The Raid at Eutaw Plantation
Copied from the handwritten diary of Miss Anne Linton Sinkler written and signed by Miss Deas Frost Sinkler (Mrs. Artemus Elliot Darby)
For about a month there had been frequent reports that the Yankees were coming and finally one beautiful Sunday in April just as we were eating dinner one of the servants came rushing in to say there had been a fight a Eutaw Springs and the Yankees were coming.
We rushed to the front door and sure enough there were the blue coats coming up the avenue. My mother who was terrified sat at the head of the steps with the children grouped around her.
At the head of the column rode General Hartwell and his staff mounted on handsome horses; to our horror right behind drove in a buggy Mr. William Ravenel and his brother Dr. Rene Ravenel who was ill and too weak to walk and walking behind holding on to the buggy was Mr.[William] Mazyck Porcher [Uncle Mazyck] who they had made walk all the way from Mexico Plantation (after burning his home).
General Hartwell asked My Mother several question as to whether she had harbored scouts etc. then gave the order to dismount and in the twinkling of an eye the house and yard swarmed with black and white soldiers. They rushed all over the house ostensibly looking for firearms, opening bureau drawers and wardrobe throwing the things on the floor; the ones in the yard chasing chickens, shooting the ducks and turkeys, and beautiful peacocks screaming and yelling at the pitch of their voices; taking the meat out of the smoke house and throwing it into our four mule wagon.
By that time hundred of negroes from neighboring plantations had gathered and rushed madly around whooping and screaming many of them drunk. As Mauma [Edy Rivers] said "truly dis is judgment day".
The negroes and soldiers found many things we had buried and were pounding the china to pieces with the butts of their guns, pouring out rice, flour, molasses.
The General stayed in the house eating and drinking the best of everything while all we had to eat was what Mauma smuggled into the house for us and when they rode away on Tuesday there was not a morsel of food left on the place or in the house except a bowl of white sugar on the dinning table which we were crazy to eat as we had not had any for months, but Mauma was afraid it was poisoned and hastily poured it out on the ground.
Mr. Porcher and Ravenels were put in the wing rooms and I would go to the end of the piazza and talk to them until the surgeon Dr. Brown who seemed very nice advised me to go in and stay with my mother for some of the men were drinking.
General Hartwell said to me I must play very well to play the music he saw there and asked me to play for him. I thought I was being very heroic and fine when I drew myself up and said "no indeed you will never hear me play".
On Tuesday afternoon they went off the band playing and followed by hundreds of negroes.
Imagine my feelings when I saw my pet pony Doctor ridden off by a big black negro dressed in my only silk skirt and riding side ways on my English saddle.
Out of 300 negroes on the place only three men and faithful old Mauma were left and as we gazed around on the scene of desolation and destruction, burned fences, dead poultry, all on the yard the litter from the feeding of the horses, broken china, fragments of clothing, we felt that indeed the end of everything had come.