Item description: Entry, 23 March 1863, from the diary of Sarah Lois Wadley.
More about Sarah Lois Wadley:
Sarah Lois Wadley was born in 1844 in New Hampshire, the daughter of railroad superintendent William Morrill Wadley (1813-1882) and Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley (1819-1905). Although born in New England, she appears to have been raised in the South, and lived with her family in homes near Amite in Tangipahoa Parish, Monroe and Oakland in Ouachita Parish, La., and near Macon, Ga. Sarah Lois Wadley died unmarried in Monroe County, Ga., in 1920.
[Transcription available below images.]
March 23rd 1863.– I have at last paid my long promised visit to the Bayou. Last Monday Willie drove me to Mrs. Willson’s, and leaving me there, went on to Bastrop. I was a little anxious about my welcome, for I had not seen any of them for several months, and I was not quite sure how they would receive me, but they all welcomed me very warmly indeed, I had intended to return on Tuesday with Willie, but Mrs. Willson and her daughter insisted that I should not, and I found them so agreeable that I consented to prolong my visit until Thursday morning. I will write an exact account of every day, for I have an hour before school-time and I feel quite like writing.
Monday afternoon Miss Julia Willson, Miss Tabitha Scarborough and I went to ride on horseback, we had a delightful ride along the side of the bayou, which is now very high, but oh, how I missed my dear little Mollie as soon as I mounted it seemed so natural to give her the rein and say “get up Mollie”, but instead of her charming galop [sic] my pony paced along very quietly and pleasantly.
We rode about four miles to an Indian mound where we dismounted, tied our horses and ascended the mound, it is situated just at the mouth of bayou de Leard, and we could look down the river some distance. The water looked still and beautiful in the light of the setting sun, over the narrow neck of land just opposite we could see the overflow, a watery expanse, stretching away as far as the eye could reach, it is the plantation of Mr. Goodrich and his house is just opposite the mound. He sent over a flat for us, and we went over to his house for a few moments, here we saw Mrs. Scarborough, who was spending a few days there. Crossing over again, we rode home, did not reach there till it was quite dark, on dismounting from our horses we were met by Dr. Strother, he greeted me warmly as “Miss Sarah”. Tabitha and I exchanged glances, I had just said that evening that I liked to be called “Miss Wadley” by new acquaintances. Dr. Cummings and Mr. Shields were in the house, they took tea and spent the evening. I found their company quite pleasant, I do not like Dr. Cummings much, nor do I think him handsome, perhaps I expect too much from him, but there is an expression of effeminacy and indolence about his mouth that I cannot like. We did not leave the parlour until twelve o’clock that night; the gentlemen remained at Mrs. Willson’s and had a great deer hunt the next day.
Tuesday Julia, Tabitha, and I went into Monroe. We called at Mrs. Judge Bry’s saw Mrs. Mason, she has the most emaciated form, and deathly expression I ever saw on any face. We dined at Mrs. Stevens’.
There was a meeting of the D. D. D’s (a young ladies’ company in Monroe) in the afternoon, after which we went home to Mrs. Willson’s. While were disrobing we heard the voices of Judge Scarborough and Mr. Shields in the hall below, they had just returned from the hunt; we soon descended and heard all the particulars, how they had been several times nearly mired up in the woods, how the party had become separated, and, lastly, how Mr. Shields had seen ten deer and shot several times–without killing one. About half past seven or eight the two doctors arrived, in wofull [sic] plight, and without having had any better success than the others, they soon left for town, but Mr. Shields remained all night.
Wednesday morning we spent quietly at home, I taught Tabitha and Agnes Willson how to nett, they were both very much pleased with the work. In the evening we rode on horseback again, we went through some beautiful woods, where beneath the gray moss which hung from all the old trees, there were many beautiful dogwoods and haw trees, and some jasmines and honeysuckles in full bloom. We gathered some for Mrs. Willson, who is passionately fond of flowers, but these flat woods cannot compare with my beautiful hills.
We returned from our ride very much fatigued, and putting on our calico dresses went into the parlour where I threw myself on one of the sofas which stood invitingly near and the others established themselves comfortably in some arm chairs around, in a few minutes Mrs. Willson and Julia drew up the card table, and insisted that I should join them in a game. I do not like cards, and am perfectly ignorant of the science of playing, but I was obliged to take my seat at the table, we had just commenced playing when we heard a knock at the door, and soon the servant brought up word that several gentlemen were in the hall, this of course created quite a confusion; Mrs. Willson went down and received them, soon they were ushered in and I was introduced to Lieuts. Cobb and Flournoy and Capt. Martin. The evening passed very pleasantly, I was very much pleased with Lieut. Flournoy, found him very agreeable, though his attentions were much confined to Julia.
The gentlemen left late, and my head was not laid on the pillow till one o’clock again.
