25 January 1865: “the only noble, honourable one a young man can now be engaged in, that is in active service for his country”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 25 January 1865 by Sarah Lois Wadley.


Item Citation: Folder 5, Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, #01258, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Wednesday, Jan. 25th. 1865.

Father went to them yesterday, he brought me a letter from Willie, he is still in Tensas, we were very glad indeed to hear from him, his letters always give me so much pleasure. He is perfectly well, and faring quite well too, but says he is very tired of being without a change of clothes, he expected to get some from home before this, how unfortunate it is that we could not send Prince. Willie says he has a yankee rifle of the newest patent, which shoots eight hundred yards, he has also a colt’s army pistol. Mother used often to laugh and tell Willie he must not dare to come home without Yankee arms; she little thought he would really get them so soon. Though I feel a great deal of sympathy for the hardships Willie must endure, and anxiety about his welfare, yet I cannot help being very much gratified that he is now in a position which I conceive to be the only noble, honourable one a young man can now be engaged in, that is in active service for his country. I am sorry though, that the culpability or ignorance of the high officers rendered his command much less useful then it ought to be. I do not love Willie any more, my tenderness for him could scarcely have admitted increase, but this feeling is now joined with a sort of proud satisfaction that he is now doing his clear and manifest duty; and I am so deeply thankful that this course has resulted in an improvement of his health; may God graciously preserve him unto the end.

Father brought me word yesterday that Mary Stevens and Mrs. Kenison were coming out to spend the night the night with us; Mrs. Kenison was going on the stage to Shreveport, thence by boat to Alexandria to see her husband who is sick. We expected them of course, but the carriage did not drive up until twilight, meeting Mrs. Kenison first after greeting her I turned to Mary, as I supposed, how great was my surprise to see a figure a foot shorter, it was Mrs. Lemmy, who had come with Mrs. Kenison as Mary found she could not leave home, I was so much disappointed, and was not at all consoled by her short note which only said “it is impossible” without any reason for the impossibility; however she promised to come soon, and though that is very indefinite, still it affords some ground for expectation.

I received a delightful letter from Miss Mary Saturday, answered it yesterday, she writes with all the unaffected freedom which is so pleasant in her manners; her letter was ten days on the way. She was very homesick, this I hope has worn off now that she has commenced school and become engrossed in her studies. I shall hope for a letter from Eva next Saturday, shall not hear as often as I expected since the mail leaves Homer but once a week.

It is very cold indeed today, Mrs. Kenison was obliged to rise very early this morning, and from some misunderstanding about the hour the stage started, she was ready three hours or more before the time. She rose at two o’clock, of course we were all awake, I slept no more at all, but lay talking to her until dawn, my usual time for rising. Our room was very warm, and we had a cup of hot coffee at about three, so she was quite comfortable. Her escort as far as Shreveport is Lieut. Henry Holmes, who called for her this morning. I am afraid all her wrappings and hot bricks will hardly prevent suffering from the cold today; it was so clear yesterday evening that we hoped the weather would moderate, but it is even colder today than yesterday, the sun has shone, but water has been freezing all day long, we have a very warm fire in the dining room which has been kept up all day, but though I am only three or four feet from it my right hand is quite numb. Mother has taken a walk to Mrs. Craig’s to warm her, the three little boys are gone with her, and Father and I are here alone, he is quite engrossed in O’Meara’s “Napoleon at St. Helena,” and this, together with a very severe cold, keeps him confined to the fireside. I spent the first part of my afternoon very delightfully in a careful perusal of two of Blair’s lectures on Rhetoric, I think it is such an admirable and agreeable book; I am so fond of the study of Rhetoric and language in every form, and this book is so clear and easy that it is perfectly intelligible and enjoyable even to such a tyro as I am; while it seems to me that its gracefulness and accuracy must be agreeable to the most polished taste.

I forgot to say above that Mrs. Lemmy left about ten o’clock this morning, she is a kind hearted, credulous, talkative little woman, and though full of simplicity, is not free either from affectation or a sort of childlike conceit. There now, I have multiplied adjectives and descriptive nouns enough for the most marvellous heroine of the most commonplace novel; the general resource of those who feel the feebleness of their descriptive powers.


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