11 October 1864: “I cannot imagine why it was he came home”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 11 October 1864, written by Sarah Lois Wadley.


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: 

Tuesday, Oct. 11th. 1864.

Two weeks since I wrote here, but I have been too busy to write, every hour has been fully employed. Last Tuesday evening Father and I rode in to Trenton to see Mrs. Seale, who had just returned from her journey to the swamp. We stopped at the post office to get the paper, and found a letter from Willie, he was sick, but fortunately had gotten into a private house, and was hospitably entertained by “one of the kindest ladies he ever saw.”

On our return we met a young man who had dined with us that day who would stop in Monroe that night on his way to Virginia, and who said he would take letters for us if we sent them in the next morning, so I wrote short letters to Aunt Mary and Grandma, and one to Valeria that seemed short to me, though really it was quite long.

Friday we were surprised by Willie’s arrival, he came home on a furlough of thirty days, just three weeks after he went away, though a surprise to us, it was by no means one to Father and Mother. I cannot imagine why it was he came home, and as Father chooses to keep it secret I do not think it my place to speculate upon it, it is certainly very strange. Willie looks quite badly, his hair and beard are both very long, which heightens the thinness of his face; he has gone down to Girard now, to get Mr. Baldwin to put a new stock to his gun, left yesterday, we expect him back tomorrow; he had not reached the brigade before he was sick, but improved steadily after he got into camp.

We all had a grand “chinquapen hunt” Saturday, went up to Mrs. Phillips’ place, took a basket of lunch and did not come back till afternoon. The day was delightful and we enjoyed ourselves very much, gathered a great many chinquapens. We are having such beautiful weather now, day after day the sun runs his bright course through a sky of cloudless blue, and sets amid clear hues at evening only to give place to the moon, and to charm us with soft brilliancy of Venus, which gleams like a jewel on the brow of evening; the hickory trees alone show the approach of autumn by the slight russet hue of their outermost boughs, the oaks are still brightly green though we have had one or two very slight frosts. For several days we have had fire morning and evening but today it is very warm; my windows are all open. We have not omitted school one day since we commenced, the children have never studied so well. Georgie commenced to learn to write today, how earnest he was, and how his little hand trembled, how hard it must be for children to learn to write!

I have finished the first volume of my “Girondins,” am all impatience to get the next, it closed just in such an interesting part, I must send to Mrs. Leighton for the other volume as soon as possible.

I was busy all yesterday evening in my little garden replanting my violets, they have grown together so that many have died; also set out a little heliotrope which I had rooted, I forgot and left it in the sun this morning and was afraid my negligence had been fatal to it’s delicate life, but by taking it and carefully watering it I have brought to hold it’s head up quite blithely. Was delighted yesterday evening by receiving a letter from Mrs. Morancy, the first in a long, long time. She had suffered dreadfully from sore eyes, was quite blind for a time and had been dreadfully oppressed by melancholy afterwards; my poor friend, her life is indeed a darkened one. How I wish she might find the anchor of an assured hope in Christ, this is the only balm for an aching heart like hers. I must write to her now, will spend no more time on this.



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