October 1860

October 1, 1860

Monday morning.  Got into Pensacola [Florida] early. The navy yard [is] about 9 miles away. [We shall have to stay here 2 days in quarantine. I shall have a chance of seeing the place.] City low, not much [of a city but it] has a fine harbor. [I feel bad.] I am sick with the diarrhea.

Went on shore with [John H.] Hogue from Tallahassee [who is a] nephew of Major Hayward’s. Got some brandy & felt better. [See some] porpoises in [the] harbor. We stay here two days. I feel bad. I want to see Major Ward. I like [love] him. After dinner, went over into the city. It is a miserable place; old, dirty looking, and the roughest place [people] I ever saw. It was Election Day. Found my two friends – Hogue and the fireman from New York. [Took several drinks.] Went to the polls. There was a fight. Came upon the [ship] steward prostrated.

Saw [Robert Benjamin] Hilton, the Democratic candidate for Congress. He was a pleasant looking man, but has a rum spotted face [nose]. We all were pretty tight. Came to the [steam]boat for supper. After, went [back] over to a hotel drinking, talking politics. We stopped a fight, drank several times, got some oysters, [and] came back to the [steam]boat about 10. Went to bed. Rainy & blowing hard. The only good looking building in Pensacola is the Custom house. Churches are poor miserable looking affairs.

October 2, 1860

Rainy [and] breeze blowing strong. Major Hayward sick.

Went over in town [this] afternoon with [Brother Jonathan] Hogue, to the Billiard rooms. Got acquainted with [two] Cubans that were on the [steam]boat. We got tight [drunk]. Staid at a saloon with two sailors that had been [ship]wrecked [playing & drinking] till 2 in [the] morning. [I did not play. I spent all my loose change 2.00.]

October 3, 1860

Rainy in morning. We propose going this morning. The wind is high & blowing toward the shore. Major Hayward was anxious about us last night. He thought we had gotten into some trouble. Left Pensacola about 8 in the morning. Went down to the navy yard. At the passage, two old batteries were frowning [down upon us.] There are 4 in all. Outside [the shelter of the harbor,] the sea was awfully rough. The [steam]boat pitched up & down, and turned on her side [whereupon] we put back into [the protection of] the navy yard harbor. Talking with the Spaniards. Rained hard all day. Reading & playing cards [till 12]. [John] Hogue won about 7 or 8 dollars. I did not play for money.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described this aborted sea voyage in a piece that he wrote for a Northern newspaper the following year. It read:]

We passed [out of the Pensacola harbor entrance] — on either side were frowning forts which have become noted in the late war. We shot out under full sail and steam among the buoys — black and red — bobbing and rolling in the bubbling tide. There was a high wind and the gulf was unusually rough.

Fitful storm clouds, black and their upper edge shimmered over with grayish white, flitted hurriedly over the sky. Way out into the gulf as far as the eye could reach, wave after wave came rolling, dashing in, throwing the surf high in the air… The vessel plunged and careened like a tub. The skipper though best to turn about and put back into the harbor, which was gratifying news to the ladies who had never been on the sea before. In coming about, we received the full blast of the waves and wind on our larboard side. The vessel rolled and pitched, plunging the upper deck down among the roaring waves, now plowing with her bow and dashing the waves and spray over the deck, and now lifting it high out of the water to plunge deeper again.

After a great deal of laboring, we finally passed the channel and came to anchor near an old frigate, dingy and black, which lay housed and inactive off the navy yard.

October 4, 1860

Started this morning about sunrise. The sea [was] not quite so rough. [It was] beautiful; the clouds in some places black and again light, gleaming with gold & purple. Sick all day with the diarrhea. [For awhile I felt very miserably.] [The steam]boat rolled a good deal. Many [nearly all] were sick. A little after sundown, [we] made the mouth of the [Mississippi] river. [Lucas Pass.] Sailed up as far as quarantine [station] about 30 miles. Stopped all night [and was] nearly killed by the mosquitoes. You could tell the difference in the smell of sea water & [Mississippi] river.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described this segment of his trip up the Mississippi River in a piece that he later wrote for a Northern newspaper. It read:]

Toward sunset one day we spied the low land at the mouth of the Mississippi and we entered the Pass St. Lucas before it was dark. The lighthouse and the huts of the fishermen rose grimly in the pale and fading sunlight. The earth rising just above the water’s edge, sometimes bare and muddy, and sometimes covered with dense patches of willow.

We came to the quarantine station and the gloomy melancholy toll of the bell struck dismally upon the ear. Several vessels were near, raising their huge black sides above the water, which had staid out the number of their days and were to move up the river in the morning. Though the river smell is not considered disagreeable, but it was less pleasant than the gulf. I never passed such a restless night as this one. The number of mosquitoes was endless and their ferocity knew no bounds. Some of the passengers were groaning in their berths and others patiently walking the deck the livelong night, smoking their pipe or cigarette.

