The name of my mother, Mrs. E. S. Scott of Camden, may be very properly enrolled among the number of those who loved and suffered for the South. Though she was mercifully spared the crowning blow which fell upon so many other mothers, whose brave sons gave up their lives in the struggle, yet she worked faithfully and spent many an hour of keen suspense and shed many bitter tears during those four long years. At first, she was opposed to sucession, on account of the terrors of war, but when Virginia, her native state, and Arkansas, her home state, went out of the Union, Mother went too, and when my brothers took up arms against the North she was ready with heart and tongue, pen and prayers, to further the cause. She was naturally of a bright and cheery disposition, especially fond of the society of young people, and once she laughingly said, "I might have stayed young always and never had to wear glasses, if it had not been for Abe Lincoln and his war making me shed so many tears and read by tallow candles."
With the other ladies of Camden she was daily to be found sewing for the soldiers, knitting socks or rolling bandages. In a letter, dated August 15, 1861, she writes as follows: "We have a Soldiers' Aid society and are working constantly. We are determined to sustain our soldiers as far as we are able, to work for them, pray for them, and if the worst comes, we will burn up our houses and sweep the earth literally and die, but we will give up our fair and beautiful land."
O! that victory at Manassas! The God of Isreal was and is, our God. Glory be to His holy name!" Early in the war the regiment to which my brothers belonged were engaged east of the Mississippi river, and in order to be near them my mother went to Gainesville, Ala., where she lived the greater part of the time until the surrender. Then she began to work for the soldiers in a way very near to her heart. There was a Confederate military hospital in the town, under the charge of Dr. Randolph Brunson, late of Pine Bluff, and I well remember how enthusiastically she took up the work of nursing the sick and wounded soldiers. It was very hard to procure good brandy and nourishing food, but she always managed in some way to get the very best in the hospital stores for her special patients. At one time we had three sick soldiers in our house, of whom she had entire care. One was my oldest brother, Capt. Frank T Scott, who had some serious eye trouble; another was Lieut. McLaughlin, with a shattered leg, and the third was a young Virginian, A P Bierne, midshipman in the Confederate navy, suffering from the results of exposure, which threatened consumption.
During the summer of 1863, my mother was in Yazoo City, Miss., where the cannonading at Vicksburg could be plainly heard. My younger brother, Capt. C C Scott, was in the besieged city, and it was a time of great anxiety to my mother. Some of the days when the cannonading was constant she would often say, "It may be that shot has killed my boy." Then again, on a day when all was still there would come the fear that the city had surrendered and she would almost long to hear again the roar of the cannon.
In Yazoo City the court house was used as a military hospital, and I can remember going there with mother and seeing the sick men on cots even out in front on the sidewalk. One day the news came that Federal troops were entering the city, and mother was greatly distressed to see the pale, emaciated men put into rude conveyances and hurried away for fear of capture.
Soon after the surrender we returned to our home near Camden where for a year or two afterward mother still had a soldier to care for. This was a one-armed Confederate, who began to build up his fortune as a farmer, and who had the misfortune to break two fingers on his only hand. For several months it was her self-appointed task to dress and care for his crippled hand, and sometimes with eyes so misty with tears that she could scarcely see how to apply the dressings properly. She was more fortunate than many mothers in this, that both of her sons were spared to return home and be a comfort to her for the 11 years that she lived after the war closed, and when at last she came to the end of her pilgrimage she was ready to lay down the burden she had borne so patiently and her beautiful, faithful and gentle life will ever remain an inspiration, not only to her children, but to all who ever came within the sphere of her influence.
Few people living now have any idea what heroism it required to be a Confederate mother. They lived in a state of constant apprehension, fear of death or wounds to their soldier boys at the front and fear of starvation and rags for the little ones at home. Every strange face and every letter brought a chill to the heart. Eagerly they listened for news from the front, though at the same time dreading to hear what was oftener bad news than good. They toiled and slaved and comforted each other during the day, but at night while their little ones slept, their pillows were wet with tears as they wept and prayed with none but the great God to listen to their sobbing.