August 1, 1862
Yesterday the ox team broke down. Left a load behind. Very warm.
August 2, 1862
Joe Reeside bought a horse. We have been talking about going north, hiring or buying horses, & go up through Missouri. Got to Little Rock about sundown. Went to [Mrs. Adamson’s] boarding house [where they] were glad to see me.
August 3, 1862
Sunday. Doing nothing. Reading Lucretia, a novel by [Edward] Bulwer. Called on Mathews. Nothing new.
August 4, 1862
Saw Judge Ringo. Paid [rent] for school house two months. Got a letter from [cousin] Jim Fiddis. At Dodge’s & Graves’ & Wiedemann’s. They shot four deserters out here in the camp last Friday. One Irishman took it very coolly. The others wept and were blindfolded. Forty-eight men to shoot, in two ranks. If the first failed, the second [rank] were to fire. A great many flying reports.
August 5, 1862
Down the street. In A. J. Smith’s office. Nothing new. It is reported that one of the men who was shot had only one shirt & that was stolen from him while drying & he was kept about three weeks bare back. [General Thomas] Hindman is an incarnate fiend. Have no room for office yet. Reading.
August 6, 1862
Down the street. [James] Martin is not going to begin work until Miller gets here. Mr. Mathews told me I could get work at the [Federal] Arsenal as a clerk in the ordinance office if I wanted. Nothing new. When we came up from the Springs, a man asked the blessing. His eyes were wide open & he said, “O Lord, bless & pass the cabbage” — all in the same breath. He is a poor farmer.
August 7, 1862
Down the street. Saw [James] Martin. Said he would keep me longer. Reading history & studying Spanish. At church in the evening.
August 8, 1862
At work. Very warm. Nothing new.
August 9, 1862
At work. [James] Martin got his things out of Bob Newton’s office. He sent a savage note to deliver them forthwith. Martin told him if he wanted them, to come after them. Reading history.
August 10, 1862
Sunday. Called on Eagen and stayed all the forenoon. Reading & writing. Evening at church.
August 11, 1862
At work. Got the desks &c. moved out of room. Paid at Treasurer’s Office $51.09. At Wiedemann’s.
August 12, 1862
At work. Nothing new. Reading. Studying French, German, & Spanish.
August 13, 1862
At work. Nothing new.
August 14, 1862
At work. [Robert W.] Starbuck came home [having been discharged in July]. Reading and writing. Called at Dodge’s. Treat me coldly. I shall not go there very soon.
August 15, 1862
At work. Don’t feel well. Reading history of Greece & writing on my sketches.
August 16, 1862
At home. Nothing new.
August 17, 1862
Sunday. Stopped using tobacco. Feel sick. Head hollow & light. Eyes heavy. Brain pressing down over my eyes. Down to see Mathews. He is going to run for the Representative this fall. Dr. Wheat here.
August 18, 1862
At work. Felt bad all day. Working at office. Reading David Copperfield. Don’t know much about it though my head is jumbled up so.
August 19, 1862
In office. Nothing new. Dyer tried to get to St. Louis & they caught him at Fort Smith & shot him. Saw Dr. Wheat. [Ernest] Wiedemann here to have me help him write a letter declining to play in church [any] longer.
August 20, 1862
At work in office. Feel better today.
August 21, 1862
Mrs. Adamson gone down to the farm.
August 22, 1862
At work. Nothing new. Sam Adams said his father, [Capt. John D. Adams,] said if I did not go on with the school, he wanted me as a private school teacher.
August 23, 1862
At work. Heard today that Mathews went to Naora’s to get his boys to go to school & Naora said he was going to send [them] to me [instead]. Mathews said I knew nothing at all [and that] I was a fool.
August 24, 1862
Sunday. At church. Reading. Down to see Egen. He is somewhat of an atheist. Mrs. Adamson talked a good deal about Mr. [P. B.] Starbuck being foolish in mentioning that he had built a sawmill out here in the country where there was neither wood nor water. But Adamson was considerably cracked himself [for] he did the same thing down in Montgomery County. But before he finished, his son stopped him. The idea of a woman telling me that of Starbuck which her own husband was guilty [of].
Lewis [Adamson], the fool, says that at the Catholic Church in the morning, they preach mass. In the afternoon, they preach purgatory. I asked him what purgatory was. They believe that after people leaves Arkansas, there are two places to torment.
August 25, 1862
At work. Decided to go on with the school. Got [school] room, &c. At [Ernest] Wiedemann’s.
August 26, 1862
At work. At office. Saw Loni George [who] said Mathews had been talking against me. Saw Naora [who] said I asked too much for [his] boys schooling & he would send to Eastman. Very well.
