Kate Stone’s Civil War: Season of general disaster

Sudden deaths shock Stone and break her heart. All optimism of the past year is shattered.

KS8

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)

Sudden deaths shock Stone and break her heart. All optimism of the past year is shattered.

Dec. 10, 1864

Tyler, Texas

Dear little Beverly, that angel upon earth, has left us. The pure spirit has winged its way to its Heavenly home. Darling little Beverly. What a sad despairing letter her father wrote bearing the bitter news of her death. They are utterly heartbroken. She was the one great treasure of their lives. The pure little spirit is freed now, but all the sunshine of life to them lies buried in that tiny grave. She died October 2 of sore throat at Selma, Ala. She was the one perfect being I have ever known in face, in figure, in mind, in heart not one improvement could be suggested. We have several times heard people who were not related to her say, after playing with her, “That child will not live to grow up; she is too perfect.” That seemed to be the general feeling of all their friends in Vicksburg who had known her always. She was too fair and frail a flower to blossom in this time of death and destruction. … There was never a sweeter, lovelier little creature than our “Swamp Lily,” as she loved us to call her. May Our Father comfort and strengthen her poor mother, for her life is bound up in the child’s.

We were shocked and distressed to hear of Mary Gustine’s death. We were there on one Thursday and she died on Sunday. Her mother seemed a little anxious, but no one else thought her much ill. A noble, generous, and beautiful woman, she was one of our most valued friends. This is the first break in the circle of happy girls who erstwhile met at Brokenburn. Her mother, who is in wretched health, will continue to live with Capt. Buckner, and she and Ella will take charge of the baby. That family is utterly broken up — one brother in prison and another desperately wounded — and not a month ago they were congratulating themselves on how wonderfully they had escaped all sorrow in this season of general disaster and despair.

Truly, “We know not what a day may bring forth.”

Author: Fernando Ortiz Jr.

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

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