May 1, 1862
Gave the boys a holiday reading – a book on the Roman Catholic Church, Its Identity. Down the street. Saw Eagen. He gave me a book, Burett’s on language. Down to Mr. Graves. Said I could use the benches and chairs for nothing [in my school]. For the two years Dr. Scheifler was in the school, he only got a little over four hundred dollars together with his board and washing. No wonder he had only one hundred and twenty five dollars with him. It’s a wonder he had so much. I pity the poor fellow. They (the Graves) urged me unreasonably to get something [of Scheifler’s] to buy. I asked them for a sermon, but they would not [sell it]. Let them go to grass.
May 2, 1862
In school. Nothing new. Studying Spanish & reading.
May 3, 1862
Mary Freeman here. Reading & studying. Saw Mathews. Down the street. Nothing new.
May 4, 1862
Sunday. Rainy. At home all day. Reading Byron and Shakespeare.
May 5, 1862
At school. [Received] news today that the Feds [were] at White River [and] that New Orleans had surrendered, &c. &c. Took a walk before breakfast. I had only [a small number of] scholars today. I do not know how I shall live on that, but I put my trust in God.
May 6, 1862
In school. Heard Sophie [Adamson] in Grammar & Arithmetic. At Prayer Meeting.
May 7, 1862
In school. People running crazy. Some leaving [Little Rock] thinking the Feds will be here [soon]. Spending money for goods as fast as then can.
May 8, 1862
In school. People leaving town, frightened out of their wits. Studying Spanish & reading. Got a linen coat. Had to pay seven dollars for it.
May 9. 1862
In school. The older girls in Graves’ school take a ride on the railroad cars & Mathews, Faust & Smead go with them. Mrs. [Sarah] Adamson thought I would be asked [to go to] but nothing [was] said to me about it. Nothing new today.
May 10, 1862
Reading. Down the street. Saw Michael Eagen. Nothing new.
May 11, 1862
At church. Reading Byron & general information.
May 12, 1862
In school. Dyer paid. Got a coat & vest for 10 dollars. Reading.
May 13, 1862
In school. Nothing new but a report that Norfolk is evacuated. Reading Byron.
May 14, 1862
In school. Nothing new. Reading.
May 15, 1862
In school. Very warm. Mrs. Jones here & spent the day. Nothing new. Reading history.
May 16, 1862
Fast day. No school. Reading history & writing. Down at [Ernest] Wiedemann’s studying Spanish. (Bought tobacco for 90 cents.)
May 17, 1862
In morning, creating accounts for Mrs. [Sarah] Adamson. Afternoon, down the street. Rainy. Called at Mrs. [Eliza] Dodge’s. Stayed some time. Reading Byron & history. Paid Tilly [Stout] three dollars for washing.
May 18, 1862
Sunday. At Sunday school. At Presbyterian Church. Reading Byron & history. Manfred by Byron is a noble piece.
May 19, 1862
In school. Rainy. Mrs. Adamson wants me to be her overseer if the one she has now [on her farm] has to go to the war.
May 20, 1862
In school. Rainy. Mrs. Adamson gone to the farm. Reading & writing.
May 21, 1862
In school. Took the negro girl here through a course twice this morning.
Called on Mr. Graves at night. Reading Byron. Some think that I will have to go again to war. I hope not.
May 22, 1862
In school. Another time the negro. Feel badly. I rather think they will pounce on me to go to war again. Evening, at church.
May 23, 1862
Paid for board one month $20 dollars. Rainy.
May 24, 1862
Saturday. Down the street all the morning and afternoon. A gun boat (CSS Pontchartrain?) came up to defend the place. The engine & boiler only are protected by iron casements. It had three guns.
Miss Eddy here. She stands up for Faust as if she had some reason to do so.
May 25, 1862
Sunday. Read service at Sunday school. Reading Shakespeare &c.
May 26, 1862
In school. Judge Watkins says that I am not obliged to go out in the militia.
Evening, at [Ernest] Wiedemann’s. Nothing new.
May 27, 1862
In school. Feel sick. Reading Fowler on the English Language & philology.
May 28, 1862
In school. Sam Adams came [to school] today. [My students,] Rector & Johnson liked to have had a fight.
May 29, 1862
In school. Saw Dan Ringo. He is Captain now. Evening at church. Feel badly, stupid & dull.
May 30, 1862
In school. Warm. Went up to Mr. Woodruff’s to see Mathews. He has been sick.
May 31, 1862
Helping Mrs. Adamson making out accounts. At Dodges’. Down the street.
Afternoon, went to [Ernest] Wiedemann’s, reading & studying.
Goodrich’s friend, Michael Eagen [or Egan] was a carriage “trimmer” by trade. He was undoubtedly employed by A. J. Ward who manufactured carriages in Little Rock. It appears that Eagen was even boarding with Ward at the time of the Union invasion in September 1863.
Following the battle of Pea Ridge in northern Arkansas, Union General Samuel Curtis set his sights on capturing Little Rock. He made his way largely unopposed to the White River but, once there, bad roads, bad logistics, bad communication, and low water in the White River combined to cause him to abandon that objective and seek a supply line on the Mississippi River instead.
This is undoubtedly A. F. Dyer, about 41 or 42 years of age at the time, who kept a boarding house in Little Rock. This diary entry probably makes reference to Dyer’s payment of a school bill for his son Charles, age 9.
Norfolk, Virginia was evacuated by Confederate troops on 9 May, 1862. Unbeknownst to Ralph, his former employer — Major George T. Ward (now a Colonel) – was killed at the Battle of Williamsburg on 5 May 1862.
The identity of this gunboat has not been conclusively established. It is conjectured to have been the CSS Pontchartrain, formerly the side-wheel, wooden hulled packet known as the Lizzie Simmons. She was retrofitted with some armor in New Orleans in 1861 and was involved in the Battle of Island No. 10 in April 1862. There are some reports that she was in the engagement at St. Charles on the White River in May 1862, but there is a theory that she offloaded some of her guns to the fort there and then journeyed upriver to Little Rock to provide some defense for the vulnerable city. Clearly the CSS Pontchartrain was anchored in the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock when Union General Steele’s army drove the Confederate army out of Little Rock in September 1863.
Sam Adams was the 12 year-old son of John D. Adams, a 34 year-old steamboat captain, and his wife Kate. Sam was the oldest of three boys in the family.
20 year-old Dan Ringo first served in the Peyton Rifles in 1861. Later he served in Company A of the 6th Arkansas Infantry.