24 May 1863: “to hear once more and it might be for the last time the blending of sweet female voices . . .”


Item: entry, D. Coleman diary, 24 May 1863.


  • D. Coleman is Daniel Coleman.
  • In his entry for Saturday, 23 May, Coleman wrote, “Make a visit to some dear friends – Mrs. Irving, Miss Roe Webster, Mrs I E Moore & Judge Moore – the two latter staying with Mrs I – I had the honor of becoming acquainted with Lt. Genl Hardee’s two daughters – Miss Annie and Miss Sallie – nice and interesting young ladies – my visit was a very pleasant one –”
  • An annotated transcription of the diary by Norman Shapiro, published in The Huntsville Historical Review, 26:2 (Summer-Fall 1999), identifies “Richard” as Lt. Richard Vasser Coleman, Daniel Coleman’s brother; Mrs. Irving as Mrs. Mary Jossey Erwin, wife of Col. Andrew Erwin, and their home Beechwood; Mrs. Letitia Watson Moore, wife of John Edmund Moore (Judge Advocate on General Hardee’s staff), of Florence, Alabama; Miss Roe as Rowena Webster, Mrs. Erwin’s sister; and Lt. Col. Read as Wiley Reed, Provost Marshal on General Hardee’s staff and a Cumberland Presbyterian minister.
  • Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr., includes an excerpt from Coleman’s 24 May diary entry in his book General William J. Hardee: Old Reliable.  He identifies Mrs. Irving as Mrs. Mary Irwin of “Beech Grove, a little village near Wartrace.” Hughes states that Hardee lived at Mrs. Irwin’s home after General Braxton Bragg ordered Hardee to relocate his corps to Wartrace.  The current spelling is Beechgrove.


Sunday 24th

By invitation I go out and breakfast with Mrs Moore – taking Richard with me – Our walk gave us a good apetite and we enjoyed our breakfast hugely – I was almost afraid we would alarm them these hard times, but they are old and dear friends – who cannot be so easily disturbed –

We go with them all to church – myself walking with Miss Roe & Miss Hardee – And have soon after a shady walk we reach the pretty country church –

I enjoyed the service – to hear once more and it might be for the last time the blending of sweet female voices accompanied by a sweet tuned melodeon, brought up pleasant but sad reflections – After dinner we returned Mrs I gave us a delightful lunch – Genl Hardee came in to be with his daughters – It was the first time I had ever met him socially – He is very agreeable and pleasant – a finished polished gentleman – possessing the gentlest feelings, with the stern manliness of the soldier – My short intercourse with him increased my already high opinion of him – He seems to be a tender and affectionate Father – May his life be long spared to his country and family

At night I attend preaching in the 16th Ala – Lt Col Read preached a beautiful and touching sermon on the love of Christ – The sacrament was administered and though I felt unworthy I participated in the solemn service – taking the emblems of the broken body & shed blood of our Savior – Oh may God help me to lead a new life from this time and to renew my covenants with him –

Item Citation: D. Coleman diary, 1863-1864Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Catalog record: http://search.lib.unc.edu/search?R=UNCb2415712

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