Kate Stone’s Civil War: The grand crash

Stone writes indirectly of her heartbreak over losing Lt. Holmes, her pleasure over his new-found sobriety, and the special tokens of affection they exchanged.

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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 writes indirectly of her heartbreak over losing Lt. Holmes, her pleasure over his new-found sobriety, and the special tokens of affection they exchanged.

May 31, 1865

Tyler, Texas

How quiet and deserted the house is since they all left. Johnny and Jimmy started Monday for Louisiana to be absent five or six weeks. Yesterday Lt. Dupre and Lt. Holmes — plain “Mr.” after this — said good-bye to us. How much we miss them. I wonder will it be the same when we meet Lt. Holmes again after the five months of separation? He wishes to correspond but it is better not. The only tokens exchanged were geranium leaves. Which will be treasured longest? He has been perfectly sober for two months and has made many good resolutions which we trust he will keep, even though we never meet again. We have seen him every day but three for three months, and we miss him dreadfully now he has gone forever. …

Lt. Holmes and I went around to bid Sally Grissman and several of the girls good-bye. I know they all could have dispensed with my calls on the occasion, but I went just the same. We have no one “on guard” now for the first time in a year. …

Our friends in the Ordinance Department gave us so many little things during the grand crash that we feel quite rich and are delighted with our extra furnishings. All the ordinance stores were distributed or rather left open to all, and we have a quantity of ammunition. It remains to be seen whether the Yankees will allow us to keep it. It is reported that President Davis has not been captured and that the Federal authorities are most monstrously kind to the soldiers. …

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: FIFA president re-elected / Pregnancy and depression / Orson Welles memoir discovered / Uber in Mexico / Hastert scandal

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This week: FIFA president re-elected / Pregnancy and depression / Orson Welles memoir discovered / Uber in Mexico / Hastert scandal

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Blatter Control: FIFA Head Wins New Term Despite Corruption Probe
By David Francis | Passport :: Foreign Policy | May 29
“The Justice Department appears to be building a mob-style case against him, flipping low-level officials in hopes of then using their testimony to snag higher-ups. Whether they’ll ever get to Blatter remains to be seen.”

2. CBS’ Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors
By Eric Deggans | The Two-Way :: NPR News | May 29
“Schieffer leaves CBS with impressive stats. He’s one of the few reporters to have covered the White House, Congress, the State Department and the Pentagon. He’s interviewed every president since Richard Nixon and moderated three presidential debates.”

3. The characters in the new ‘Star Wars’ movie have pretty weird names
By Reed Tucker | New York Post | May 29
“From Sio Bibble to Grand Moff Muzzer, names in the world of Star Wars have always had their own special charm.”

4. Shields and Brooks on Dennis Hastert charges, Ashton Carter Iraq comments
Shields & Brooks :: PBS Newshour | May 29
“[T]he indictment and allegations of misconduct against former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s comments about the Iraqi army’s defeat at Ramadi, 2016 campaign announcements from Rick Santorum and George Pataki.”

5. Mexico taxi drivers threaten to ‘hunt down’ Uber cars
By Camilo Smith | La Voz de Houston :: Houston Chronicle| May 29
“Earlier this week taxi drivers blocked traffic to protest the arrival of the ride share service and according to reports the head of a taxi organization told the press the hunt is on for Uber drivers.”

6. Fact-Checking San Andreas With a Seismologist
By Alissa Walker | Gizmodo | May 29
“Among the many luminaries invited to preview the film was Dr. Lucy Jones, the USGS seismologist who recently took me on a walk along the Hollywood Fault, which runs just a block from the theater where San Andreas premiered.”

7. How Do You Define a Gang Member?
By Daniel Alarcon | The New York Times Magazine | May 27
“Laws acros the country are being used to target young men who fit the description for gang affiliation. But what if they aren’t what they seem?”

8. Hastert hometown rocked by scandal
By Jake Sherman and Hillary Flynn | Politico | May 29
“In Yorkville, Ill., shock and disbelief over allegations against a beloved teacher and coach.”

9. Archivists Uncover an Unfinished Memoir By Orson Welles
By Erin Blakemore | Smithsonian.com | May 29
“Fragments of ‘Confessions of a One-Man Band’ discovered in a newly-acquired trove of documents”

10. The Secret Sadness of Pregnancy With Depression
By Andrew Solomon | The New York Times Magazine | May 28
“Pregnant women often fear taking the antidepressants they rely on. But not treating their mental illness can be just as dangerous.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Only sadness and tears

The Confederacy has collapsed, and Stone watches in horror as postwar chaos sweeps over East Texas.

