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.
Stone at last confirms the Confederate defeat at Vicksburg, three weeks later. She and her mother worry about the vulnerability of Texas to Union forces. More immediately, they’re worried for their family. If Texas is invaded, how much farther west should they go to escape emancipating Union forces? In Stone’s mind, Robert E. Lee is the only Confederate commander that still holds the torch of hope for final victory.
As Stone bemoans the lack of decent shoes, she gets in one more dig at barefooted Texan women.
July 29, 1863
Lamar County, Texas
Vicksburg is taken without a doubt. If our men had held out only one day longer, they might have been relieved, as Gen. Johnston fought the enemy the following day, in ignorance of the fall of the city, taking 5,000 prisoners and winning a decided victory. But that is not an offset to the 20,000 of our men said to have been captured at Vicksburg. How has the mighty fallen, and to give up on the Fourth of July to make it even worse. We wish they could have held on at least one day longer, but we know nothing of the hardships our soldiers have endured there in the last eight months. We are satisfied, however, that the Confederate soldiers held on as long as possible. The fall of Vicksburg makes us tremble for Texas. She can be invaded from so many points that Mamma knows not where to look for a place of greater safety.
Our only hope is in Lee the Invincible. If he has only taken Washington or Philadelphia as we hear he has, we can stand the loss of our Gibraltar, but to lose it and gain nothing in return is insupportable. We will hope for the best. May God defend the right. …
Mamma has been sick since her return. … Tomorrow we are going up to Paris with Mr. Smith to see if Mamma can get him off from militia duty. He is drafted to go off on Wednesday for six month’s service. We do not see how Mamma can get on without him, and so she is anxious to get him detailed. Mrs. Smith is also anxious to get him off, but their eagerness is as nothing to Mr. Smith’s. I never saw a man with such a dread of the army.
The fruit that Mamma and Mr. Smith collected on their journey and they were most thoughtful is just out. We did so enjoy it. Our fare is not of the best. Mamma bought me a pair of $25 shoes, but unfortunately I cannot wear them. Not anything of a fit, and I must still cling to my calfskin chaussures, homeknit stockings, and brogans, something different from the lace-like clock stockings and French slippers of the olden times. I miss nice things for my feet now more than anything. I feel so slovenly with these horrors on exhibition. But a truce to complaints. I might be dight out in a large hoop and bare feet.