of the railroad negroes talking to Father, something was said about going to the Yankees, “No, Mars William,” Abe said, “I come from Georgia and you did too and I calculate to die by you.”

Monday, August 31st.

I believe it is decided at last, in two weeks, God willing, we are to start–not to Texas–to Georgia. Two weeks, only two weeks. That we are to go to Georgia takes not from the sting of this bitter parting for me. I have so many things to do in this short time that very little leisure will be left for writing, I am now taking a few minutes before breakfast. Eva was a great deal better yesterday and is this morning. I hope she may now gain a little, not go back and advance alternately as she has been doing. Mrs. Seale and Mrs. Putnam spent the day here yesterday, I saw but little of them as I was with Eva most of the time. Willie returned about eleven o’clock Saturday night, said he had gotten along very well, that the negroes were, as he expressed it, the jolliest set that ever travelled, picking the banjo and dancing every time they stopped, they will be still more jolly at the prospect of going to Georgia. Dr. Whyte told us of an outrage perpetrated by the Yankees on Bayou de Sicard, they went to Mr. Fithiol’s house, demanded some gold that he had, and when he said that it was out of his power to got it, they put five pistols to his head, and commanded him to produce, he still denied, and they put a pistol to his wife’s head, compelled her to get up, in her night dress, light the house all over, unlock all her trunks and show them throughout the house, when they still could not find the money they threatened to burn the house. Mrs. Fithiol drew aside the bed curtains and shoved them her children, “What!” she said, “Would you burn down the house over four little children” “Children are very common things nowadays, we see them every day” was the brutal reply. They did not burn the house however, but took all his negro men but four and left him but four mules out of his twenty four. Notwithstanding this, I must do the Yankees the justice to say that their General (Stevenson) was polite (politic) and that few, if any, other such outrages were committed. It is hard for me to admit that they are polite.

Monday, Feb. 29th. [1864]

I rose this morning long before day and have some leisure time before breakfast to write. Last night we were joyfully surprised by Willie’s coming home, we did not expect him for several days, poor fellow he was quite troubled, had worked very hard to get back to Monroe before “the twilight” should make another trip, on account of some of the railroad negroes who were on her, and who were very much dissatisfied, but when he got to Monroe he found that the twilight had come and gone, and that four of the negroes had left her at Monroe, two Willie thinks may have gone entirely, the other two he supposes to be at Millhaven. Willie had promised his squad to give them a holiday at Millhaven as a reward for their hard work, but when he went to the government clerk to get the order, he found him locked up, playing cards, and when he got access to him he would not give him the necessary order. Then Willie had no horse to come out on, he went all over Monroe and Trenton and could neither hire nor borrow one, then being in a last extremity, he went to Capt. Seale’s and Lucy lent him her pony, he arrived at home about eight o’clock, quite tired; is obliged to go to Vienna today to see Capt. Oliver about the negroes, and we have nothing here to ride but three lazy mules, to ride any of them would be torture. Willie will have to borrow or hire a horse from Dr. Temple, and he hates to borrow a horse.

Monday, April 11th.

Father went into Trenton this morning in company with the cart that went for Mrs. Seale’s trunks, Mrs. Seale concluded not to send them out today. Father did not go over to Monroe, says the Yankees appear to be in considerable commotion caused probably from the surprise yesterday. Father said there were a good many negores on the bank with their bundles who had run to the Yankees. He says he saw some ladies and children carrying chickens to the boat to barter for coffee. Sandy, who drove the cart, was on the bank when the skiff came on shore to get the chickens, says the Yankees gave one pound of coffee for four chickens. Sandy asked the negro who was in the skiff if any body could go on board that boat that chose, (meaning the gunboat) the negro said no, asked Sandy if he wanted to go to stay, Sandy told him no, that he had had no hand in bringing on the war, and was not going to have anything to do with it! Maybe none of our negroes will go, but we don’t know what might happen, it would I feel be far better for them to stay with us, but they don’t know that and I don’t blame them in the least for being dazzled by the false idea of freedom, ours go on just exactly as usual as yet, one who was hired in Monroe is gone to them we hear, the same who got drunk and was so impertinent to Willie the day we started to Georgia, and whom we sent back from the La Fourche. …

Friday night, April 15th.