October 5, 1860

Rose rather early on account of the mosquitoes. The banks [of the river] here are as flat as can be; [there are] willows on the shore. [It is a] dreary [looking] place. [We could hear the] toll of the quarantine bell. Looked like death. [We] started about ½ [past] seven after the doctor came on board [to examine the passengers].

The river is scarcely a mile wide [and] yellow. In some places, [the banks are] flat without trees as far as the eye can reach; some [are] lined with willows and sycamores. [We saw] plantations of sugar cane extending for miles in rich green. The master’s house & the slave’s quarters (small white houses) in a line or opposite [each other] like a street surrounded by rich growth of orange trees, a good deal of the little palm, giant sycamores & gum [trees] covered with moss. Here and there [were seen] a long stretch of thick wood & a continual repetition of similar plantations rendered the scene beautiful but monotonous.  [The] negro houses [were] made of wood [painted] white with porticos. [They] looked like a little village. The sugar cane looks [something] like the palm. Some of the residences are pretty. The white double veranda peeps out from the large orange groves. The soil is a rich clay. [The] river is dyked about 2 feet high, sometimes by slaves. The level of the land is somewhat above the river now. They say that however high the river [rises] above, it seems not to have any effect down here. It winds [but] sometimes takes a sharp angle.

[We] passed the [1812] battle ground just on the south edge of New Orleans [and] got into the city about 2; steamboats all along the shore. Went with Major Hayward to the St. Charles Hotel. [I experienced] innumerable difficulties getting my baggage out [of the steamboat] until I had given the baggage man a quarter. The hotel is a magnificent building; lofty Corinthian columns up beyond the second story.

Carte-de-visite of St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans

“I sat the rest of the afternoon on the stately porch of the St. Charles.” — RLG

Walked out, saw Free & Huyck the Fireman – the last had gotten a place on the Jackson Railroad. In the Billiard’s Saloon. The shipping stretched along both shores. Went to the Academy of Music. [Attended a concert] in evening to hear [black] minstrels. Went to bed about 12.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described his visit to New Orleans in a piece that he wrote for a Northern newspaper in 1861. It read:]

About three o’clock in the afternoon, we came up at the dock in the Crescent City. Extending all along the river, between the buildings and the dock, was a wide strip — unoccupied except with here and there, boxes and barrels. And scattered over the ground were bales of cotton, on which were flying the innumerable little flags of their consignees. The city away to the east and north, here and there a spire towering above the surrounding buildings, or one more massive than the rest lifting its huge roof into the air. I sat the rest of the afternoon on the stately porch of the St. Charles [Hotel] watching the busy people, and [listening to] the deadly rumble of the drays over the iron bridges of the street.

The next morning I visited the French portion of the city and I seemed to have been transported in an hour’s walk out of the limits of the American people. Little Frenching, standing in the door and pleasantly smiling, asks if you wish anything. Behind the counter is an active clerk, flying about and rattling off his French to his customers. Pictures, books, and cones without end.

Carte-de-visite of Henry Clay Statue on corner of Canal and St. Charles in New Orleans. At center, in the distance, is the St. Charles Hotel.

October 6, 1860

Got up about 8 [and] went round the city. [Saw the new] statue of [Henry] Clay on Canal Street. [In] Jackson Square, [saw Jackson’s] monument of bronze. [He sits] on horseback, standing on [its] hind legs. Saw one of the [steam]boat passengers – a Cuban. [Saw one of the boat passengers — the French one from Louisiana, but living in Alabama. Walked around considerably.] Came [down] to the boat [upon which I was to take passage up the Mississippi River] about 12. [John Hogue has not got a place. While there,] saw a boat come in with cotton. Left [the levy at New Orleans] about 5. [Low boats along side of us.]

[We had] a most beautiful sunset – golden sky, reflected on the water & then again on the eastern sky. The river is abruptly crooked. Some places look as if they cannot stand [live] long. The country [above] is different than the country below New Orleans. The sugar plantations do not look so fine. Two ladies by the name of Ball [are] on board [our steamboat]. We four [the two ladies, Major Hayward, and myself] make all the passengers now. [They are] rather fine looking [young] ladies. They are from the North & are going to the north of Louisiana.

Sat observing the [boat]men [working]; the lowest class & hardest working are the most irreligious.

The streets of New Orleans are finely paved with flat stones about 18 inches square. The [street] gutters are crossed by flat iron planks & when the [hacks and] carts cross [them, they] make an awful [rumbling] noise. The part of the city below Canal Street is the French part [is French Town]. The picture shops have many fancy pictures. At the book stand just below the main floor of the St. Charles [hotel], [are] books of [the] worst character. Landed in the night to get wood; [there is a] fire on the shore & torches on the boat. [There is a] string of men running from [wood] pile to boat. [Was exciting.] Interesting.

