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Dolly Lunt Burge
A Woman's Wartime Journal: an Account of the Passage over Georgia's Plantation of Sherman's Army on the March to the Sea, as Recorded in the Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt (Mrs. Thomas Burge)
New York: The Century Co., 1918.


Dolly Sumner Lunt was born in Bowdoinham, Maine in 1817. Although she was related to the fierce abolitionist, Charles Sumner, she moved south to Covington, Georgia to join her recently married sister. While teaching school in the area, Lunt met and married Thomas Burge, and she settled into life on his plantation. Her husband passed away in 1858, and Mrs. Burge managed the affairs of the plantation herself during the Civil War.

Burge begins her diary, A Woman's Wartime Journal, published in 1918, by voicing her anxiety about the approach of General Sherman's Northern army on January 1, 1864. While she worries over the arrival of Sherman's troops and their habit of pillaging and burning everything in their path, she records stories of visits by local raiders posing as U.S. soldiers and the sleepless nights she has spent watching fires on the horizon. Despite Burge's efforts to hide her valuable possessions, which include sending her mules into the woods, dividing her stores of meat among the slaves, and burying the silver, the passing Union troops raid her house and plantation, taking her slaves with them. They also set fire to cotton bales in her barn. The blaze burns out before spreading, so Burge's property is largely spared the widespread destruction suffered by neighboring plantations. In Burge's last entries, dated December 1865, she writes optimistically about the recovery of her farm, her new sharecropping system, and the first cheerful Christmas in years.

Harris Henderson
Armistead Lemon

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