March 22: We have had an exciting time since the last date. Two Yankees came out Friday guided by John Graves and carried off my horse Wonka in spite of all we could do.
Wonka was racing around the yard, glad to be at liberty after being tied out so long, when two most villainous-looking Yankees rode up to the gallery where we three ladies and the two children were standing. They had pistols in their hands and proposed a “swap” but we all refused of course and begged them not to take the horse. Mamma even offered to pay the price for him, but the greatest villain of the two refused bluntly and worked himself into a towering rage while the other, the smooth villain, galloped off to catch the horse. I called to one of the Negroes to open the gate, thinking it would give Wonka a chance to escape, but as they seemed afraid I ran to do it myself. When the wretch called to me impudently to stop, I did not notice him but threw the gate open. He then dashed up with the pistol pointed at my head (I thought I had never seen such bright caps) and demanded in the most insolent tone how I dared to open a gate when he ordered it shut. I looked at him and ran on to open the other gate. Just then Mamma called to me that they had caught the horse, and as I turned to go in the house the man cursed and said, “I had just as soon kill you as a hoppergrass.” I was not frightened but I was furiously angry and would have been glad to have seen him lying dead. And I never saw Mamma so angry. Aunt Laura took it more calmly, and the little girls were frightened. Johnny was sick with fever. In five minutes the man had changed saddles and was riding my prancing, beautiful pet gaily off, leaving in his place a pack of animated bones, covered with sorrel skin. Some one said it was an old horse taken from Mr. Noland.
I cried the rest of the day and half of the night. We had had the horse tied out in the cane for days, and not ten minutes before the men came, Webster brought him up and said that he would die if he was kept tied up where the mosquitoes could get to him any longer. So I told Webster to turn him in the yard and went out to see, and I never saw him look finer. At that moment the Negroes called from the kitchen that the Yankees were coming, and in a minute they were dashing up to the gallery and in ten minutes more were racing away on my horse….
This country is in a deplorable state. The outrages of the Yankees and Negroes are enough to frighten one to death. The sword of Damocles in a hundred forms is suspended over us, and there is no escape. The water hems us in. The Negroes on Mrs. Stevens’, Mr. Conley’s, Mr. Catlin’s, and Mr. Evans’ places ran off to camp and returned with squads of soldiers and wagons and moved off every portable thing – furniture, provisions, etc., etc. A great many of the Negroes camped at Lake Providence have been armed by the officers, and they are a dreadful menace to the few remaining citizens. The country seems possessed by demons, black and white.