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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)

The Confederacy has collapsed, and Stone watches in horror as postwar chaos sweeps over East Texas.

May 27, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Anarchy and confusion reign over all. Jayhawking is the order of the day. The soldiers are disbanding throughout the Department and seizing Government property wherever they can find it. The Government offices here have been sacked. All work is over and all who can are going home. At Shreveport the demoralization is worse even than here. The officers are scattering to the four winds, and Jayhawkers and private soldiers are stopping and robbing them whenever found. Col. Bradforte was the first here to desert his post. We hear that the mules were taken from his ambulance and wagon. Maj. Rhett, Gen. Hayes, and indeed everyone we hear of has suffered the same fate while fleeing to the interior of the state or to Mexico. Gen. Kirby Smith has also been robbed. We do not know but suppose this Department has surrendered as the soldiers have disbanded and are making their way home. We are still in ignorance of what disposal is to be made of us by our conquerors. The excitement in the town is so great we can think and live only in the present. Everything is in a turmoil. … We are all glad to see the soldiers divide what Government property they can find, if they will only stop there and not let the desperadoes rob the citizens as they may do. Some of the people deserve robbing, for they joined with the soldiers in sacking the Departments.

Jimmy came home Thursday no longer a soldier but a poor discouraged boy. All his regiment went home but twenty and the colonel disbanded them. Jimmy and the three Carson boys were of the twenty who stood to their guns. Will Carson came back with him. Jimmy and Joe Carson went out to the river to see the prospect there. We are so glad to have Jimmy safe at home, but oh, what a different homecoming from what we anticipated when he enlisted. No feasting. No rejoicing. Only sadness and tears.

Johnny starts for Brokenburn tomorrow to get Uncle Bob to plant some corn if possible so that there will be something when we move back in the fall. Of course we cannot go now and leave the crop on the prairie. It is our only hope for a cent of money. Johnny will also go on to Vicksburg and try to get news of My Brother and Uncle Bo. The long suspense is very trying and Mamma longs so for My Brother io get back to help her. She feels so at sea in these new conditions of life. … Jimmy goes to the prairie in a few days to see what money can be raised there. I took him yesterday to see half of the girls in town. Determined to lose no time, he and Johnny are escorting two of them to church this morning. Jimmy got back nearly out of clothes of course, and Johnny, after his last trip, is nearly as badly off, having swapped off about every respectable article he had. We had to go to work at once. Fortunately Mamma has secured some blue linen from the department stores and had plenty of homespun. Shirts are the most difficult to get.

Mamma keeps us in terror threatening to move to the farm until fall. It is about like being in jail with the privilege of looking through the window, but she can decide nothing until she sees or hears from My Brother.

Lt. Holmes’ mess is broken up, and he is staying with us until he and Lt. Dupre can get off together. Traveling is so unsafe just now for officers. But Lt. Dupre is so anxious to get back to his wife, they will leave in a day or so. Their part of the spoils in lieu of pay is an ambulance and pair of mules with which they will journey to Monroe together. The officials have burned all their papers. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: A piece of amusement

Stone’s mother wishes Stone would stop seeing Lt. Holmes. Stone, surprised, offers her view on how to handle soldiers who may be romantic partners.

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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 mother wishes Stone would stop seeing Lt. Holmes. Stone, surprised, offers her view on how to handle soldiers who may be romantic partners.

May 21, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Coming in yesterday evening from the gallery after Lt. Holmes left, Mamma told me that she wished I would send Lt. Holmes off, that she much preferred my marrying Joe to Lt. Holmes, though neither was a suitable match, as Joe is too young and Lt. Holmes too dissipated.

I was surprised. I did not know she was taking it seriously, and I could honestly assure her I had not an idea of marrying either of them. I could have told her the same of Dr. McGregor, Lt. Valentine, and the conceited Capt. Birchett, should he ever make up his mind to propose. She seemed much relieved.

I thought she understood the point of view of most of the girls. One must not distress a soldier by saying “No” when he is on furlough. They have enough to bear. They may be going back to sudden death. Then they will most probably forget you for a sweetheart at the next camp, or their love will grow cool by the time you meet again. So it is just a piece of amusement on both sides.

If Mrs. Carson and Mrs. Savage only knew that I am as determined not to marry Joe as they are determined to prevent it, how much trouble and maneuvering it would save them. But I cannot well explain it to them. Joe can when he gets home, and their minds will be at rest.

