Mixed Marriages Don’t Work – So Don’t Marry a Yankee… (Part 9) by Bill Vallante
Rose Russell, a runaway slave who served as a nurse in the Union Army, and who tendered distinguished service to that army, made the mistake of marrying someone from “the other side” when the war was over. While the couple produced 9 children, the long term results were inevitable. They say that “love is blind” and they say that it can “conquer all” – but a Yank marrying Reb is truly a “Lost Cause”!
Rose Russell, Mississippi – Union Nurse, (The Slave Narratives)
On a wisteria covered porch of a little cottage at 819 Main St. lives a very enteresting character, by the name of Rose Russell, a Cival War Nurse who is now about ninty eight years of age, and was a volenteer nurse of the War between the States.
Rose has just received and accepted an engraved invitation to the Encampment that is to be at Gettysburg Pa. on June the 27th and she has made all of her plans to make the long trip with an attendant. Rose as a slave acted as nurse, cook, laundress and garden maker until the war and it was in the dark days just before the seige of Vicksburg that a scout for the Union Army was looking for nurses to care for wounded soldiers on the battlefield that Rose as a slave volenteered her services to go. At first the Officer refused her offer saying she was too small and delicate to go, but as he had such a hard time getting real able bodied women to go and nurse, He finally after much pleading on her part he said alright you may go, and she went and was duly registered in the medical corps as a Volenteer Nurse in the United States Army. She does not know how long she served but she says it seemed about a year and a half. She does know that she suffered cold, hunger, went without sleep and suffered a good deal of fear during that time…
…It was long after the war was over that Rose married Tom Russell, a man who had been a soldier with his marster and who was still true to the cause of his marster. Altho nine children were born to this union they never got along as he would call her a "Yankee" and she would call him a "Reb" finally they parted and she does not know where he went to. Now all of her children are dead except one her youngest Son Lee Russell who lives with her. Lee is about sixty years old, and it is to him that she has to depend on on to help her around the house, to carry her for walks and to drive her around in their little car.
***His master’s wife, being northern-born, Herndon Bogan’s father apparently had some difficulty in distinguishing a yankee from someone who was simply born in the north. And the thought of spending a long war cooped up with a “yankee woman”? – well, that just wouldn’t fly!?
Herndon Bogan, North Carolina (The Slave Narratives)
"My daddy wus gived ter de doctor when de doctor wus married an’ dey shore loved each other. One day marster, he comes in an’ he sez dat de Yankees am aimin’ ter try ter take his niggers way from him, but dat dey am gwine ter ketch hell while dey does hit. When he sez dat he starts ter walkin’ de flo’. ‘I’se gwine ter leave yore missus in yore keer, Edwin,’ he sez.
"But pa ‘lows, ‘Wid all respec’ fer yore wife sar, she am a Yankee too, an’ I’d ruther go wid you ter de war. Please sar, massa, let me go wid you ter fight dem Yanks.’ "At fust massa ‘fuses, den he sez, ‘All right,’ So off dey goes ter de war, massa on a big hoss, an’ my pap on a strong mule ‘long wid de blankets an’ things….
…"Dey tells me dat ole massa got shot one night, an’ dat pap grabs de gun ‘fore hit hits de earth an’ lets de Yanks have hit….
…"I ‘members dat dem wus bad days fer South Carolina, we gived all o’ de food ter de soldiers, an’ missus, eben do’ she has got some Yankee folks in de war. I’arns ter eat cabbages an’ kush an’ berries.
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