Kate Stone’s Civil War: Credulous mortals

Stone and her brother still endured the hatred of Texas boys. She also despaired over the lack of news that reliably reported any Confederate victory.

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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 and her brother still endured the hatred of Texas boys. She also despaired over the lack of news that reliably reported any Confederate victory.

Nov. 1, 1863

Tyler, Texas

We are just from church. Jimmy, Johnny, and I did not go con amore. There are more pleasant things than toiling a mile through heavy sand, up hill and down dale too dark to see the road beneath you or the sky above, sitting for an hour listening to an indifferent sermon, and being gazed at by a battery of hostile eyes. Jimmy was determined to go, and I would go too, though he did not want me. Last night he and Johnny went alone, and during the services someone cut his bridle all to pieces and stole his martingale and blanket. A crowd of boys followed them after church, talking at them all the time. They know now the boys are armed and so did not attack them. The rowdies followed us tonight, and I saw them for the first time. They are real nice-looking lads. What a pity they are not gentlemen. Jimmy Carson is deeply mortified that he is compelled to desert a friend in need.

Miss Sally Grissman called to see us a short time ago. She is quite pretty, a Creole, piquante and petite. They are from Assumption Parish and have been here nearly a year. Mrs. Prentice from Joe’s Bayou and Mrs. Hull from St. Louis called yesterday. Mrs. Hull is a delightful little lady with the prettiest face and sweetest manner. Her husband is a colonel. He has just returned from Missouri. He went in to raise a regiment, of course in disguise, and brought out four hundred men, a most dangerous undertaking since it meant the death of a spy if he had been captured. Mr. and Mrs. Prentice have a house near town and Mrs. Hull boards with them. Mrs. Prentice begged me to come and stay some with her. Perhaps I shall.

Spent a day with Mrs. Levy lately. She is from New Orleans and has a large family of little children. Her husband and oldest son are in the Virginia Army. She is a good talker, a woman of the world, and a Jewess, but I think does not practice her religion. She was a Miss Moise from Charleston. …

The exhilarating news of the capture of [Union Maj. Gen. William] Rosecrans and his army proves to have been a canard. He has been heavily reinforced and is again in the field. What credulous mortals we be, believing all the good reports and distrusting all the bad until the truth is forced upon us. …

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A new Canary island … Scorsese’s best … al-Qaida in Africa … Bachmann’s journey … Girl gangs

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Canary Island volcano: A new island in the making?
By Rob Hugh-Jones | The World and BBC News | Dec. 3
“An undersea volcano erupting just south of Spain’s Canary Islands may be the beginnings of a new island, or an extension to an existing one. For some, it’s a colourful spectacle — for others a major blow to their livelihood.”

2. Martin Scorsese’s greatest movies
By Matt Zoller Seitz | Salon | Dec. 3
“‘Raging Bull’s’ a contender, and ‘Taxi Driver.’ Which other films round out the iconic director’s best?”

3. Dreaming May Help Relieve a Bad Day
My HealthNewsDaily | Nov. 23
“The results show that during nighttime dreaming, also known as REM sleep, the brain processes emotional experiences in a ‘safe’ environment, or one in which stress chemicals are low. This processing may take the emotional edge off of difficult memories, the researchers said.”

4. Candy, cash — al-Qaida implants itself in Africa
By Rukmini Callimachi and Martin Vogl | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“The terrorist group has create a refuge in this remote land through a strategy of winning hearts and minds, described in rare detail by seven locals in regular contact with the cell.”

5. Bachmann, from Waterloo to White House contender
By Adam Geller | Associated Press | Dec. 3
“The choreographed repetition of modern presidential campaigns can turn the most personable candidate into an endless loop of talking points. But any close observer of Bachmann’s political career would be hard-pressed to dismiss her as two-dimensional.”

6. Plastic Bag Bans Spreading Across The United States
By Jordan Howard | The Huffington Post | Dec. 1
“Four cities in Oregon — Eugene, Corvallis, Newport and Ashland — are considering banning plastic bags at retail stores. The towns would join at least 10 other U.S. cities and counties that have prohibited plastic bags since 2008.”

7. Interesting readers, as well as writers
By Sarah Sweeney | Harvard Gazette | Dec. 1
“Book focuses on leading authors and the books they love”

8. Chelsea Clinton, Living Up to the Family Name
By Amy Chozick | The New York Times | Dec. 3
“Her move to television was a career shift she initiated, having her close advisers arrange interviews with top network executives and at one point working with the powerful Creative Artists Agency.”

9. Which Faulkner Novels Should HBO Adapt?
By David Haglund | Browbeat :: Slate | Dec. 2
“Clearly this is a question for true Faulkner aficionados, so I posed it to a handful of writers who know his work intimately—starting with a novelist who’s no slouch himself when it comes to literary adaptations.”

10. Rise of the girl gangs
By Brad Hamilton | The New York Post | Dec. 3
“As ‘crews’ proliferate in New York’s housing projects, officials worry about the increasing brutality of all-female wolfpacks”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY Donna Summer
2. POSSESSION Sarah McLachlan
3. ELSEWHERE (The Freedom Sessions) Sarah McLachlan
4. EROTICA Madonna
5. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS Foreigner
6. WAIT (The Whisper Song) Ying Yang Twins
7. KILOMETER Sebastien Tellier
8. THE ORBITING SUNS Jens Gad
9. PUNCH DRUNK Sade
10. LINGER The Cranberries