I have allowed two days to pass without writing the news, the Yankees are gone, and I have been so busy that I have not been able before to chronicle this great event. We heard the news Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning Father and Mother went to town, the Yankees had indeed gone, taking all the cotton they could get, and from five hundred to a thousand negroes, almost everyone in Monroe lost their house servants, and some lost all on their plantations. Mrs. Stevens had not one house servant left except her old carriage driver, Cuffy. Mrs. Tucker’s little servant girl did not go, but every one of Mrs. Stevens did. The day that Mother was there Mrs. Tucker and Mary prepared the dinner, their servants did not leave until Monday night and left everything prepared for breakfast. Scott was very honourable, she has her Misstresses Silver in her charge but took none of it away with her, I am so sorry for Mrs. Stevens, as I said before she has many companions in misfortune. Mrs. Garrett is the only lady who lost none. Five of the railroad negroes left, three of whom we thought the most faithful, Nate, Little Cuffy and Ike, who all, especially Nate, behaved so well on our way to Georgia. I believe he was promised a Captaincy, perhaps that allured him, we lost but one negro, Little Emmaline, who was hired in Monroe with her husband, a railroad boy, and left with him. Before leaving town the Yankees burned the Court house, the railroad bridge over the Ouachita and one other small public office, they did not trouble private property at all except to take all the cotton they could find. I was surprised to hear of so many negroes going, it is said that one woman killed her little baby, who was very sick, and she knew would keep her from going, many left their little babies on the plantation to go. …

Thursday, Oct. 27th. 1864.

… Father is away now. He left home last Friday to take the railroad negroes out to Texas; it was this that he wished Willie to come home for, but Willie was too sick to go. Father thought he could not any longer keep the railroad negroes here on his own responsibility, and had no means of feeding and clothing them, so he is going to carry them out to the iron works in Texas, he took a guard of soldiers with him but dismissed them the second day. We were all astounded Sunday evening by the apparition of Father driving up, we soon learned the cause of his coming, eight of the negroes had run away, and he had come back to offer a reward and take measures for their apprehension; five of them have been caught thus far. Father went on immediately to Millhaven and on his return on Monday delayed only to get dinner and then went on again. It was unexpected that the negroes should run away, one of them was one in whom Father placed great confidence, and he had sacrificed so much time and care to them all, that it sems very ungrateful. …

Thursday, Nov. 3rd.

Tuesday after we had been at school a few hours, one of the children at the window called out “There is Miss Kate Stone” I looked out and sure enough she was there and Lucy Seale with her, of course we could have no more school. Kate was on her way to Texas, Lucy stayed until Wednesday morning. She is so hard to entertain, seems restless and dull all the time and never manifests animation on any topic of conversation except that of “the beaus,” the day was a true November day, rainy and dark, in fact we have had nothing but clouds and dampness for the past week, today it has not rained, and has become much colder. Kate left this morning. I am afraid she will have a hard trip, the roads are so bad.

Father and Willie left Tuesday morning for Vienna, from there Willie is going on to Texas with the runaway negroes, poor fellow! he will have anything but an agreeable trip, especially in this weather, I am very much afraid he will be sick again. Father returned from Vienna last night. Father has had my little garden so such enlarged, it is now twice it’s former size, we have been attempting to lay it out this evening but have made but slow progress–

Tuesday, Nov. 15th. / 1864.

… Father received a note from Willie, dated a week ago Sunday at Shreveport, he was quite well and had carried all the negroes that far quite safely. I received a letter from Grandma and Lois last week, it was written in July, they were quite well. Also received one from Julia Compton, she had been sick but was then better.

February 3, 1865

… Our ambulance had gone to Texas to carry one of our servants, Mary, who wished to be with her husband who was at the iron works, so of course we had nothing to send. …