Anna Hasell Thomas (1828–1908), the oldest daughter of Edward Thomas (1800–1840) and Jane Marshall Gaillard (1802–1868), was probably born on Edisto Island where he father was rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. She moved to New York with her mother around 1855, and eventually settled in Brooklyn where she lived until her death.
This brief, sixteen page diary spans July 1864 through May 1865 and describes several months preceding and following end of Civil War, relates the illness and death of her sister, Cornelia Gaillard Thomas (1833–1864); the trip from their home in New York City for South Carolina on board the steamer, Arago; their arrival at Charleston harbor and passing through the Union blockade; details of crossing enemy lines on land, with an escort by Union soldiers, including African American troops, and meeting with Confederate soldiers; travel from Charleston with her sister’s body, through Columbia, S.C., to Ridgeway (Fairfield County, S.C.), and burial of her sister. Later entries discuss rumors of Sherman’s arrival, and her account of 21 February 1865, the day Union soldiers filled her family home, Mt. Hope, and removed meat, livestock and valuables; the diary concludes with her return trip through the burned ruins of Columbia, S.C., food shortages in Charleston, meeting formerly enslaved individuals who had worked for her family, and her arrival in New York with the city in deep mourning for the assassination of President Lincoln.