18, "When will the day of peace come?" Mrs. Estes reflections upon the war
I attended Church today, heard a sermon by Rev. Gillespie, the minister of my childhood.
The dear friends of my childhood are scattered and gone, some to the grave, but mostly like myself have linked their fortunes with another. Yet I meet with many in our old church who are dear to me and bring back the days of my girlhood. The happiest of these I spent with my lover often wandering side by side for hours, all unconscious of the rapidly flying hours. Ah! We dreamed not then of such a time as this, that after years of labor and toil for success in life, the rude hand of war would come upon us and blast our brightest hopes. It is not a wonderful providence that we cannot see into the future? If we could have seen this dark hour we could not have been so happy with all my dear husband's care and struggles to establish himself in his profession, we have been as happy as is allotted to mortals.
I hope we may again be settled in our home with our darling around us. That will be a happy day for us. May we not forget to thank the Lord.
This has been another beautiful Sabbath. The last Friday was appointed by our President [Davis] as a day of fasting and prayer. I did not mention it in the proper place because I did not know of it, not having received any paper that gave us the information. I have no doubt many were like us, as all mail communications are quite irregular. But we pray that Our Father will hear the prayer of those who met to humble themselves before Him. Oh!! That God would say to the destroying Angel that is passing over us, "Cease, thus far shall thou go and no farther." When will the day of peace come?
Estes's Diary, May 18, 1862.
19, "Opening [sic] of the Northwestern Railroad."
By invitation, a large number of influential gentlemen assembled at the depot of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad at 6 o'clock on Thursday morning for the purpose of celebrating the opening of that important route to the west and northwest by a trip to the Tennessee river, a distance of seventy-eight miles.
Forty minutes having been consumed in storing away a car load of creature comforts for the inner man during the day, and making other necessary preparations, the word was given, and the train whirled away over the trestle work toward the beautiful Tennessee. Company C, tenth [sic] Tennessee infantry, Captain Philips, accompanied the party as a guard, and the brass band of the same regiment honored the occasion by discoursing airs patriotic, pathetic, and enlivening, at every station or stopping place throughout the trip.
Having got well under way, we took a survey of those composing the party, and recognized his recognized his Excellency Gov. Johnson, Comptroller Jos. S. Fowler, Col. Browning, His Honor the Mayor of Nashville, Recorder Shane, Hon. M. M. Brien, Attorney, Gen. Stubblefield, Gen. R. S. Granger and his Adjutant General Capt. Nevin, Col. Scully, 10th Tennessee Infantry, Cole Thompson, John Clark, and Fladd [sic], Capt. Maurice P. Clarke, W. S. Cheatham, Esq., E. B. Garrett, Esq., and many others.
As may be imagined, there was not much to attract attention on either side of the road, it being cut, for the most part, through a wild uncultivated country; yet the scenery was pretty and the air pure -- a pleasure and a blessing always grateful to the denizen of a city. Newsom's place is very near, and his substantial rock dwelling corresponds with the goodness of his heart, as well as his taste in industry. The road is an excellent one, and is well laid, the wheels gliding smoothly over it. There are numerous bridges of various dimensions, the trestle work of some being from fifty to eight seven feet high; the Harpeth river is crossed five times in a very few miles, some of the bridges being very long, and all of them well guarded by troops, some white, other black, infantry, cavarly, and artillery, and strong stockades and fortifications; one of the stockades, built by the tenth [sic] Tennessee Infantry, under the direction of Col. Scully, is the strongest, neatest, and best, we have ever seen.
For twenty five or thirty miles, much of the country is under cultivation, the soil being tolerably productive; but beyond that, until you reach Waverly, sixty seven miles distant from Nashville, there are only a few "clearings," and these chiefly in the neighborhood of the Irish settlement. On reaching Waverley, a salute was fired by the first Kansas battery, under direction of Captain Terry, and everywhere on the road, when troops were stationed, the men were drawn up in review, with arms presented as the train passed.
At one o'clock we reached the Tennessee river, and all walked to the bluff for the purpose of feasting their eyes upon the beauties of nature with which that river abounds. On the opposite side is a dense forest, extending as far as they eye can reach; the water is smooth as glass, and all nature is hushed. At this point the river is 903 feet wide at low water mark, and there is at least four feet [of] water at all seasons of the year.
Nashville Dispatch, May 21, 1864.