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.
As the beauty of Texas spring blossoms all around Stone’s home, so too does her optimism for eventual victory.
May 5, 1864
What glorious news we have tonight and have been having for a month! First, [Union Gen. Nathaniel P.] Banks with his insolent boasts and vainglorious columns, waving banners and beating drums to the easy conquest of Texas, is met at glorious Mansfield and Pleasant Hill [La.] by our brave soldiers and meets only defeat and disgrace.
[Banks] has been flying ever since with our victorious troops, who in hot pursuit press on, striking blow after blow on his disorganized forces and capturing men, wagons, and stores left behind in the hasty retreat. He is in Alexandria now, in the shadow of his gunboats for a little breathing space. Many of his invincible fleet have been destroyed. Then in Arkansas we have had a succession of victories, and now Gen. [Frederick] Steele is trying to cut his way through the fiery circle of rebels who surround him. And what quantities of stores of all kinds we have captured! Banks and Steele are our commissary and quartermaster now. All ours can go to fighting. The battle of Mansfield was fought on the day appointed for National fasting and prayer.
What a cry of gratitude has gone up to God for our victories. This whole country is in a state of delighted surprise, and as telegram after telegram comes announcing some new success, we can hardly believe our good fortune. Every face is bright with the good tidings. How splendidly our men have fought and how many gallant spirits have fallen. Four generals have fallen in the last month and hosts of lesser officers, greater in proportion than the loss of privates. God bless them all. They are an army of heroes. And from the other side of the river, victory answers to victory. Gen. Forrest is doing noble work in Tennessee and Kentucky. We hear tonight he has recaptured Memphis. … Everywhere Victory is perching on our banners and Peace, an honorable Peace, must be near. …
I have taken up the trade of glovemaking from buckskins. Have made a pair for Jimmy and have several others on hand. I make them with large gauntlets and embroidered backs for my favorites. …
The wild flowers are in profusion on every hillside and lovely blue wild violets in the hollows.