Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3/5/13 TCWN

5, 1862, Negligent officers, rain and warm breakfast; an entry from the diary of William E. Sloan, Pvt. C. Co., 3rd, (Lillard's) Infantry CSA

We were ordered back to Knoxville yesterday evening near sunset, but owing to pure negligence on the part of the officers in charge of our detachment the train which was there to bring us to K. [sic] was allowed to come off and leave us, and we had to march through on foot. We took the railroad track and came on until midnight, when it grew very dark and commenced raining, and the men became so scattered that they could not be collected together again, for it was so dark that we could not follow the railroad without danger of being killed at bridges and stock-gaps. Many of the men found shelter from the pouring rain in barns and houses, but I was not so lucky. Myself and one comrade (George Oneal) failed to find shelter and after he had fallen into one stock-gap and was considerably bruised, we felt our way into the thick woods and lay down close together to wait for morning. Though thoroughly drenched with rain, we got some sleep, and when morning came we were glad to move along to get up some circulation. The first house we came to we asked for a warm breakfast, which was granted with that hearty good will be known only among good southern people. On entering the front door the first object I discovered was Bro. Jim's cap hanging on the hat-rack, from which I knew he was in the breakfast room. He had arrived alone. After our good breakfast we three came on to Knoxville in the best of humor, and the detachment came scattering in.

Diary of William E. Sloan. [1]



5, Soiree and ball in Confederate Chattanooga at "la Chatteau Krouge"

Not a "jumping jack" exactly-but an enthusiastic tripper of the "light fantastic." Months ago, "Bustamente" and your humble servants had the good fortune to receive an invitation to a Soiree dansante at "la Chatteau Krouge,"[sic] among the classic Cumberland Highlands. The Chatteau [sic] was thronged with the elite of the beauty and fashion of the time. Dulcet music from the timbrel, the lute, the triangle and the twanging banjo made the atmosphere mellifluous and...the brilliancy of which was only excelled by the sparkle of perilous glances, made the scene a very bright one.

Was ushered into an ante-chamber; was divested of my over-all and chapeau; was made to drink copiously of the fiery beverage of the season; was dragged thence by the elbow into a room full of moving couples, and was presented to an aerial bird of paradise, robed in tutle [sic] and gauze, who bowed to me with enchanting grace.

The first querry I shot at her:-"'Gaged for next set?"

"Yes, sir!" and she immediately renewed a conversation she had been successfully sustaining with half a dozen gallants surrounding her all at a time.

Here was a poser. There was no chance to get a word in edge-ways, nor to have it answered rationally if I did. My chaperone was gone, and I stood like a...candidate left out in the wet-feeling for my kneck-tie [sic] with one hand, and my pocket handkerchief with the other. Just then the awkwardness of position was somewhat rudely relieved by a couple from the set, returning backward, from "forward two," the frailer vessel of the convoy, bearing hull down against me with a concussion so violent that I was pitched headlong into the tap[?] of the bird of paradise. She screached [sic] a little scream, and I bounded up like sh t [sic] off a shovel. Gallants dispersed, cramming their handkerchief in their mounts-either to keep from laughing, or else they went to take "drink all round."

Again I apostrophised [sic] bird of paradise: "how many sets ''gaged for?"

She told me "about forty nine"-and I secured her fortieth-sheered off and drew up alongside another prize whom I secured in the next quadrille. Then began a lively dance. The gentle musician, an "American of African descent," enlivened the inspiring strains with innumerable vocal improvisations, such as "r-r-ti-tum, tiddy-liddy raddle, adle-ladie-and "kill yo' sef" [sic] as the scraping of slipper and pump shuffled merry time to the "delightful measures." Round we went in a perfect whirl of excitement, through and back, in and out, up and down, while the prompter at the top of his lungs kept rolling the white of his oculars and yelling out "lead up to the right," with a "ri-tum tiddy leddle addle, ledle, and t u r n [sic] yo' podner."

Just here, in a breathing spell, I tried my conversational powers upon my fair companion-subject [sic], "the weather." Had got so far as to suggest that the evening was quite spring like and balmy-when we "swung corners." My partner returning, asked me what it was I had said about Alabama. I was about to explain, when she made a bayonet thrust at my with her fan, and then laughing immoderately and mischievously, pointed it over my shoulder. I turned to discover a little sylph floating back and forth at me, (I don't know how long she had been in motion) and instinctively my feet took a double shuffle, and I turned the little danseuse [sic] and again tried to open up a conversation.

Did you ever indulge in small talk at a dancing party? Verily it is the most insipid of all small things. The ball-room is a Bable of unintelligible jargon, as different of comprehension as the signs of the Zodiac to a blind man. The ladies seldom if ever talk to each other on such occasions-the men always do-in groups; with accompanying winks, nudges, etc., that cannot appear on paper.

Much more is said, and much less that is, is ever remembered at such a time, than any other. Everybody talks to his partner, and everybody's partner talks to everybody and, all they say is nothing. Ever since the Western girl remarked at an Arkansas ball: "Here, Sir, hold my tater twell [sic] I trot a reel with this here feller with the store clothes," such has been the characteristic literature of the Quadrille.

You address a remark, which, if in a tone of voice happens to rise superior to the din of the fiddles, is as likely to be taken by anybody else's partner as your own. A remark is addressed to you, only half of which you happen to catch and comprehend, and you are consequently mystified for the balance of the sets. If you seek an explanation, you will discover, that the remark aforesaid was "oh! Nothing," or "I believe I forget now, what I did say," and so you are more curious and mystified than ever. But enough for the dance.

Among the current on dits [sic] of the hom [sic], I learn this evening that a grand Festival in honor of a distinguished man, is in contemplation, by the young men of the town. It will be announced. Probably, in a few days.

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, March 5, 1863.




5. Confederate expatriates from Memphis begin their trek south

March, Saturday 5, 1864


Nonconnah has fallen at last, and crowds of wagons [sic] are passing, loaded with provisions, in exchange for their cotton. Joanna and Cousin S. went to town this morning. Mr. Wilson came early and staid until after dinner with us. Tate, Helen, Nannie & Decatur all spent the day sewing in my room, Decatur excepted [sic] of course from the sewing-we had a pleasant time. Only this morning I did wish I was a man. I never read a more insulting note in my life than Father received from Dr. Malone. I will not stain the page of my book writing of such a dog, and hope God will give me strength to forgive it-

Cold Water and all streams below so high that we have no communication with Dixie-therefore have heard no news today. I would give anything if I could send the things I have for the poor soldiers-poor fellows, I know they need them-would to heaven I had money to get all I could bring through the lines. I finished my dress today, and made Laura a beautiful apron. 12 o'c [sic], no Beulah yet. Laura, Tippie Dora & I alone, they asleep.


Diary of Belle Edmondson


[1] TSL&A Civil War Collection, Confederate Collection, Diary of William E. Sloan, mfm 154. [Hereinafter cited as: Diary of William E. Sloan.]


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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