The St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, ca. 1860

“At the book stand just below the main floor of the St. Charles, are books of the worst character.” — RLG

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich’s description of this segment of his journey, written for a Northern newspaper, follows:]

Now I left the ocean steamer for one of those sailing hotels of the Mississippi. New Orleans and its shipping gradually faded away. The river winds abruptly and the jutting peak of mud extends far out into the stream, I sat watching the golden sunset and the reflection upon the water as it faded into deep twilight…

The whistle was blown as if we had come to a landing. There was a bright light burning on the shore and I could see dusky forms moving about in the dark and flittering shadow. Beyond, all was dark. I could see no appearance of a town. Soon the lights of pine shot up into a red glow on the boat and I could see great piles of wood, to and from which to the boat the workmen were running laden with it.

The banks of the river rise gradually higher as we ascend. The river was low and I could barely look over the levee from the pilot’s deck.

October 7, 1860

Sunday. Got up rather late [and found that we were] beyond Baton Rouge. Saw alligators along the shore, but little sugar [is raised] here. Point Coupee is about the terminus [of the sugar cane fields]. The banks of the river are getting gradually higher [and there are] more forests along the shore than below New Orleans. [The trees are] gigantic cottonwoods & sycamores. The cottonwood looks a good deal like the poplar. One side of the bank is irregular by the wash of the river.

The captain [of our steamboat] amused us with stories of pistol shooting. [Later, we had] a boat [pull] alongside with wood. We passed the mouth of a stream and a ridge of mounds.

For a distance, the shore is covered with small cottonwoods. On the other side, [there are] large trees covered with moss. Passed several bluffs, not high. Met two boats; one passed us.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described this segment of his journey in a piece that he wrote for a Northern newspaper in 1861. It read:]

A few miles above Baton Rouge, the plantations of sugar, glorying in their luxuriance of greens, give place to the smaller plant of the cotton and the less southern feature of corn. A few alligators appeared among the roots and logs on the shore. They were exceedingly timid, and the moment I fired a rifle at them, they immediately sank into the water.

We came into the region of one of the grandest trees of the Mississippi – the cottonwood – towering above the surrounding trees. There and then in clusters were growing the sycamore and tupelo around which blossoming convolvulus were entwining their huge trunks. Occasionally I could see the little towns away from the river, some of them Spanish and French looking, with white and green low wooden houses almost shut out from view by the rich vegetation growing around.

Got acquainted with a fellow from Virginia by the name of G. Calvin Powell belonging to the F. F. V. (first families of Virginia). Rainy. River very low. At Natchez about dark, [which sits] on a bluff. Sat talking with the ladies till quite late. [Sounding while crossing a bar.] [The man from] Virginia wanted me to feel of his sides under his shirt. I did. On both sides the hair was growing out stiff & long like the fins of a fish!

October 8, 1860

Up at half past six. Banks high. At Vicksburg at 9. Went on shore with the ladies and Major Hayward. Went up a long steep hill to the hotel, one [lady] on my arm, the other on his. It is quite a pretty place. It is on high ground on a side hill. On the apex of one hill is a house with 4 towers [and] a beautiful yard. It is a picturesque place. A Virginian lives there. [The Yazoo is a small stream.]

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described Vicksburg in a piece that he wrote for a Northern newspaper in 1861. It read:]

Vicksburg, built on a bluff I saw far down the stream. There are several bluffs, rising gradually from the water. On one of these backed of any port of the town stands a gray looking building, towers rising on the four corners and cupola of the Italian style rising above all. The grounds extend down to the waters edge, terraced and covered with flowers or divided into irregular figures covered with magnolias and oranges, the prongy limits of the cactus and the palmetto.

The Ball’s are going to Shiloh, Union Parish [LA], probably to teach. [They are] quite pretty and intelligent girls. I like them & feel sorry to part. Such is the nature of traveling. Friendships formed soon, rapidly broken. Major [Hayward] soon leaves [the steamboat too] and I will be alone. He has asked me to come and see him. His landing is Milliken’s Bend, or Millikinsville.

The Major has [just] left [the boat and it is] one o’clock. [Milliken’s Bend] is quite a place on a high bank. I am feeling badly. [I] mounted the hurricane deck & waved my cap to him. About 30 miles above Milliken’s Bend is a place called Goodrich’s Landing. A man by the name of Goodrich settled [here and] has become rich & influential. [He] is from the North. Talked and drank with the Virginian [named Powell].

October 9, 1860

Cold. Had to put on my overcoat. Several more passengers [came on board]. The Virginian is a clever fellow.

At Gaine’s Landing about nine. Drinking all day.

Got at Napoleon [the place for going up to Little Rock] in P.M.  [No boats running up.] Fell in with a fellow from the North putting up engines. [He] did not like the South. [The man from] Virginia is a queer fellow, rather eccentric. Nothing new [in the scenery. The Arkansas River is very small]. Napoleon [is a] bad place [and] small. There is a [large building there said to be a college or] hospital. [A great] many on board — a rough [looking] set.

