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

May 9, 2015


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.


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