Rachel Cormany was originally born in Canada but moved to Chambersburg with her husband, Samuel, during the war. She began writing in her diary well before the war. Her diary entries for the war years vividly describe her life as a woman on the home front. Alone while her husband served in the Union Army, Rachel often complained of depression and boredom. After the war, the Cormanys moved to Missouri to live on a farm.
Here's an excerpt from her diary dated June 23, 1863:
"I packed my trunk last evening ready to start to Phil'dia not knowing whether I could get away or not--went to bed at midnight & slept well till after six this morning. I expected to find the town full of rebels but not a rebel could I see--none had come--So after breakfast I took Cora on my arms & started out for a walk. met Mrs Clippinger at her door, asked her to go along for a walk, so we walked on until we saw where our men threw up breastworks but did not go near enough to examine them. Met quite a number of people (men & boys) going out as we came in9--we sat down by the roadside & rested a little while then started on. just as we got to the edge of town or near it--two men came riding in fast as their horses could go--one said "The d--d buggers fired on us. the other looked as pale as death his mouth wide open--his hat lost--he was too badly frightened to speak. They me a few of our Cavalry at the edge of town--they whirled & put off. I got a little frightened when those two men made so ugly & the cavalry men warned us to go into the houses, looking so fierce with their hands on the gun triggers ready to shoot--all at once I got so weak I could scarcely walk, but that was over in a few minutes & I could walk faster than before. The people were wonderfully frightened again, such a running. The streets were full--It was not long until the reb's really made their appearance--I do not think that they are Cav. but mounted infantry--they most of them have nothing but a musket to fight with. They rode in as leisurely as you please each one having his hand on the trigger though, to fire any minute--now I judge we are shut out again for awhile--I just wonder what they want this time. They are part of those that were here last week. P.M. just ate a piece & fed my baby--both of us took a good nap after our walk. Evening--The Reb's have been cutting up high. Sawed down telegraph poles, destroyed the scotland bridge10 again took possession of the warehouses & were dealing out flour by the barrel & mollasses by the bucket ful--They made people take them bread--meat--&c to eat--Some dumb fools carried them jellies & the like--Not a thing went from this place.11 Three canno went through when they came--but just now they took them back. wonder what that means again. from 7 to 15 thousand infantry are expected on tonight. they are reported to be at Greencastle by a man just from there. Well whatever betides us the good Lord is able to protect us. And He will protect us. Old Plough wanted Annie to go with him to the country but she would not go & leave me here alone. That was mean in Plough. Annie told me herself--It shows what a great heart he has."
Now, here was a gutsy woman!!!
Copyright M. A. Webb, 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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