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described Napoleon in a piece he wrote for a Northern newspaper the following year. It read:]

One afternoon we landed at Napoleon, a place noted in Arkansas history for its blacklegs and the numberless shooting affrays. The people I saw on shore some dark, savage looking men, others sallow and thin looking as if just arisen from the rack of fever and ague. There is a U.S., but now C.S., Hospital standing to one side of the little village. From the shore, I could hear the landsmen calling to each other in the western parlance and pronunciation & out of their jargon I could distinguish the words, broad and clear, when heard from a western mouth never to be forgotten, whar and thar.

October 10, 1860

Did not sail all night on account of the fog. [There are a] considerable number [of passengers] on board. Playing cards with some [Arkansas] Mississippi sharpers. [The man from] Virginia and I are partners. They beat us awfully. Cheated!

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described this segment of his journey on the Mississippi River in a piece he wrote for a Northern newspaper the following year. It is probably an exaggeration of the truth. It reads:]

As we came along the Arkansas line, the boat became crowded [with] many well-to-do planters, some foppishly arrayed, and a wild restless eye bespoke the sharpers and Mississippi gamblers. In different parts of the boat they were sitting in fours or twos with cards before them, the money piled upon the table, sometimes but a few dollars, sometimes hundreds, on whose dark faces one could see the fitful varying emotions of fear and anxiety, and sometimes almost of despair. I watched them, not a willing witness of what was going on. Men, regular gamblers, with all kinds of tricks of the trade were filching innocent men who seemed unconscious of his partner’s frauds.

Around one table were — from their appearances — old and hardened gamblers. Two, older than the others, appeared to labor to beat the other two, who were young, but from their manner one could well judge they understood the science of gambling. The younger party detected a false play in the old opponent whereupon the latter denied it and called the young one a liar. It was a word fight for some time, but becoming enraged, both from passion and the liquor they had drunk, caring nothing for their friends who were endeavoring to reconcile them, the older one drew his pistol and fired, just grazing the younger’s face. And before he could draw another, the younger was upon him with his long bowie knife, for which Arkansas is so much noted, and grabbed him by the throat. But before his blade plunged to the heart, his arm was grasped by half a dozen persons, both separated and carried to their rooms. I saw no more of them that night we got into Memphis, and probably they fought it out with pistols and knives at their next meeting.

At Helena about eleven. [It is a] small town. [Sits] back from the river [on] high ground. River so low, [hard to get up, full of bars, dingy, smoky, & dry].  Gamblers playing, came to hard words; nothing serious. Lost some. Will get into Memphis about 12. Got there about eleven in night. Took a hack & went to all the hotels [but could find] no room. Came back & slept on the [steam]boat.

October 11, 1860

[Arose] early about six. Went to [the] ferry for [railroad] cars. Sick. [Took] the railroad about 40 miles to Madison [Arkansas]. [It was] awfully rough. [From there,] took the stage about 130 miles [to Little Rock, Arkansas]. The fare from Memphis to Little Rock was about $80; my trunk was so heavy, I had to pay 13 dollars for it [on the stagecoach while] my fare was 15 dollars. Going over a rough ridge. Dr. Wheat [from Little Rock] was on [the stagecoach with me].

[Editor’s Note: Goodrich described this journey from Memphis to Little Rock in a piece that he wrote for a Northern newspaper the following year. It read:]

The next morning I crossed the river for central Arkansas – not many years ago the “far west.”  A small portion of the way was by railroad, outrageously rough, winding through deep forests of cottonwood, hickory, and pecan — the monotony only relieved by some more majestic than the others around which the vines three or four inches in diameter were clinging and winding to the top most branches …

After descending a rough ridge which stretches almost parallel with the river, the flower prairies of Arkansas burst upon our view. It was the first time I was on a prairie. A sea of buffalo grass was waving and sparkling in the sun as far as the eye could reach, with here and there an islet of wood standing against the sky.

There was no sign of cultivation or of being inhabited except at the stations where a family contrives to live by the custom which travelling brings. Far away, near a patch of wood, several deer were quietly grazing. It is not a common sight. Such game being further west or concealed in the thick growth of wood in the bottom lands or on the hills.

At set of sun one evening, we crossed the river in a flat ferry-boat and entered Little Rock, an active and withal a pretty place. There are many northerners living here, some who have families born here and who have become southerners, in fact, and others who still have a desire – though not a public one – to reach the north, the mecca of their happiness.

October 12, 1860

[The] country [here is] wild; [the stagecoach route] through woods & on prairie. [We arrived] at Little Rock about seven. Saw Mr. Mathews.

