Kate Stone’s Civil War: A charming little woman

Stone’s visitors brought her gloomy confirmation that the Northern states hardly felt the effects of a war that brought so much devastation and deprivation to her once-luxurious life.

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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 visitors brought her gloomy confirmation that the Northern states hardly felt the effects of a war that brought so much devastation and deprivation to her once-luxurious life.


Dec. 19, 1863

Tyler, Texas

Mamma, Mrs. Carson, and the little girls are off looking for a house to rent for Mrs. Savage. They are now on their way to Tyler and wish to have a house rented by their arrival. They expect to reach here by Christmas, and we will all be overjoyed to have them again as neighbors. We have not seen them for just a year. If Julia could come too, we would be pleased. She keeps us in kind remembrance. She has just sent me “the Rebel headress” and some visiting cards. Texas will not seem so desolate with old friends around us.

It has been intensely cold for some days, but the norther has at last blown itself away. We went out this morning to see Mrs. Prentice, fearing she has been lonely. We found Mrs. Hull and Mrs. Clark with her. Mrs. Hull is just back from Shreveport, going there to meet some St. Louis friends lately banished from the state. They say there is no prospect of peace. The North is more prosperous than ever before. Traveling through the states, one would hardly know there was a war going on. How different from our own suffering country. Mrs. Hull is a charming little woman. I would like to know her well. Mrs. Levy and Mrs. Wells beg us to come out and stay some with them, but we have not the heart to visit now, only to see some refugee in trouble. Refugees must be good to each other. …

We are sewing and reading some dull, dry books. Mamma spent nearly a thousand dollars while in Shreveport buying clothes, five or six dresses. Everything is so enormously high … a velvet mantle or poplin dress cannot be bought for less than $1,500. She did not indulge in one of those.

Author: Fernando Ortiz Jr.

Handsome gentleman scholar, Civil War historian, unpretentious intellectual, world traveler, successful writer.

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