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.
In the absence of hard facts or updated news from the battlefields, rumors of all kinds were rampant.
Sept. 1, 1863
“Elysian Fields,” Lamar County, Texas
A letter from Jimmy at Jefferson [Texas] on the thirty-first of July, just as he was leaving for Navasota. It is almost time for his return, and Mamma is anxious for him to get back. She wants the wagons to move the Negroes before they hear that the Yankees are coming in from the North, as it is rumored, and before they have a chance to make a break for the Federal lines again.
There are quite a number of Yankee prisoners at Tyler, captured while in command of black troops. It does seem like they ought to be hanged, and they are so impudent too. The detestable creatures!
There is a rumor that Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee have applied for admission into the Union again. Of course, we know it is a base fabrication, but many of the natives believe it firmly. They will believe anything against Louisiana. They seem to hate that state, and we would not give one Louisiana parish for half of Texas.
Our pet rumor is again in the air that France, Spain, and England have recognized the Confederacy. Oh, that it were true. …
We hear that Mrs. White, from whom we rented books and also bought one or two, has leprosy. It makes us shiver to think of it, and our handling her things and Patsy nursing her. We can only hope it is another big story, as it is too late to take precautions.
Jimmy is back after an absence of seven weeks, and now as soon as we can collect up our scattered goods and chattels we will be off to fresh fields and pastures new. …
The Federals made only a short stay at Monroe, but were busy at the work of destruction. Would like to know how our friends have fared.
Our high hopes of recognition by the European powers are again dashed to the ground. If they just would not start such rumors, raising expectations only to be disappointed.
We paid a three-day visit to Mrs. Slaughter up in the famous Union neighborhood, Honey Grove, where they say there is only one Confederate family. There, everyone you talk to says of course we will be conquered. In Louisiana one rarely heard such an idea expressed.
We attended a large Baptist meeting in the vicinity several times. The interest and excitement were intense. There were often fifty mourners crowded around the altar and the church crowded to suffocation. Never saw so many men in church before, and we have not seen so many men at one time since the war commenced, unless they were soldiers in uniform. The scene at night was most striking: the anxious, excited faces, crowding and surging around the altar; the exalted, earnest mien of the minister; the groans and shrieks and wild prayers of the mourners, mingling with the shouts and hallelujahs of the newly professed; while high over all rises the thunder of a triumphant hymn, borne on many voices. In the background gleam the eager, curious faces of the lookers-on, row on row.
A scene to thrill and interest anyone, but I must take my religion more quietly. It was a country-looking congregation with a sprinkling of nice people. Short dresses, large hoops, and top-knotted sun-bonnets, the style.