An advertisement for Singer Sewing Machines in the Arkansas Weekly Gazette on 27 October 1860 identifying Charles T. Pine as agent

October 13, 1860

[There were] three agreeable companions on the stage – a young man by the name of [Charles T.] Pine from New York going to Little Rock as agent for Singer’s Sewing Machine; a traveling clerk from a New York firm by the name of Drinker; and a fellow from South Carolina by the name of Prothro. Mr. Mathews came down, got a hack, and got me to [Captain & Mrs. Syberg’s, which will be] my boarding house. I feel bad. Went around the place some. Came across [my traveling companions] Drinker & Pine. Afternoon, went hunting with Henry Watkins. Evening, went to Mr. Mathews room in the school house. [He has deceived me some in regard to the salary] I cannot make more than $400 [per year] at most. [He rather thinks he wished he had not written for me.] He says if I can get another better place, he will let me go. I am homesick. I’m sitting in the dining room all alone [writing]. It is cold. My board will cost $20 a month & I will have to pay my washing & fuel besides.

October 14, 1860

Sunday. At church & Sunday school had a class; Mr. Mathews is the Superintendent. Afternoon, he came for me to take a walk. Called on lawyer [J. W.] Faust. Evening, went to church

October 15, 1860

In school. [Editor’s note: See roster at bottom of web page.] Got along well. Not far advanced. One class in Caesar, Geometry, Algebra. Went to [post] office. Saw my friends. Wrote letter home.

October 16, 1860

In school.  Homesick. Went to see if I could send a check home; could not. Sent letter home. Tomorrow Captain Syberg & Mr. Walsh, a minister, start for Fort Smith. Mr. Walsh is a pleasant man boarding here [at Syberg’s]. He was sick & took brandy. He said that when he was in the army, he was temperate; when teaching, abstentious; but when he became a preacher, he took to grog. Evening, drank Catawba with Captain [Syberg].

October 17, 1860

School going off finely. Got a letter from New York Fellows and one from home. Both went to Tallahassee [and were forwarded here]. Mr. Mathews sick. Had the whole school [by myself in the] afternoon. After school, went up to see him. Went to hear a political speaker – Colonel Sam Reid from New Orleans [stumping] for [John C.] Breckinridge. Not good.

October 18, 1860

In school. Mr. Mathews down, face badly bruised [scratched]. Saw pictures at Mrs. Syberg’s. [Captain Syberg] was a Baron in Prussia – Baron von Arnold Syberg was his real name [and had to leave on account of a duel]. He was a Captain in the Mexican War [and] is now the Engineer of this State. Mrs. Syberg was brought up with Bayard Taylor. I read some letters from him to her. Learned considerable about him. She is a great talker & they have some valuable books.

October 19, 1860

In school. Evening, down street. Met lawyer Faust. [Went] over to Mr. Mathews’ room [and] staid till after nine. Had a long talk with him. He has bought land in the state. He likes it & thinks I can do well here.

October 20, 1860

Reading. Morning, started to go down street. Met Pine. Came in with him & talked a long time. Introduced him to Mrs. [Edith] Syberg. Went down street with him. Went over the [Arkansas] River with him to get some pecans. [They] grow on trees similar to hickory [nuts]. Came back about dinner time. Afternoon, wrote letter to [cousin] Lucy Stratton & one to [my sister] Augusta. After tea, took them to the [post] office. It has been quite warm today & pleasant. I begin to like the country better & better. I hope I may be pleased with it.

October 21, 1860

Sunday. At Sunday school. At church. Evening, went to Mr. Mathews’ room.

October 22, 1860

In school. Evening, went to [post] office. Henry Watkins here. Played cards, reading & writing. Mr. Mathews’ lady love died here about a year ago & he says that he has given up that feeling now.

October 23, 1860

In school. Did not feel well. Evening, got a letter from [Victor E.] Manget. Mr. Mathews came & wanted to know if I wanted to join the Bell & Everett Club. I went down and joined.

October 24, 1860

It has been quite & pleasant today, without fires. Fred Syberg – about 7 years old – told his Ma that he would marry her when his father died. He asked what should he do when his mother died [and] was told he would have to get another. I asked a boy in school today what an even number was. He said it was one which hadn’t an odd left. Went down [the street] & got a check for $140. Paid $1.40. Wrote a letter home. Will send it & check tomorrow. Henry Watkins here a little time, so Cam Watkins.

October 25, 1860

In school. Quite warm. I am feeling miserable. I do not think I take exercise enough. Sent off my letter with check today [to Owego]. Some of the boys [in my school] are very dull.

October 26, 1860

In school. Many of the boys [have] gone down to hear the political speech for [John] Bell. At twelve, I went [too]. [Heard a] speaker by the name of John R. Fellows, originally from the North. [He was a] beautiful speaker, [though a] short fellow, not as tall as I. In evening, went down & joined in the torchlight procession. Came up a rain storm, [but] did not get wet much.

