Listen to This Chilling Audio as Crowd at Boston Symphony Learns President Kennedy Is Dead

I had heard this recording years ago, but I didn’t know the backstory until now.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: So little to eat

Stone’s family struggled to maintain their upper-class lifestyle. But as refugees from Union-dominated Louisiana, their actual affluence was gone, and food was in short supply.

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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 bemoaned the strange situation her slaveholding family now faced: plenty of slave servants but little food for them to prepare. Despite the deprivations her family endured, they determined to maintain their upper-class lifestyle, as she wrote before, with “two fine cooks and two dining-room servants.”

She didn’t mention what, if anything, the slaves managed to eat.

Nov. 15, 1863

Tyler, Texas

I have been promoted to Mamma’s post as listener-in-chief to Mrs. Carson. She cannot bear to be alone and must have someone to talk to. Mrs. Carson does not enjoy talking to me as much as she does Mamma, but I am better than nobody.

Col. Buckner took tea the other evening. He is a tall, handsome, blond man with engaging manners and does not seem heartbroken over the death of his wife and children. People live so fast now. We have no time to mourn.

We certainly have plenty of servants to do our bidding, most of Mamma’s house servants and all Mrs. Carson’s, and that is about all we do have. So little to eat: biscuit for we can get plenty of flour; syrup made of sugar, for we have a hogshead of sugar; and rusty, rancid bacon, absolutely all the meat we have been able to buy, no eggs, chickens, milk, butter, or fresh meat, and not a vegetable. Nothing more to be bought.

It seems absurd to have two fine cooks and two dining-room servants and such fare. The Negroes never had so little to do in their lives. We will surely do better in the spring if we can get seed, a cow, and some hens. No fruit but black haws. They are fine, much better than the red haw of the swamp.

The Union candidates at the North are elected — and peace, blessed peace, [is] as far away as ever.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Pride must have a fall

Death, Yankee prisoners, pride grounded into nothing … Stone stared into a quiet Texas night with fear and sadness.

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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)

Death, Yankee prisoners, pride grounded into nothing … Stone stared into a quiet Texas night with fear and sadness.

Nov. 13, 1863

Tyler, Texas

This week Mrs. Carson, the little girls, and I are alone. Mamma has gone to Shreveport, taking Eddie Carson with her. Mr. Smith is again taken into the militia, thanks to Maj. Little’s dislike of refugees, and Mamma has gone to the headquarters of Gen. Kirby Smith to try to get a permanent discharge for Mr. Smith.

The turnout for the trip was essentially Texas: the high Jersey with white body and black curtains and two shaggy mules with shuck collars. It was anything but stylish. They say pride must have a fall, and ours has had many a tumble since we left home. How I hope Mamma will be able to buy a carriage this trip.

Jimmy has gone to the prairie to stay during Mr. Smith’s absence. He started off with a dreadful toothache, on a rough little mule. Hope he will return free of toothache and on a horse. We rode with him as far as the Yankee camp. Mamma had some business with the commanding officer, and we went out with her. A number of the prisoners escaped the other day, and the townspeople are very apprehensive of their burning the town. They put out guards every night, and they take turns in guarding the prisoners. One of the prisoners was shot yesterday for disobedience of orders. He died in a few hours. …

Death does not seem half so terrible as it did long ago. We have grown used to it. Never a letter but brings news of the death of someone we knew. Another girlhood friend off the list, but none do I regret like Kate Nailor, the first and best. …

Alone as we are tonight, I feel a little afraid of the escaped Yankees. So I will put out the light, pull the cover over my head, and go to sleep.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: A fear of bad news

Stone’s first standard for even considering spending a significant number of days anywhere in Texas was its number of Louisiana war refugees living nearby. Tyler, Texas, suited her just fine.

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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’s first standard for even considering spending a significant number of days anywhere in Texas was its number of Louisiana war refugees living nearby. Tyler, Texas, suited her just fine.

Note her anxiety over simply the possibility of receiving any news from the outside world. It made her “sick with apprehension.”

Nov. 7, 1863

There are some changes in our household. Mr. Kaiser has left us after his school left him. He has gone seven miles in the country to open another school. May it prove more successful than this attempt. We have forgiven him for his desertion of Jimmy. He cannot help being a coward. He remarked pathetically to Mrs. Carson, speaking of the big boys of the school, that he felt he was on the mouth of a volcano. We have no teacher and no prospect of one.

Mamma is speaking seriously of going on to live in Gilmore to put Jimmy in school, but I hope she will not. There are so many refugees here that we may like Tyler after a while, and the next school the boys may be able to attend. …

Several letters this week. One from Uncle Johnny at Austin. He secured his situation but says everything is very high, wood $40 a cord. A letter from Sarah Wadley just as they were leaving for Georgia. Hope they succeeded in running the blockade and crossing the river in safety.

I do not wish for letters. Have such a fear of bad news. The sight of a letter turns me sick with apprehension.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Credulous mortals

Stone and her brother still endured the hatred of Texas boys. She also despaired over the lack of news that reliably reported any Confederate victory.

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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 and her brother still endured the hatred of Texas boys. She also despaired over the lack of news that reliably reported any Confederate victory.

Nov. 1, 1863

Tyler, Texas

We are just from church. Jimmy, Johnny, and I did not go con amore. There are more pleasant things than toiling a mile through heavy sand, up hill and down dale too dark to see the road beneath you or the sky above, sitting for an hour listening to an indifferent sermon, and being gazed at by a battery of hostile eyes. Jimmy was determined to go, and I would go too, though he did not want me. Last night he and Johnny went alone, and during the services someone cut his bridle all to pieces and stole his martingale and blanket. A crowd of boys followed them after church, talking at them all the time. They know now the boys are armed and so did not attack them. The rowdies followed us tonight, and I saw them for the first time. They are real nice-looking lads. What a pity they are not gentlemen. Jimmy Carson is deeply mortified that he is compelled to desert a friend in need.

Miss Sally Grissman called to see us a short time ago. She is quite pretty, a Creole, piquante and petite. They are from Assumption Parish and have been here nearly a year. Mrs. Prentice from Joe’s Bayou and Mrs. Hull from St. Louis called yesterday. Mrs. Hull is a delightful little lady with the prettiest face and sweetest manner. Her husband is a colonel. He has just returned from Missouri. He went in to raise a regiment, of course in disguise, and brought out four hundred men, a most dangerous undertaking since it meant the death of a spy if he had been captured. Mr. and Mrs. Prentice have a house near town and Mrs. Hull boards with them. Mrs. Prentice begged me to come and stay some with her. Perhaps I shall.

Spent a day with Mrs. Levy lately. She is from New Orleans and has a large family of little children. Her husband and oldest son are in the Virginia Army. She is a good talker, a woman of the world, and a Jewess, but I think does not practice her religion. She was a Miss Moise from Charleston. …

The exhilarating news of the capture of [Union Maj. Gen. William] Rosecrans and his army proves to have been a canard. He has been heavily reinforced and is again in the field. What credulous mortals we be, believing all the good reports and distrusting all the bad until the truth is forced upon us. …