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Kate Stone’s Civil War: Southern hearts

June 27, 2013

KS21

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.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone mourned the loss of Stonewall Jackson at the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, calling him a “peerless general and Christian soldier.”

May 23, 1863

Near Monroe, La.

Aunt Laura was quite ill while Mamma was away, and I felt the responsibility of taking care of her. She is now much better. Mamma had two fevers, and we were very afraid it would go into a long low fever. She is quite prone to have that in the spring, but fortunately she has escaped a return of it. Sarah, Mary Wadley, and I went last afternoon to call on the Misses Compton and Stacey. We went in Mamma’s famous Jersey wagon, and it is a ramshackled affair with the seats and most of the bottom dropped down. We had a merry ride and concluded that a frame, a tongue, two mules, and a driver were the only essentials in a vehicle. … Walking through the pine woods, we saw wild flowers in such profusion. The air is so fragrant that it is a pleasure to breathe it. …

The news from Mississippi is bad. Gen. Grant with an army of 120,000 men is in the rear of Vicksburg. He has possession of Jackson, and much of the city has been burned. There has been a battle near Raymond in which we were said to have been routed because of Gen. [John C.] Pemberton’s disregard of orders. We drove them out of Jackson once, but we cannot hear whether they retook it after a battle or whether our forces withdrew. We will not be discouraged. …

In the death of Stonewall Jackson [at the Battle of Chancellorsville] we have lost more than many battles. We have lost the conqueror on a dozen fields, the greatest general on our side. His star has set in the meridian of its glory, and he is lost to his country at the time when she needs him most. As long as there is a Southern heart, it should thrill at the name of Stonewall Jackson, our peerless general and Christian soldier. His death has struck home to every heart. …

May 24

Mamma and I went over yesterday after tea to see Capt. and Mrs. Harper. They are also on their way to Texas. Capt. Harper was one of the party at home on Christmas Eve, and my last ride on Wonka was to invite the gentlemen in camp over to Brokenburn.

We were glad to meet his little daughter Sophie Harper, Mr. Valentine’s grandchild. Both of the Mr. Valentines talked so much about her. She is a bright, attractive child and bears a striking resemblance to her Uncle Mark in features, gesture, and expression. They say old Mr. Valentine is so overwrought by his losses … that it is feared he will lose his mind. He escaped from his place a few days after we left entirely alone in a boat with only a few clothes. The Negroes came and stripped the place of everything while he was on it and were exceedingly insolent to him, threatening all the time to kill him. He is quite an elderly man and cannot stand hardships like younger people. …

May 26

Mamma is staying tonight with Mrs. Young whose little girl Alice is sick unto death. Johnny, who by the way could not overtake Mr. Smith, and Mamma went into Monroe this morning trying to buy a wagon and carriage but failed to get either. So we must … wait here until we can get conveyances, and we could not ask for a more delightful stopping place or kinder hosts. Such a haven of rest after the trouble and anxiety of the last three months. We have put away troubles and distress for a time as a wayworn traveler lays down his burden when he stops to rest, enjoying the coolness and verdure, though he knows the burden must be lifted and he must journey on through toil and pain to the end.

How I dread being secluded on some remote farm in Texas, far away from all we know and love and unable to get news of any kind. It is a terrifying prospect.

I am busy sewing most of the time. We will soon be through all our clothes — just a white barege dress of Carrie’s to alter for myself and Mamma intends making a black velvet hat for me. Then, all our pressing needs will be gratified. …

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2 Comments
  1. You have got quite a collection of articles on the Civil War. I look forward to getting better acquainted. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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