Mrs. [Edith] Syberg said that a woman in Chester – a regular rattle-brained busy-body – once asked by another person of her how she was going to dress at a coming ball. Mrs. Syberg told the lady to tell her that she was going to dress as a mermaid & was going to take her tongue as a tail.

October 27, 1860

Took a walk to the [Mt. Holly] cemetery. Rather pretty [and] different from any [others] in some respects. Wrote letter to Uncle [Elizur T. Goodrich in Hartford]. Called on Mr. Mathews. Went down street.

Evening went to hear speaking. [John R.] Fellows is only about 24, [is] sharp at repartee, & will make a smart man. His opponent said that in the language of his Irish friend, all the ladies present were Breckinridge men. Fellows doubted it in his speech & called them why did not they wither him with the glances of their bright eyes, & turning to his opponent, pointing to him and the ladies said, “Would some power of giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us.” Loud applause [ensued]. He said that women advocated Union to a man. Speaking until half [past] eleven. I have made a resolve to do something. I shall labor more & more, study law what time I can spare, & study elocution.

October 28, 1860

Sunday. At church. Wrote letter to [cousin] Lucy Fiddis.

October 29, 1860

In school. Reading [Stephen] Douglas’ [Popular] Sovereignty in Harper’s [Magazine]. Sent letter to [cousin] Lucy Fiddis. Copied one to Uncle [Elizur]. Took a walk. Cam Watkins came down the street. I do not like it that Mr. Mathews is not more friendly than he is.

October 30, 1860

In school. Captain Syberg came home early this morning [from Fort Smith]. I got up & let him in. One new scholar [in my school]. Sent letter to Uncle [Elizur]. Took a long walk. Played cards with Mrs. [Edith] Syberg. Dull times. No one to see & no one to care for me. I am feeling miserable. The same dull routine from one day to another.

October 31, 1860

In school. Raining. Mr. Mathews came here to dinner. He attended the ball last night. It was a leap year ball given by the ladies. Nothing at [post] office for me.


Probably John H. Hogue, the 18 year-old son of David P. Hogue (a Tallahassee attorney) and his wife Esther Savage — the sister of Ann Marie Savage who married “Major” Richard Hayward in Dorchester County, Maryland in April 1823.  David P. Hogue served as Attorney General of Florida between 1848 and 1853. The 1860 US Census reveals his other sons were Thomas, age 25, Alexander, age 20, and William, age 17.

Robert Benjamin Hilton (1821-1894) was a prominent Confederate politician, serving in both the First and Second Confederate Congress. He also served for a time as a Colonel of the First Florida Infantry during the Civil War.

Goodrich would use a variety of common 19th century expressions for getting drunk. Getting “tight” was one. Going “on a bender” was another. And being “boozy” was yet a third.

Construction on the Pensacola Naval Yard began in 1826 and was one of the best equipped naval yards prior to the Civil War.

Being a major port of entry into the U.S., the military constructed a quarantine station in the Mississippi River downstream of New Orleans in the hopes of intercepting ship passengers and crews who may be bringing deadly diseases such as small pox into the city and points further north.

Goodrich’s vivid description is very similar to that recorded by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a native of Argentina. In his book, Travels in the United States in 1847, Sarmiento writes, “The nearness of New Orleans can be anticipated by visible alternations in society and in the form of the building. You can make out plantations, and in them, lines of wooden shacks, all of the same form and size, showing that freedom played no part in the building of them… The shacks are, of course, the homes of the slaves, and the large buildings around which they are gathered are the mansions of the masters. This is the aristocracy of bales of cotton and bags of sugar, fruit of the slaves’s sweat.” [pages 303-304]

The statue of Henry Clay was erected in 1856 at the intersection of Canal and St. Charles Streets. It was moved in 1900 to Lafayette Square.

Goodrich’s observations are similar to those experienced and recorded in his diary by Henry Morton Stanley during his first voyage up the Mississippi River in November 1859. He wrote, “The voyage had proved to me wonderfully educative. The grand pictures of enterprise, activity, and growing cities presented by the river shores were likely to remain with me forever. The successive revelations of scenery and human life under many aspects impressed me with the extent of the world. Mental exclamations of ‘What a river!’ ‘What a multitude of steamers!’ ‘What towns, and what a people!’ greeted each new phase. The intensity of everything also surprised me, from the resistless and deep river, the driving force from the rushing boats, the galloping drays along the levees, to the hurried pace of everybody ashore. On our steamer my nerves tingled incessantly with the sound of the fast-whirring wheels, the energy of the mates, and the clamor of the hands…”   Source: Sir Henry Morton Stanley, Confederate, page 42.

