Appleton-Aiken family papers  1812-1900
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This journal (39 pages) recounts the author's trip from New York City to Cuba in February and March 1864. The first section of the volume consists of diary entries written between February 20, 1864, and March 5, 1864; these are followed by additional recollections written in July 1864 and March 1865. The addendums cover the dates March 2, 1864, to March 13, 1864. The final page contains a list of acquaintances made during the trip.

During her voyage to Cuba on the steamer Morning Star , the author commented on cold weather, fellow passengers, and leisure activities, which included a concert featuring African-American songs. The traveler and her companions arrived in Havana on February 26; while there, she described the city's harbor, architecture, vegetation, cuisine, and landmarks, such as Havana Cathedral and various sites devoted to Christopher Columbus. The author also remarked on women who attended church with their slaves (who carried and prepared mats for their owners to kneel on) and on a visit to the estate of Count Fernandino.

The party spent the second part of their trip in Matanzas, which the author compared unfavorably to Havana. The diary contains a description of a sugar plantation. While visiting the country, the author saw a chain gang repairing roads (p. 28) and an ancient Indian altar (p. 31). One hotel was filled with Confederate sympathizers who, much to the author's annoyance, celebrated the Confederate cause, believing the Morning Star 's delayed arrival to be an indication of a Confederate victory. The diary concludes with a discussion of the author's return voyage to New York, where she arrived on or around March 13, 1864.

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