"What is my crime?"

Eugenia Levy Phillips (1819 – 1902). Prison diary, August 30, 1861. Philip Phillips Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Again I ask myself what is my crime?

If an ardent attachment to the land of my birth, and the expression of deepest sympathy with my relatives and friends in the South, constitute treason—then am I indeed a traitor—! If hostility to Black Republicanism, its sentiments, and policy—is a crime—I am self condemned—! If detestation of this unholy war, inaugurated by party lust—is deserving punishment, then am I worthy of its severest penalties—! and thus suffering, I would shout Hosannas for the glorious cause of southern independence.

Although my heart sickens and the future looks dark, some indefinable emotion, whispers courage and promises that the day of reckoning will soon come.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.