Through the influence of Arkansas Senator Solon Borland, the U.S. Government built a marine hospital in Napoleon which was finally completed in 1854. The hospital was to serve sick or injured boatmen. “According to records of the time, however, Napoleon was notorious as a rough and rowdy town. Edward King, in his 1875 account The Great South, described Napoleon thusly: ‘Murder daily was the rule, and not the exception. Brawls always ended in burials.’ Supreme Court Justice Peter Daniel, who spent a few days in Napoleon waiting for the mail boat to take him to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1851, called it a ‘most wretched’ place consisting of ‘a few slightly built wood houses, hastily erected no doubt under some scheme of speculation, and which are tumbling down without ever having been finished.’ He also complained of persistent ‘muschetos’ and of ‘the Buffalo Gnat, an insect so fierce & so insatiate, that it kills the horses & mules, bleeding them to death.’ Mark Twain, remembering Napoleon in his novel Life on the Mississippi (1883), mentioned it as a ‘town of innumerable fights—an inquest every day; town where I used to know the prettiest girl…and the most accomplished in the whole Mississippi Valley .’” Source: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

“Sharpers” are gamblers who cheat.

Dr. John T. Wheat, a native of Virginia, became rector of Christ Church in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1859. He was born about 1804 and his wife, Salena,, was born about 1812. Previously, Dr. Wheat had been a professor of metaphysics, logic, and rhetoric at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

James Mathews, a 28 year-old native of Kentucky, taught a rather large select school in Little Rock in 1860 and owned real estate in Arkansas valued at $1,500. He opted to take Ralph as an assistant teacher and split up the classes.

Arnold Friedrich Von Syberg, born 12 August 1817, was a native of Prussia, the son of Christian Friedrich Von Syberg and Clara Sibille Mertens. He came to the U. S. in 1840 aboard the ship “Gladiator.” He appears in the 1850 U. S. census living and working in Reading, PA as a teacher, already married to his wife Edith. She was born about 1822 and the couple had a son named Frederick [“Fred”] V. Syberg who was born about 1853.  Edith was raised in Philadelphia. She appears to have died prior to 1863. While living in Philadelphia in the 1840’s, Arnold Syberg became Captain of the Steuben Fusiliers, a local militia company containing 78 men. This company volunteered for service during the Mexican War but was not activated. Subsequently, volunteers were raised for regular infantry service and Arnold Syberg served as a captain in the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry. He would later serve in the Confederate service as well.

Henry Watkins was probably a son of Robert [“Bob”] A. Watkins, a 49 year-old physician and planter in Pulaski County. Henry was probably about twenty years old.

J. W. Faust was a 28 year-old attorney who was born in North Carolina. During the Civil War, “J. W.” served as Captain in the 33rd Arkansas Infantry and became Asst. Quarter Master in the unit when it was organized during the summer of 1862.

Samuel Reid was “born in New York City, 21 October, 1818, shipped before the mast at the age of sixteen, in 1838 was attached to the United States survey of Ohio river, and in 1839 settled in Natchez, Mississippi, where he studied law under Gen John A. Quitman, and was appointed United States deputy marshal. He was admitted to the bar of Mississippi in 1841, to that of Louisiana in 1844, to the United States supreme court in 1846, and served in the Mexican war in Captain Ben McCulloch’s company of Texas rangers, being mentioned for “meritorious services and distinguished gallantry,” at Monterey In 1849 he was attached to the “New Orleans Picayune,” and in 1851 he was a delegate to the National railroad convention in Memphis, Tennessee, to decide upon a line to the Pacific. In 1857 he declined the appointment of United States minister to Rome. He reported the proceedings of the Louisiana secession convention in 1861, and during the civil war was the confederate war correspondent for a largo number of southern newspapers, in 1865 he resumed his law-practice, and in 1867 he delivered an ” Address on the Restoration of Southern Trade and Commerce” in the principal cities of the south.” Source: Virtual American Biographies.

Goodrich sent the following letter to his sister Augusta in Kansas Territory:

October 20, 1860 Little Rock, Arkansas

My Dear Sister [Augusta].  I intended to answer your letter before, but concluded to wait until I got settled in a place some where. I left Belair, Florida on the last day of September for this place & arrived here after a voyage of two weeks. I came by way of New Orleans as it was the cheapest & because I would have company nearly the whole way – Major [Richard] Hayward from Tallahassee who was going to the northern part of Louisiana.

I secured the place I have through the Bishop [Henry Chaplin Lay] & the Episcopal clergyman of this place. It is in a private school. I have the ____ of the scholars from the number of 20 to 35 & all above that we divide evenly. This number 15 gives me a salary of $150. We have 37 scholars which will give $800 out of which I have to pay my way. My board only costs me $20 a month & besides I shall have to pay for washing & fuel. But our school has every prospect of increasing, & I shall be satisfied. The principal teacher is a young man [named James Mathews] & a member of the Episcopal Church. He has been teaching for 10 years. He gives the school up to me if I purpose teaching another year. He is from Kentucky. He likes the State, has bought land, & advises me to do so too when I am able. I received at Belair $275. It cost me about a hundred to get here. Steve wants me to pay him & I owe S__ for the watch I got of him. I can only send home $140 to pay what I owe at home & the rest to go toward paying Uncle Elizur [Goodrich]. What I owe together with the interest amounts to more than $600. I hope to pay it all off by next summer.

