Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War

Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War

Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War

Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War

Synopsis

In the summer of 1863 Kate Stone, a twenty-two-year-old refugee from Louisiana, wrote that in Texas she had certainly found "a dark corner of the Confederacy." Excerpts from her diary are among the forty documents dating from the eve of the Civil War to the collapse of the Confederacy, by civilians as well as soldiers in all parts of the state, that make up this lively and informative collection.

Excerpt

In the summer of 1863, a twenty-two-year-old Southern belle named Kate Stone and her family came to Texas as refugees, driven from their plantation in northeastern Louisiana by fighting around Vicksburg. Long accustomed to the comfort, beauty, and charm of life among aristocrats, they were shocked by the backwardness, filth, and ugliness they encountered west of the Sabine. Within the short span of a few weeks, their luxurious world of plantation elegance was replaced by rough‐ hewn log cabins with dirt floors, homely and sweat-stained women, and lazy, unkempt, and largely illiterate frontiersmen in soiled buckskin and tattered homespun, some with dried tobacco juice matted in their beards.

"Oh the swarms of ugly, rough people," Kate wrote in her diary, "different only in degrees of ugliness." in her quest for an explanation, she concluded that there "must be something in the air of Texas fatal to beauty."

Kate's diary abounds with descriptions of barefoot women in unsightly hoop skirts attending church services; "a horrid decoction of burnt wheat" used as a substitute for coffee; brackish drinking water served in "halves of broken bottles"; cracked and broken dinnerware that had been washed in the waste-laden water of a duck pond; and swarms of "redbugs, fleas by the millions, and snakes gliding through the grass by hundreds." More than once Kate confided in her diary that she and her mother seemed to have found "the dark corner of the Confederacy."

Other visitors and newcomers to the Lone Star State during the Civil War decade recorded similar impressions. a young lady with a back-

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