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Kate Stone’s Civil War: Our soldiers were powerless

February 1, 2015

KS10

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)

Foreign recognition, a cease-fire, slave emancipation: Stone captures the desperate rumors in the air as the Confederacy falls to its knees.

Feb. 1, 1865

Tyler, Texas

An occasional letter from Jimmy. He had just returned from our old home near the river. How strange it seems for the boys to be going home and wandering at will over the whole country, not a Yankee to be seen. The army worms were our best allies. They made the enemy abandon the country when our soldiers were powerless to drive them off. There are rumors of an armistice, recognition by the powers, and emancipation of the slaves.

Raining today. Could not start Jimmy’s boy back. Jimmy must think Henry is never coming. Have nearly finished Jimmy Carson’s gloves. His hands are none of the smallest and knitting the gloves has been a task.

Have been reading the life of Stonewall Jackson. He was worthy to be idolized by all classes as he is. Have just finished The Hour and the Man by Miss Martineau, purporting to be a historical novel with Toussaint L’Overture, the leader of the insurrection in San Domingo, as the hero. He is represented as superhumanly good and great beyond all heroes of ancient or modern times. He and Napoleon were contemporaries and comparisons are constantly drawn between them, all in favor of this darkie saint. Napoleon is completely overshadowed by Toussaint. It is a disgusting book. The Negroes are all represented as angelic beings, pure and good, while the whites are the fiends who entered in and took possession of their Eden, Haiti.

Anna Meagher returned recently and sent for me to come and see her. She saw Jimmy several times. He is quite well. Her only news was about the Terrapin Neck cutoff which, if true, will place all our plantations above possible overflow. The Yankees are all gone and some of the old planters still at home. Jimmy sent by Anna the box of papers left concealed and all are in good order. We have written him to bring out the silver if possible. It is buried there. The old Negroes are still on the place, and Uncle Hoccles and Aunt Liza want to come out to Texas. Mrs. Newman was about to give a Yankee party. Both girls are at home and reported engaged to Yankee officers. One cannot believe that news. Nous verrons. We hear that Annie Newman is a beauty and a belle. Surely the age of miracles has not passed.

The pouring rains continue, and the house leaks dreadfully. We rather wade than walk.

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2 Comments
  1. Wow, powerful stuff! I love how she cites ‘army worms’ as being more effective at ridding TX of Yankees than the Confederate Army!

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