11 August 1864: “hear some vague rumours about our position there which awaken much anxiety and disquiet in our minds”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 11 August 1864 by Sarah Lois Wadley. In this entry she recounts the company that she has kept throughout the past weeks. She also briefly mentions her brother’s health as well.


Item Citation: From volume 4 (folder 5) in the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Thursday, August 11th.

It is all so quiet this morning that the bustle and company of the past weeks, especially last night, seems like some gay dream. But I will commence at the first day. Monday Mr. Beck and Miss Mary left, I was so sorry to see them go and sincerely wished they might have stayed a week longer, but their home is so near the river that in these unquiet times they were anxious to get back.

Tuesday Miss Mary, Kate and I went into Monroe to spend the day with Mary Stevens, I called on Mrs. Harrison at Dr. Calderwood’s, found both her and Miss Maggie at Home and spent a very pleasant hour. We found Mrs. Stevens quite well, for her, and it was late before we left, having obtained a promise from May and Mrs. Copley to come out and spend the night with us and meet Miss Chaffe, a young lady at Dr. Temple’s, who came down for some dentistrical work, and who is a friend, and Miss Copley’s. Mrs. C. described her to us as a beautiful songstress, and as we had a great desire to hear her sing we determined to have her down with us if she would come.

When at Miss Calderwood’s I borrowed several books from her, one of which “Family pride” she recommended very highly, so as we had nothing better to do we thought it would interest us to read it aloud, accordingly after all our domestic affairs were settled we seated ourselves to our sewing, and I was as usual constituted reader. After we got into the interest of the story, which was not long, we were not willing to stop, and pursued Margaret Desmond’s mysterious adventures till dinner and immediately after until time for our afternoon dispersion at nearly five in the afternoon, as may be supposed I was troubled with a slight hoarseness from which I have not yet recovered, my throat feels quite raw this morning, and I have been soothing it with loaf sugar.

While I was dusting the piano Mary and Mrs. Copley drove up, rested a few minutes and then went out to Dr. Temple’s to call on Miss Chaffe. We were soon dressed and followed them, we found Miss Chaffe in a plain “dumpy” little person with an extremely fair complexion and unfailing smile, she accepted my invitation to tea but was going to spend the night with Mary Stevens, who much to our disappointment was obliged to go home that night, as her Aunt wanted to use the carriage early the next morning, perhaps it was better that she did, for on our return we found Mrs. Templeton and her two daughters here, and we could not possibly have afforded even pallets for so many without putting Willie out of his room, which of course inadmissable. Mrs. Copley told me while she called that she had taken the liberty of inviting for the evening a young gentleman, a friend of hers and a devoted admirer of Miss Chaffe, whom we would know by his uniform of artillery Lieutenant, and by his very small feet, clothed in faded pumps. We laughed very much at her description of the gentleman’s last and apparently most striking characteristic. There was quite a circle of us on the piazza when we saw an ambulance driving up, a lady holding the reins, on it’s near approach we recognized Lucy Seale, her Mother, and a young gentleman clinging to the back of the vehicle whom they introduced as Capt. Gillespie, and of whom we had frequently heard Kate speak as a cousin of Mrs. Templeton’s of by no means a staid disposition or demeanor, as we now experienced. We prevailed on them to descend from their elevation and join our party, and there we sat in formidable array of summer evenings toilets with only three coats interspersed, when the solitary “pair of faded pumps” rode up and manfully facing our bright artillery dismounted, and advanced up the steps, being introduced to us in a body as “Lieut. Coleman ladies,” he gladly sank into the nearest chair and fell into converse with May, his next neighbour; in spite of our large party of ladies and our scarcity of young gentlemen the evening passed quickly and pleasantly, with that freedom which almost invariably attends accidental reunions. Mary Stevens looked so freshly pretty that I felt like kissing her all the evening. We heard the famous voice of good humoured Miss Chaffe, which was very sweet, but I thought tiny and not well managed, but which some of the company applauded to the skies. Miss Mary sang one song, “Juanita,” a deep, rich song which suits her powerful voice. I thought it incomparably superior to Miss Chaffe’s trills and sinkings, but the rest of the company did not appear to think so, though I remarked the attention the first verse excited and the admiring buzz which filled up the interlude. It was late, about eleven, when Mary and her party left, and Mrs. Templeton sat up for more than an hour afterwards, though I was so tired that my limbs pained and my throat was quite raw and stiff. At last however we retired, and sleep came gratefully as soon as my head touched the pillow.

This morning after breakfast Mrs. Templeton left, taking Kate with her to pay a visit at her house at Oak Ridge.

Willie is much improved the last two days, is much stronger, but still looks very badly. Father went to the flouring mill at Downsville this morning to have our little crop of twenty-five bushels of wheat ground, it is only sixteen miles and he will be back tomorrow. We have not yet had any decisive news from Atlanta, but hear some vague rumours about our position there which awaken much anxiety and disquiet in our minds.

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