Kate Stone’s Civil War: Those terrible battles

The horror of the Overland Campaign hangs over the Stone household but she holds out hope Lee will outsmart Grant in the end.

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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 horror of the Overland Campaign hangs over the Stone household but she holds out hope Lee will outsmart Grant in the end.

Again Stone impresses with her ability to illustrate everyday life and mores in so few detailed sentences. Note how the Stones and their friends are now regularly visiting Union prisoners at the nearby Confederate camp.

June 19, 1864

Tyler, Texas

A letter from My Brother but dated three months ago. He writes very sadly and thinks he will not see us again until the war is over. He was safe on the fourth of May, but it was on the fifth that those terrible battles commenced. We see from the papers that his corps was engaged every day. The fate of Richmond still trembles in the balance. Lee’s army has fallen back within the fortifications, and Grant is beginning to burrow as they did at Vicksburg. The most thrilling report is that Beauregard has captured Butler and 9,000 men. May it only be true. …

We have quite a trip in contemplation. Mamma is thinking of going to Monroe [La.] on business and taking me and one of the boys on for a pleasure jaunt. Which one of the boys depends on Mrs. Savage, who thinks of joining us with Emily. In that event Mamma will leave Jimmy at home as affairs are getting too interesting with Jimmy and Emily. He is too susceptible, and Mrs. Savage is too much of a matchmaker for Jimmy to be hourly exposed to such fascination for the next two weeks. Emily is a designing, forward girl, exceedingly so for her age. Jimmy is making every preparation to go with us and join the army at Monroe and will be horribly disappointed if Mamma refuses her consent.

Our usual refugee visitors. Yesterday evening returning from a ride, Jimmy and I were called in by Mrs. Carson, who begged us to stay to supper, at which we enjoyed delightful venison, killed by Jimmy Carson, and some of Mrs. Carson’s new style marmalade excellent. Read the papers to Mrs. Carson and rode home in the most glorious moonlight.

Mamma is very sad since receiving My Brother’s letter. She is very anxious about him. We have a nice set of real chessmen, made by one of the prisoners. We loaned them some days ago to the hospital in response to a polite note asking for them. The boys often go there. They have taken a great fancy to Mr. Griffin, a wounded boy. He must be a nice young fellow. Mamma and Mrs. Carson and some of the other ladies go quite frequently.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Strangers in a strange land

Stone mourns a family friend’s death. She also notes ominously the growing epidemic of deadly disease at a nearby Confederate camp filled with Northern prisoners of war.

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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)

As another oppressive Texas summer begins, Stone mourns a family friend’s death. She also notes ominously the growing epidemic of deadly disease at a nearby Confederate camp filled with Northern prisoners of war.

June 14, 1864

Tyler, Texas

Comfortably seated by an open window in our lone rocking chair, I am munching Confederate cakes all alone with nothing to do. … Johnny is lying on his stomach with his heels in the air … Johnny has taken great delight in Shakespeare and reads and re-reads his favorite plays. He is already a good Shakespearean scholar. Sister is amusing herself with Sally, and the others are off spending this day with Mrs. Prentice. If there is one thing I most detest, it is spending a long summer day away from home. …

Jimmy received a letter from Mr. Hardison telling of Mrs. Hardison’s death in February. We are truly grieved to hear it. She was a high-minded good woman and one of our best friends. She died in Red River County, where they have been living since fall. Her life was a scene of trial from the time they fled from home. He writes most sadly. They have no books, no papers, hear no news, and have made no new friends and are alone on the bleak prairie, strangers in a strange land. We pity them all but most, her poor mother, Mrs. Alexander.

Anna and Dr. Meagher returned a few days ago. He is stationed here now in charge of the Yankee prisoners. The prisoners are in a most pitiable condition, perfectly destitute. Some have only a blanket to wear and others only one garment. There is much sickness and death among them and the authorities are powerless to get clothes for them. No clothes or blankets to be bought. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: It makes us shiver

In the absence of hard facts or updated news from the battlefields, rumors of all kinds were rampant.

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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)

In the absence of hard facts or updated news from the battlefields, rumors of all kinds were rampant.

Sept. 1, 1863

“Elysian Fields,” Lamar County, Texas

A letter from Jimmy at Jefferson [Texas] on the thirty-first of July, just as he was leaving for Navasota. It is almost time for his return, and Mamma is anxious for him to get back. She wants the wagons to move the Negroes before they hear that the Yankees are coming in from the North, as it is rumored, and before they have a chance to make a break for the Federal lines again.

There are quite a number of Yankee prisoners at Tyler, captured while in command of black troops. It does seem like they ought to be hanged, and they are so impudent too. The detestable creatures!

There is a rumor that Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee have applied for admission into the Union again. Of course, we know it is a base fabrication, but many of the natives believe it firmly. They will believe anything against Louisiana. They seem to hate that state, and we would not give one Louisiana parish for half of Texas.

Our pet rumor is again in the air that France, Spain, and England have recognized the Confederacy. Oh, that it were true. …

We hear that Mrs. White, from whom we rented books and also bought one or two, has leprosy. It makes us shiver to think of it, and our handling her things and Patsy nursing her. We can only hope it is another big story, as it is too late to take precautions.

Sept. 11

Jimmy is back after an absence of seven weeks, and now as soon as we can collect up our scattered goods and chattels we will be off to fresh fields and pastures new. …

The Federals made only a short stay at Monroe, but were busy at the work of destruction. Would like to know how our friends have fared.

Our high hopes of recognition by the European powers are again dashed to the ground. If they just would not start such rumors, raising expectations only to be disappointed.

We paid a three-day visit to Mrs. Slaughter up in the famous Union neighborhood, Honey Grove, where they say there is only one Confederate family. There, everyone you talk to says of course we will be conquered. In Louisiana one rarely heard such an idea expressed.

We attended a large Baptist meeting in the vicinity several times. The interest and excitement were intense. There were often fifty mourners crowded around the altar and the church crowded to suffocation. Never saw so many men in church before, and we have not seen so many men at one time since the war commenced, unless they were soldiers in uniform. The scene at night was most striking: the anxious, excited faces, crowding and surging around the altar; the exalted, earnest mien of the minister; the groans and shrieks and wild prayers of the mourners, mingling with the shouts and hallelujahs of the newly professed; while high over all rises the thunder of a triumphant hymn, borne on many voices. In the background gleam the eager, curious faces of the lookers-on, row on row.

A scene to thrill and interest anyone, but I must take my religion more quietly. It was a country-looking congregation with a sprinkling of nice people. Short dresses, large hoops, and top-knotted sun-bonnets, the style.