They say in a large battle, the musketry firing is a continual cracking like a dry cane brake burning, & at intervals the roar of the cannon, the balls coming to you and near your ears make a short quick hiss. Comet to be seen but small. Saw [Ernest] Wiedemann.
August 27, 1862
[My] birthday. At work. An old man by the name of Johnson, well educated and talented, has got reduced in circumstances by liquor and opium to extreme poverty. He goes about begging now. I saw him at the State House today. He asked me if I was a single gentleman. I replied that I was & then presented me with a paper written by himself directed to young men only. It said, “I was once a young man like you. Then, it was customary for me to write poetry though I do not look like it now. I can write acrostics on a lady’s name whom you may select. I do this to get money. I do not want to beg & I can’t steal. Give me a little, & I will thank you forever.” I handed him a dollar & he thanked me with a multitude of gracias & asked me to give him a name. I thought a moment and said, “F. Finkle.” “Is it a lady’s name?” he asked. “Yes,” I said. “Do you want an acrostic? I will tell you what one is. We write the letters of the name down [the page] & then fill up the lines. It is harder than any kind of poetry & requires more genius & talents. But I can do it. I did a good deal of it in my day. Do you want it just in friendship, or something stronger?” “Something stronger,” I said. “Put in the pathetic, as if my heart was bursting with devout adoration and untimely woe and undoubted and unchangeable constances.” “I’ll do it’ he said. “I’ll come to you in twenty minutes with it.” At the time appointed, he came with this:
“Acrostic. Subject: Love”
“F” Far, far above all pomp of Earth
“F” Far higher is affections, worth
“I” In elevation distance, bright
“N” Now dwells true love our heart’s delight
“K” Kings, Potentates, can feel its power
“L” Loves purest, richest, sweetest flower
“E” Ever, may you dwell within its bower.
[Then he wrote,] Nobly, most kindly you have been to me my strange young friend. I hope true bliss will be your lot. If you can get one or two more of your friends to give me a trial, I would be glad as I am pressed. J. M. Johnson.
The same man came to Mrs. Adamson’s and told lies. Mrs. Adamson found him out and told him. He said, “It is outrageous [that] some of my enemies have told you so. You have been a mother to me & I would be an ungrateful wretch to have told you a falsehood or in any way prevaricate to you.” He calls himself soldier, doctor, or lawyer, or preacher and adjusts himself to these characters at different times when he begs. He ran for Governor of Tennessee at one time.
August 29, 1862
At work. [They have passed] a law extending the conscript law from [ages] 18 to 45.
August 30, 1862
Saturday. Miss Eddy is going with Graves & is coming here to board. At work. Mary, the black girl ran off yesterday & today she got a whipping. It is said that [General Thomas] Hindman is ordered to Richmond [and] is arrested.
August 31, 1862
Sunday. Writing in the morning. At church. Saw Mathews. Looks sour. Reading at church in afternoon. Saw a horseshoe [and] put up over the door of a Jew and one under the door of an Irishman’s. I begin school tomorrow. I hope I may have a good number that I can get good pay.
When Major General Thomas Carmichael Hindman took command of the Trans-Mississippi District in May, 1862, he found Arkansas largely devoid of troops. Most Arkansas units had been stripped of the state and sent east of the Mississippi River. To prevent an invasion by Union troops, Hindman found it necessary to issue a series of harsh military edicts that raised the ire of the local citizenry which led to his eventual replacement in August 1862. The edicts included conscription, authorizing guerilla warfare, the shooting of deserters, restrictions on civilian travel, the burning of property to keep it out of federal hands, etc.
Robert W. Starbuck served with Goodrich in Company A (“The Capitol Guards”), 6th Arkansas Infantry.
Loni George was a 48 year-old Little Rock merchant, originally from Germany. He has several school-age boys who were likely in Goodrich’s school.
Moses Harrison Eastman was a 47 year-old “Teacher of English and Classics” – a native of New Hampshire. His parents were Moses Eastman and Sarah Currier.
Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, Americans working independently, discovered a comet in August 1862 which has since been dubbed the Swift-Tuttle Comet.
“The first Confederate conscription law applied to men between 18 and 35, providing for substitution (repealed December 1863) and exemptions. A revision, approved 27 September 1862, raised the age to 45; 5 days later the legislators passed the expanded Exemption Act. The Conscription Act of February 1864 called for all men between 17 and 50.” Source: Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War, edited by Patricia L. Faust
Major General Thomas Hindman was removed from his position as commander of the Trans-Mississippi District by Jefferson Davis and replaced with Theophilus H. Holmes.