Thursday morning we went in to Mrs. Stevens. Soon after I arrived there, a steamboat came up with a band of music on board, and was received with shouts of joy. We could not imagine what produced so much excitement,–Mary was not at home, Mrs. Stevens said I must go up on the balcony upstairs, I was reluctant to do so as there was a wounded soldier up there, but she insisted, and I followed her. Lieut. Lacy was on the piazza, his leg supported on a chair, he was all afire with excitement at hearing the martial music. We soon found that all the music and excitement was caused by the fact that Gen. Price was on board; Mary soon returned, and we were all talking about the boat when Mr. Wade and Dr. Cummings came over to see her pass up, we went out on the Piazza and the doctor pointed out the Gen’l to us, he waved his hand very politely. Dr. Cummings told us that Julia and Tabitha went on board with him, and were introduced to the Gen. and his son.
In the afternoon Mary and I took a delightful walk up the river bank, it was just about sunset, and the river was beautiful, the banks too looked so green and all the trees were clothed in the soft verdure of Spring, Mary and I were filled with calm, happy delight, we better acquainted in that one short walk than we would in days of indoor life. I like Mary very much, she is so good in her family, and yet she is by no means dull, as some very good people are.
On our way home we stopped at Mrs. McGuire’s, Mary’s great Aunt, and saw some beautiful flowers. Mr. Ray came in while we were there, he enquired after Father, as every one did who saw me.
Mary and I had quite a race home, and in consequence our dress was somewhat disarranged, my hair was all down, and we remarked while smoothing our hair that we hoped no one would come in during the evening, as we did not feel like dressing. “Come” said Mary, “It is so warm let’s go out on the gallery” “Oh, Yes” I said, and we went out into the hall, who should we see but Dr. Strother standing quietly in the door. I think he must have heard our conversation, for we spoke in quite a loud tone of voice, at first sight of him we stood still in surprise, and then we all three laughed, of course an evening thus commenced could not but be spent agreeably, the doctor stayed till quite late, I was very much pleased with him, he has such frank, pleasant manners, and converses so agreeably.
Friday Miss Sarah Garrett spent the day at Mrs. Stevens’, just as we were rising from the table Mrs. Knox came up to visit Mrs. Stevens, her horses had run away about two miles from Monroe, and could not be stopped until just as they were dashing into the livery stable, they were caught by the keeper; Miss Knox, her daughter, came up soon after, she had been riding on horseback, and was much frightened about her Mother.
Friday evening was spent very pleasantly in conversation and singing. We walked out on the river bank after supper, the sky was bright with stars which were reflected in the glassy surface of the waters, while a house on the opposite bank was brightly reflected with all it’s [sic] lights, and seemed to the excited imagination a beautiful palace on the shore of some peaceful lake.
Saturday Mary and I went out to make some purchases, intending to go down to Major Bry’s afterwards. but we met him and he told us that his little grandchild had died that morning, and that he was just making preparations for it’s [sic] burial, so of course we did not go.
We called at Mrs. Wade’s, spent a very pleasant hour in her company. And then about twelve o’clock, Mary, Miss Knox and I went to Mrs. Garrett’s, where we met Miss Fanny Hardy, and at dinner Col. Bartlett (the Commander of this post who supersedes Gen. Blanchard) and Capt. Thomas.
Miss Hardy is a very pretty young lady, very much like Mrs. Drake in her manners. In the afternoon we were sitting in the parlour when Mrs. Garrett’s little son came in and whispered to his Mother, “Mr. Wm. Wadley has come”, I did not hear what he said, but I did hear Mrs. Garrett when she exclaimed “Miss Wadley, your Pa has come”. I bounded to the door, all agitation and delight, what was my disappointment when I saw Willie instead of Father; he said he did not wish to hurry me, but we would not have time to got home if we did not leave soon, so we took leave of Mrs. Garrett and returned to Mrs. Stevens’ immediately.
Here I found a most beautiful bouquet which Mrs. Wade had sent me.
I bade all goodbye, and left after obtaining a promise from Mary that she would come and spend a week with me as soon as Miss Knox left her. I had passed my week very pleasantly and gaily, but I was glad to be at home again, and see all the loved ones around me.
And Oh how beautiful my dear old hills look to me, all clad in the soft verdure of spring, how dear this Oakland is to me, almost as dear as our old home, from the west windows of the hall the prospect is perfectly beautiful. I ask no other happiness than such a home as this, surrounded by my loved ones, and feeling the pure joy of a heart and conscience at peace with God and the world.
Sunday I was very much fatigued and had a bad head ache in consequence of the late hours and excitement of the past week. Mother, Willie and Eva went to Church, and I spent the greater part of the morning in reading and resting. About one o’clock Johnny Davis and Berk Seale rode up, they remained until the afternoon. Johnny Davis said he was going to Vicksburg on Monday and would take any letters I had to send. I wrote to Father and to Miss Valeria; I had just received a letter from Miss Valeria Saturday morning, I know she will be surprised to get an answer so soon.