March 1863

Page from Goodrich Diary, Arkansas History Commission

Page from Goodrich Diary, Arkansas History Commission

March 1, 1863

Sunday. Down to [Capt.] Syberg’s. Looking over my summer clothing. My white Marseilles vest is gone – stolen I expect. Saturday night invited to Mr. Graves’ to supper.

March 2, 1863

In school. At Borland’s. Nothing new. (Paid $25.00 for board and $5.00 for wood.)

March 3, 1863

In school. Cold. At Borland’s.

March 4, 1863

In school. At Borland’s. Paid me. They are going away soon. Stopped [teaching his daughters]. (Paid $10.00 for rent.)

March 5, 1863

At school half day. Parade in the afternoon. Let boys go [so they could attend].

March 6, 1863

In school. Rainy. Nothing new. Read [Clement L.] Vallandigham’s speech for stopping the war & reunion.

March 7, 1863

Studying. Down the street. Mrs. Sarah Adamson here. Rainy. Down to [Capt.] Syberg’s.

March 8, 1863

Sunday. Down to [Capt.] Syberg’s. Drizzling a little. Reading Godolphin by Bulwer.

March 9, 1863

In school.

March 10, 1863

In school. Rainy. Nothing new.

March 11, 1863

In school. Nothing new.

March 12, 1863

In school.

March 13, 1863

In school. Warm and pleasant.

March 14, 1863

Mrs. Adamson brought me some Marseilles [cloth] for a summer vest, $2.50 for ¾ yard.

March 15, 1863

Sunday. At church.

March 16, 1863

In school. A new scholar [has started, making] 34 now. No news.

March 17, 1863

In school.

March 18, 1863

In school. Warm like a summer’s day.

March 19, 1863

In school. Nothing new.

March 20, 1863

In school.

March 21, 1863

Went out into the country about 12 miles with [Capt.] Syberg. Last night, invited to a party to Graves’ [but] did not go.

March 22, 1863

Sunday. Reading.

March 23, 1863

In school. Down at [Ernest] Wiedemann’s. (Paid $2.00 for tobacco, $6.00 for shoes, and $15.00 worth of cloth for pants.)

March 24, 1863

In school. Nothing new.

March 25, 1863

In school. [General Sterling] Price here. Got pants made ($10.00).

General Sterling Price

“Price is a large portly man.” — RLG


Sterling Price set up his headquarters at Oakwood Plantation on East 9th Street in Little Rock. The home was sold in 1859 by Dr. Robert Watkins to Peter Hanger (photo provided by Kay Tatum)

March 26, 1863

In school. Parade. [General’s Sterling] Price & [Edmund Kirby] Smith here. Price is a large, portly man. Smith quite an insignificant fellow. Fine parade.  At church. Henderson paid me for March.

Lt. General Kirby E. Smith

“Smith quite an insignificant fellow.” — RLG

At church. They have not exempted school teachers. At [Capt.] Syberg’s.

March 28, 1863

Saturday. Dr. Wright came to see me. Went around town with him. Was introduced to his brother, Colonel of a regiment. Called on Bishop Lay. Evening, at Graves’. Then went to Dr. [William A.] Cantrell’s. Bob Watkins got into a scrape with Capt. Hampton, the enrolling officer, and shot him. The guards took him but as their guns were not loaded, he pulled out one pistol and told them to let him go. He walked quietly off to some distance and then ran off.

March 29, 1863

Service at Judge Watkins. Down to [Capt.] Syberg’s. Sheridan there.

March 30, 1863

In school. Went with Sheridan to Graves’.

March 31, 1863

In school. Cold. Hampton died this morning.


A Marseilles vest would be one made of two layers of cloth with a softer material sandwiched in between and then stitched to create a quilted appearance.

This may have been the speech Ohio Congressman Vallandigham delivered to the U. S. House of Representatives on 23 February 1863 that outlined his objections to the conscription bill. A few months later, he was arrested for delivering a speech favorable to the South. Vallandigham was the undisputed leader of the “Copperheads.”

Edmund Kirby Smith and Sterling Price were undoubtedly in Little Rock to meet with Theophilus Holmes. Smith replaced Holmes as the Commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the CSA in March 1863. The ailing Holmes would stay on in Arkansas for a time but the defense of Little Rock would be relinquished to Price a few months later.

Dr. D. C. Wright joined Co. A (“The Capitol Guards”), 6th Arkansas Infantry on the same day as Ralph Goodrich. He was discharged on the 8 July 1862. He would serve later in the war with Harrell’s Battalion which saw light duty in the Camden area and then participated in Price’s Missouri/Kansas invasion.

William A. Cantrell (1826 -1903) was born near Nashville, Tennessee, attended Princeton University, and eventually entered the Medical Department at the University of Louisville. He graduated there in 1847, practiced in New York, New Orleans, Pine Bluff (AR) and eventually Little Rock. He married Ellen M. Harrell in 1852 and eventually built a large brick home at the northeast corner of Scott and 7th Streets. Mrs. Ellen [Harrell] Cantrell, also a native of Nashville, was a lady of scholarly attainments and by the age of 16 had published a number of stories in the popular periodical Godey’s Lady’s Book. The Cantrell’s had a large number of children who led successful careers, some of whom were Goodrich’s students.

George C. Watkins was a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas (1853-54). Following the war, he would form a law partnership with Uriah M. Rose who was a good friend of Goodrich’s. Judge Watkins was most likely a brother of Dr. Robert A. Watkins, mentioned previously.

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