Mother writes that the times in Kansas are hard, provisions &c. high & people starving. If it’s so that I can send you some money, I will. I know what you will have to suffer & I will help you if I can. I don’t need help myself. I was not pleased with this state or town when I first came here, but I am better now. I shall try to do something here. Bishop says it is the state for an energetic young man & one reaches he says at the age of 30 the point which in other states he would not till 45. I came by Steamboat from Florida to New Orleans. I had a pleasant journey though a long one & had opportunity of seeing a great deal. We had to stay nearly 2 days in New Orleans. It has not been sickly there this year. That is the yellow fever has not raged. I have become quite a southerner.  My journey up the Mississippi [River] would not have been quite so agreeable if I believed I was an abolitionist.

I arrived here the night of the 12th October & have not received a letter from home since I came though I told them to write here in a letter I wrote just before leaving Florida. I was awfully homesick the first few days nor has the feeling entirely worn off. I feel sorry that it cost me so much to get just from Memphis over here, a distance of about 170 miles. I had to pay 30 dollars for myself & baggage. 40 miles of the way is railroad, the rest staging. Then to find that I had to pay so much for board, it was a disappointment hard to bear.

Mr. [James] Mathews with whom I am teaching is Superintendent of the Sunday School. I am a teacher in the Sunday School [of the Episcopal Church]. He is unwell & probably I shall have to officiate tomorrow. I have had a little experience that way in Florida. The Bishop will be [here] in a month or two & Mr. Mathews says he will urge me to enter the ministry, which he advises me to do. Surely they accuse me here of more piety than was ever granted to me at home. I am going to be better & do better than I have [done before], but I don’t think of entering the ministry. I hope I can get along well here. The State is filled up by Lawyers & I don’t know whether I can do anything that way or not. I shall try when the time comes.

Albert Pike lives in this place, also the Arkansas Traveler — at least a picture representing him. They say it is unhealthy here for healthy persons, but healthy for those in ill health, & as I am almost as thin as a June shad. I hope to have good health by being careful. Everything costs double what it does at the North. This place contains about 5 thousand inhabitants, is a pretty place but not a very pretty town. Write soon. With love to all. I am your affectionate brother, — Ralph L. Goodrich.

John Bell and Edward Everett were the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates on the Union Party ticket in November 1860. Their platform had broad appeal to the pro-union southern men who did not want to vote for Breckinridge or Douglas, the two Democratic nominees.

Cambiseo [“Cam”] Watkins was the 18 year-old son of Dr. Bob Watkins, a Pulaski County physician and planter originally from Kentucky.

John R. Fellows was born in Troy, New York on 29 July, 1832 and moved to Saratoga County, N. Y. with his parents, who settled near Mechanicville. He moved to Camden, Arkansas in 1850; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1855 and commenced practice in Camden. He was a presidential elector on the Constitutional-Union ticket of Bell and Everett in 1860; delegate to the State secession convention in 1861; and entered the Confederate Army in the First Arkansas Regiment. After the Battle of Shiloh, he was assigned to staff duties as assistant adjutant and inspector general at Vicksburg. He was captured at the surrender of Port Hudson on July 9, 1863 and released in June 1865. After the war, he moved to New York City and resumed his law practice.  Source: Infoplease.

“O wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us” is a line from the Robert Burns poem To a Louse.

According to the [Little Rock] Weekly Arkansas Gazette of 3 November 1860, “The gay season was ushered  by a Leap-year Ball given by the young ladies at the Beebe house on Tuesday night. It is decidedly agreeable for a bachelor to receive, from a beautiful lady, a delicately penned note on perfumed paper, asking the pleasure of escorting him to the party, and stating that she will call punctually at the hour. Such things do not happen every year. Then to go escorted – to have every want anticipated – to receive such attentions as can be ministered only by a lady – is enough to make one wish every February had twenty-nine days, and that all years were leap-years. The effect of this demonstration has been to make us all still stronger in our feeling for, and advocacy of the Union.”

The only Charles T. Pine I can find in the 1860 Census from New York State is Charles Theodore Pine who was residing with his parents in Castleton, Richmond County, NY (June 1860) and laboring as a “clerk.” His birth date in 1839 qualifies him as a “young man” in Goodrich’s eyes. His parents were Charles and Elmira Pine and they were in the grocery business. This Charles T. Pine later enlisted in Company, 156th NY Infantry and was promoted to 2Lt.


On October 15, 1860:
Edward Gibbon
Charles Kimber
John Byrd
Jonathan Kellogg
William Kimball
Henry Stillwell
Douglas Jones
William Jones
Robert W. Worthen
Milo Bricelin
Harry Rector
Cameron Watkins
Newton McConaughey
John Green
William Barrett

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