Lt. Holmes has stopped drinking for some weeks now, since I asked him to do so one day during rehearsals when I saw ho was going too far. He was very nice about it. His face flushed and he thanked me but did not get angry as I feared.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: A fever of apprehension

Life amidst a Texas spring goes on, with blossoming flowers, sunshine, and church services. All stare into an unknowable future.

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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)

Life amidst a Texas spring goes on, with blossoming flowers, sunshine, and church services. All stare into an unknowable future.

May 20, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Still on the rack of uncertainty as regards our future. Flying rumors of the most exciting character keep us in a fever of apprehension. We do not know whether armed resistance is over or whether we are to fight on to the bitter end. If the news of the way in which the people of the Trans-Mississippi Department are ground to the earth is true, it would be better for us to resist as long as there is a man left to load a gun. Gloom and despondency cloud every face. … Better years of battle than a peace like this is the cry of all we see. Our latest news is that people in this department have an armistice of thirty days to resign themselves to the inevitable. I suppose it is a breathing space to collect our scattered energies and brace ourselves for the stern trials of the future.

And Nature smiles down on all this wretchedness. The loveliest of May mornings and the air is sweet with the perfume of the star jasmine. Our summer house in the yard is covered with it, and it is now white with blooms. The finest variety we ever saw. This soil suits it better than ours. That arbour is a favorite retreat, and we spend many gay, dolorous, and charming hours in its shade.

Sister is off to school, Sunday school, and we are all ready for church. It behooves us to ask aid from Our Maker when all else is failing us. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Restless and wretched

Everyone around Stone is gloomy following verification of Lee’s defeat.

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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)

Everyone around Stone is gloomy following verification of Lee’s defeat.

May 17, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Just a succession of callers and calls. Everybody too restless and wretched to stay at home. Must talk it over with somebody. Such a constant succession of people is very tiring. Went about ten miles over the roughest roads to a fish fry at a tiny creek where I doubt there ever was a fish. A gay day, but quite exhausted at late bedtime when the last gentlemen left. Mamma was wise not to go.

We have finished Lt. Holmes’ grey suit, and it was a job. I hope no other soldier of our acquaintance is in need of clothes. Such sewing palls on one. Mamma is most energetic about it.

Mollie Moore and Lt. Holmes were with us until nine tonight, and then Dr. McGregor, Maj. Squires, Lt. Dupre, and Capt. Giday came and stayed until eleven. These two new men belong to a Louisiana battery of artillery and camped here only one night on their way to the Brazos for forage. Both are Creoles and entertaining. Lt. Holmes, Sister, and I had a pleasant visit to Mrs. Levy.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: We will be slaves

Stone at last realizes the end of the Confederacy is near, and she writes her diary’s most beautiful and heart-breaking passage.

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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 at last realizes the end of the Confederacy is near, and she writes her diary’s most beautiful and heart-breaking passage.

 

May 15, 1865

Tyler, Texas

“Conquered,” “Submission,” “Subjugation” are words that burn into my heart, and yet I feel that we are doomed to know them in all their bitterness. The war is rushing rapidly to a disastrous close. Another month and our Confederacy will be a Nation no longer, but we will be slaves, yes slaves, of the Yankee Government.

The degradation seems more than we can bear. How can we bend our necks to the tyrants’ yoke? Our glorious struggle of the last four years, our hardships, our sacrifices, and worst of all, the torrents of noble blood that have been shed for our loved Country all, all in vain. The best and bravest of the South sacrificed and for nothing. Yes, worse than nothing. Only to rivet more firmly the chains that bind us. The bitterness of death is in the thought. We could bear the loss of my brave little brothers when we thought that they had fallen at the post of duty defending their Country, but now to know that those glad, bright spirits suffered and toiled in vain, that the end is overwhelming defeat, the thought is unendurable. And we may never be allowed to raise a monument where their graves sadden the hillside. There is a gloom over all like the shadow of Death. We have given up hope for our beloved Country and all are humiliated, crushed to the earth. A past of grief and hardship, a present of darkness and despair, and a future without hope. Truly our punishment is greater than we can bear.

Since Johnston’s surrender the people in this department are hopeless. If we make a stand, it would only delay the inevitable with the loss of many valuable lives. The leaders say the country is too much disheartened to withstand the power of a victorious Yankee army flushed with victory. Still, many hope there will be a rally and one more desperate struggle for freedom. If we cannot gain independence, we might compel better terms.

By the twenty-fourth we will know our fate — Submission to the Union (how we hate the word!), Confiscation, and Negro equality or a bloody unequal struggle to last we know not how long. God help us, for vain is the help of man.

We hope President Davis is really making his way to this department, as we hear. His presence would give new life to the people.

