Dawson's visit to Linwood was extended after she was thrown from a horse in November 1862 and spent months incapacitated by a back injury. The federal assault on the Confederate stronghold at Port Hudson in July 1863, however, forced the Morgan women to make a final exodus to occupied New Orleans, where they joined the household of Dawson's half-brother and Unionist sympathizer Judge Philip Hicky Morgan. While in his home, Dawson received news of the death of her brothers, Gibbes and George, in February 1864.
Life after the Civil War
Without an independent fortune, Dawson spent the late 1860s as a dependent in Philip Morgan's household. In May 1872, Dawson and her mother moved to South Carolina to make their home with Sarah's younger brother, James. In an effort to support herself, Dawson accepted an editorial position at the Charleston News and Courier, and throughout 1873, she wrote a series of editorials on the plight of young, single women in the postwar South. In 1874, Dawson married the newspaper's editor, Englishman Francis Warrington Dawson. The couple had three children: Ethel in 1874, Warrington in 1878, and Philip Hicky in 1881. Philip died at six months of age. After her husband's murder in 1889, Dawson again turned to her pen for survival, publishing a series of short stories and translations of French literary works. In 1899, Dawson moved to Paris with her son Warrington, where she published Les Aventures de Jeannot Lapin, a French version of the Brer Rabbit stories, in 1903. She died in Paris on May 5, 1909.
Though Dawson originally asked that her six-volume diary be destroyed upon her death, she later willed it to her son Warrington. In 1913, he arranged to have the first four volumes published as A Confederate Girl's Diary. The diary was later edited by Charles East and published in its entirety in 1991. Dawson's correspondence with her future husband, Francis Warrington Dawson, has also been published.