From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.
Kate Stone’s rage over Northern victories burned bright over the general landscape of depression she inhabited. Youth, family, happiness, and hope all seemed to be mere memories of an antebellum existence lost forever.
May 2, 1863
Near Monroe, La.
We have been comfortably domiciled here since Tuesday. It is indeed a delightful change from Mr. Deane’s, that musty room and uneatable fare. This is a large roomy but unfurnished house, a kind, pleasant family, and excellent fare — an oasis in the desert. The mother, Mrs. Wadley, two grown daughters, a grown son, and two or three younger children make up the family at home. Col. Wadley is on the other side of the river. They are railroad people. Aunt Laura is boarding just across the road from us, and there is a young lady, Carrie Young, and a grown son in that house. Then, there are quite a number of young people in walking distance. There is no dearth of company, but I cannot enjoy it. I feel out of place with a party of gay young people. Their mirth jars my heart. Life seems too sad a thing to spend in talking nonsense. I feel fifty years old.
The two Miss Dawsons from Madison Parish seem to be the belles of the country. They refugeed out here some time ago and are enjoying themselves exceedingly. Their house is a favorite resort for the officers, and the girls are out riding and walking with some of them every day. Fannie Dawson is beautiful, accomplished, and fascinating, we hear.
Bad news from the Negroes at the salt works. Jeffrey is dead and several others are very sick. The three whose wives are on the river ran away but were caught. Mamma and Johnny with a new overseer and his wife started to the salt works yesterday. She will start all the Negroes who are able to travel at once to Texas. We will perhaps go to Homer [La.].
The news from Mississippi is bad. The Yankees are making raids through the state, cutting off supplies from Vicksburg. … The panic here has subsided though the authorities are still moving government stores from Monroe. …
I have been hard at work ever since coming here slewing on the goods Mamma bought from Mrs. Lowry. We need so many things that it is hard to decide what to make first. Mamma bought a lot of linen sheets from Mrs. Lowry, and I am making them into underclothes, thick and strong. They should last until the war is over. …
[New York Tribune editor] Horace Greeley’s son was out at Mr. Curry’s place on a stealing expedition last week. When reading the Tribune two years ago and abusing Greeley for his vile slanders of the South, we never thought any of his kith or kin would ever be that near Brokenburn. Such are the chances of war. We did not think any of Mr. Greeley’s relations would be in the war. “He doth protest too much,” though he does write of it as a Holy Crusade. Do you think it wicked to wish that one of our enemies may be killed as a punishment for his father’s sins?