February, Monday 29, 1864
The last day of Winter - Gloomy, oh, mercy how dreary, sleeting all day, the shrubery is all bowed to the earth with the weight of Ice - all nature is crowned with it, yet it is so gloomy out. There is some happiness in our household, the two children Mamie and Robert are all life, though like all children, troublesome and noisy from their imprisonment. Father and Cousin Frazor have spent the day reading in the Parlor, while we have, as women generally are, buisy [sic] sewing. I fixed Laura's new dress waiste. [sic] The Servants have done little except to try to keep warm and keep fires in the house. We have seen no one today, therefore have heard nothing later from our glorious Victory. God bless our noble soldiers, and protect them from this miserable bad weather -
Tate and Cousin Sallie both very much disapointed not being able to go to Memphis. Laura and I as usual sat up late. I drew the pattern on my swiss to braide , she ruffling her Apron - I finished the book of Luke.
January - November, 1864
29, Misery in Civil War Bradley County
Destitution in Bradley County.
Office of Public Charity,
Cleveland, Tenn., Feb. 29, 1864
Permit me, through the columns of your paper, and other Union papers in Tennessee, to call attention to the condition of families of Union soldiers in this county (Bradley).
On the arrival of the Detached Division of the 15th army corps, General Matthis, commanding, there was found to be the greatest destitution prevailing throughout this region of country. I was detailed, by the General commanding, to open an office in this place to receive and examine applications, and endeavor partially to relieve the universal want from our meagre [sic] supply of army stores. As the wants of the army had to be the first consideration, it left but little to relieve the wants of destitute citizens, but we have been giving them what little could be spared.
This country has been so completely ravaged by the rebels that those who were in good circumstances have nothing left with which to aid their needy neighbors--all are destitute.
Most of those who have been applicants for aid are females, and nearly all of them have husbands, sons or brothers in the Union army, either in Nashville or Knoxville, or in the vicinity of those places. For want of mail facilities or other means of intercommunication, they do not so much as hear from their friends in the army, and of course have received very little pecuniary aid from them.
But if they had money in the greatest abundance there is nothing to buy. If the little supply we are giving them is cut off, as it probably must be, very soon, I see nothing but starvation before many of these poor people. They cannot long live here, and my purpose in writing these few lines is to ask (unsolicited) if there cannot be some arrangement made by which the wives and children of soldiers in our army can be got to some place where remittances from their friends in the army can reach them, and where they can obtain at least a precarious living until these troublous times are over. Let me say that the Unionism of these people has been proved in the fire.
I am a perfect stranger to these people--have been among them but a few days, and expect to leave them to-morrow, probably never to see them again in this world. All that I have said for them is perfectly disinterested in me and unsolicited by them.
W. G. KEPHART, Chaplain 10th Iowa Infantry.
Nashville Daily Union, March 10, 1864.