Poor Booth, to think that he fell at last. Many a true heart at the South weeps for his death. Caesar had his Brutus, Murat his Charlotte Corday, and Lincoln his Booth. Lincoln’s fate overtook him in the flush of his triumph on the pinnacle of his fame, or rather infamy. We are glad he is not alive to rejoice in our humiliation and insult us by his jokes. The circumstance of his death forms a most complete tragedy. Many think Andy Johnson worse than Lincoln, but that is simply impossible.

Added to our grief at the public calamity is our great anxiety about My Brother. He has had time to get here, if he was paroled, and we have not had a word from him. In the four-day fight before we gave up Petersburg, our army lost fifteen thousand men, and we tremble to think he may be among them. We hear that Tom Manlove is certainly dead, captured, and died of his wounds.

Mamma is sewing with a heavy heart on a jacket for Lt. Holmes. Last week we made a heavy white suit for Lt. Dupre. It was an undertaking. A letter from Mrs. Amis to Mamma. She writes most despondently. Sunday Lt. Dupre, Lt. Holmes, Capt. Buck, Col. and Mrs. Bradforte, and Capt. Birchett all came up to discuss the gloomy outlook. We all meet now just to condole with each other. A more doleful crowd I never saw. Capt. Birchett says he is going to South America rather than live under Yankee rule. His father was president of an indignation meeting held in Vicksburg to pass resolutions of sympathy and regret on the death of Lincoln. Capt. Birchett is too disgusted for expression.

 

UTSA Special Collections Acquires Southwest Voter Registration Education Project/William C. Velásquez Institute Records

Very exciting. Congratulations.

The Top Shelf

Antonio Gonzáles and Dr. Ricardo Romo signing the Deed. Antonio Gonzáles and Dr. Ricardo Romo signing the Deed.

On Friday, May 8, 2015, UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo and Antonio González, President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) and the William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) signed a formal agreement deeding both organizations’ records to UTSA Special Collections. I had the honor of attending the event to witness the historic signing.

The signing took place on the eve of Willie Velásquez Day at a reception preceding the annual Southwest Voter Fundraising Dinner. Four of the mayoral candidates: Tommy Adkisson, Ivy Taylor, Leticia Van de Putte, and Mike Villareal were in attendance and during the dinner, participated in a short panel discussion before being whisked away to their next event. Senator José Menéndez was the keynote speaker and Antonio González closed the event.

Dean Maloney, Dr. Romo, Antonio González, and Sen. José Menéndez mingle before the reception. Dean Maloney, Dr. Romo, Antonio González, and Sen. José Menéndez mingle before the reception.

We are…

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Kate Stone’s Civil War: We fear it cannot last

Stone savors her new house in Tyler and fears the day when she must leave it behind to return to a ravaged Brokenburn plantation in Louisiana.

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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 savors her new house in Tyler and fears the day when she must leave it behind to return to a ravaged Brokenburn plantation in Louisiana.

Despite Stone’s insistence that she and Holmes are only friends, she spends virtually every moment with him, sews for him, and now even fights off rumors of their engagement.

May 9, 1865

Tyler, Texas

How comfortably our move was accomplished. Mamma gave general orders to the Corps d’Afrique [the Stones’ black servants] to move all our “duds” to the new house. We have only the bare necessaries except servants. They are plentiful. Then Mamma seated herself to the perusal of Burns, Kate went to sewing, I went off calling, returned to dinner, and then went out again.

Late in the afternoon … I went up to meet Mamma and welcome her to her new home, which we have named “The Rest” and which we intend to enjoy to the fullest until stern Fate again casts us out on the world.

Lt. Holmes came to tea, though we had explained to him we would not be ready for visitors before Tuesday. He said he forgot our warning. He has a settled habit of coming every day. I suppose he could not break himself of it. Lt. Holmes and I went over to Mrs. Savage’s to tea the other day taking Sister with us. … Spent rather an uncomfortable evening. Mrs. Savage and Mrs. Carson amuse themselves spreading the news of my engagement to Lt. Holmes. But I cannot really blame them. When two people are as much together, such reports will arise, and it does no good to tell them, as we do, that there is no engagement. Have not an idea of marrying him or anyone else. We are friends, nothing more. Such reports die out after a time and meanwhile we see much pleasure and amusement together. …

We find ourselves so comfortable that we are frightened. We fear it cannot last — a pretty six-room house, nicely improved grounds and surroundings with the flowers in full bloom. We are thankful to be at rest once more. I am busy embroidering a black velvet tobacco bag with scarlet fuchsias for Lt. Holmes.