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.
More food and supplies finally make it to Tyler, and Stone enjoys a crowded concert, if only to drown out the anguish of recent months.
Note her details on how the slaves make candles from Texas cactus.
Feb. 15, 1865
Our garrison is reinforced and heavily provisioned. Warren reached here tonight after a six-day trip from the prairie with the long looked-for load of comestibles, and never could they have come in better time. The last flour had just been made up into biscuit in Capt. Birchett’s honor, and meat, sugar, candles, and everything else was waxing low. By the way, the servants make such pretty candles now. The candles look almost like wax. They boil a species of cactus in the tallow, and the candles are partly transparent and brittle and give an excellent clear light. Warren says the roads are nearly impassable. Mamma, when he left the carriage, was bogged down a few miles beyond Quitman, but Warren is satisfied that she will reach here today or tomorrow.
Capt. Birchett, after keeping me at home all day and depriving me of the pleasure of a ride with Dr. Weir, came up to tea and soon after bade us adieu for Shreveport and does not expect to be back for some weeks. We will miss him as he has been very sociable. Jolly Col. Hill and his demure, prim little wife called this morning and later Mrs. Benton and Mrs. St. Clair. No news except Mrs. Alexander, who lately lost her husband, will leave in a few days for San Antonio. And Johnny and I are eager to rent that house by the time Mamma arrives. Such a nice two-story affair with a pretty flower yard and in a nice part of town.
Dr. Weir spent yesterday afternoon here playing chess, and after tea I went with him and Capt. Birchett to a concert. Such a crowd. Not another person could have been crammed in and so many soldiers, but they were quiet and behaved well. The gentlemen all had to stand and my escorts were disgusted.