Skip to content

Kate Stone’s Civil War: The noble, gentle heart

July 19, 2012

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, the daughter of Louisiana cotton plantation owners who chronicled her turbulent life 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 was an insightful, often self-deprecating, and intelligent writer, but she never wrote more beautifully than when she endured tragedy.

The sickness that ravaged the Stone family was too much for Stone’s brother Ashburn, who died soon after their older brother left to rejoin his Confederate unit. Their mother accompanied the soldier to his embarkation point at Vicksburg, Miss., and she was too far away to rejoin her dying son in his final moments. As Stone grieved, her journal sat silent for two weeks. In late November, she began to write again.

Amidst her sorrow she took a moment to reflect on her mother’s beauty and character. It’s a fascinating and affectionate celebration of the woman Stone admired above all others.

Nov. 27:

How can I write the record of the last two weeks? It seems that the trouble and grief of years has been pressed into that short space of time. Ashburn, our darling, has gone, never to return. Oh! how we miss him every hour in the day. The noble, gentle heart and the loving sensitive nature are stilled forever, passed from the world as though they had never been. What great thoughts, loving wishes, and proud hopes lie buried in his grave. So young, so bouyant, so full of life and happiness, brilliant with the very joy of living such a little while ago, and now dead. …

Nov. 28:

Ashburn died on Tuesday, November 12, at 11 o’clock at night of swamp fever. We sent for Mamma very early Tuesday morning, but she could not get here until Wednesday morning too late. She was so dreadfully distressed. As soon as he died, Brother Coley started at once to Vicksburg to meet Mamma and to make arrangements for the burial. He reached DeSoto just as she crossed the ferry, and as soon as she saw him she knew the worst.

Brother Walter had gone for her and brought her back. She so reproached herself for leaving him when he was sick, but we told her everybody on the place had been sick off and on all summer and she could not know this would be a serious illness. She loved him so. We always told her that she loved and indulged him more than any of us, and she always said, why, he was the best boy of them all and never gave any occasion to be scolded.

Nov. 29:

[Ashburn’s] was buried Thursday in a clump of woods just back of the house, the new family graveyard. Our Father and two little sisters were removed there from the old graveyard a year ago.

Here at home all seems strangely dull and sad. …

A warm lovely week, a wanderer from the April sisterhood. No frost and the flowers are still in fullest bloom roses and annuals, as gay as in May. “The Melancholy days have come” for our household but not for Dame Nature. The boys have been out hunting most of the day with poor success one duck but the woods are full of game and the lakes covered with ducks.

Brother Coley and Mr. Reading went to attend the drill at Willow Bayou and to bid adieu to Mr. Reading’s friends. They went from there to Omega. No mail. But Brother Coley brought back the paper containing the resolutions of sympathy passed by the Willow Bayou company on Ashburn’s death. How he loved all military matters.

Mamma was talking tonight of her early days. She was married before she was sixteen, before she had left school, but she had been out enough to reject ten lovers before she met papa. All of them are living still. She was and is a beautiful woman of most attractive manner and a brilliant conversationalist with a great power of attracting love, the first and greatest gift that can be bestowed on anyone. She has the most cheerful, brightest spirit and is a brave resourceful woman. None of the children bear a strong resemblance to either her or our Father. Brother Walter is most like her.

Nov. 30:

This is the last day of a month that brought us unmixed joy and hopeless sorrow. My Brother was with us at its commencement and now at the close he is in camp again, and one of our dearest and best has bidden farewell to Earth and floated out on the dark river.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

From the Lilypad

The Life of Froggie

Ash (the Mighty)

Idle Ramblings from a (probably) disturbed mind.

A sysadmin's blog! All you ever wanted to know about being a good sysadmin!

Cpanel/WHM, Plesk, DirectAdmin, Webmin, Web hosting, & Much more...

Dave Examines Movies

Sticking Up for the Bullied Movies

Que sera, Sarah

Whatever will be, will be Sarah. (Except for when it's Eileen.)

54 Candles

The view from the mountain top

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Our Life on the Big Island of Hawai'i

Hammermarks

Wendy Edsall-Kerwin's Journey as an Artist

The Waterthrush Blog

birds, science, and other cool stuff

NB Politicus

News and Comment from New Britain, Connecticut

My Truant Pen

Look in thy heart and write

The Drunkbirder™

...Birding From The Hip Flask.

GenieGrrl

the random fumbles and grumbles of a girl hurtling thru' life and cyberspace...

Kelly Miyuki

Bimbo Talk :: As Random As it Can Be

Random House Academic News and Author Essays

RI32's WEBLOG

Blogging For Sharing and Inspiring : Tutorial, Belajar, Programming, Live Demo, Online, Free, Download, Source Code, Website, Sistem, Informasi, IT, Aplikasi, Komputer, PHP, MySQL, Matlab, Mapserver, GIS, JAVA, JQuery, NetBeans, Android, Pemikiran, Dakwah Islam, Charity, Community, Socialpreneurship, Agus Sumarna, Nurfitri Annuurii, Muhammad Fattan Imtiyaz.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,282 other followers

%d bloggers like this: