September 1863

September 1, 1863

At penitentiary. (Paid $46.00 for August and September rent; paid $15.00 for board.)

September 2, 1863

At penitentiary. At Wassell’s.  [He] tells me not to begin school yet awhile. Tiny Scott, Chuck Weaver & Yvon Pike come to see me tonight to enquire when I was to commence school & if I would take them.

Page from RLG Diary Arkansas History Commission

Page from RLG Diary
Arkansas History Commission

September 3, 1863

At penitentiary.

September 4, 1863

At penitentiary. Trying to take every man they can get, old or young. There are two cases here lately of men marrying. One Baker, telegraph operator, married Joe Hutt whose wife had been dead a few months. Dr. Hyatt (?) married a Ames who was a Lefiore who are noted for marrying, nearly all have had two or three husbands.

September 5, 1863

At penitentiary. [General] Price has called out all the men in Little Rock & if they do not come, to shoot them.

September 6, 1863

Sunday. Went out to penitentiary. Staid there at night as we thought the guards would get us.

September 7, 1863

At penitentiary.

September 8, 1863

At penitentiary. Heard firing.

September 9, 1863

At penitentiary. Firing.

September 10, 1863

Firing commenced about 10 o’clock below town. The feds crossed the river and came up this side, outflanked Price. The Feds drove the Confeds before them all day. About two in the afternoon, an order came to set the convicts loose. All [were] put into the army except 9 who went with [Thomas L.] Snead. Packed up soon and Snead started about sundown but the Feds were there in town. Heavy firing all the time. The Confeds ran like dogs. No injury to the town done. It was an almost bloodless victory for the Feds. The other day, they ordered out the old citizens, but they disbanded. At night, went to see Miss Louisa Adamson. Stayed at penitentiary.

Federal Troops March into Little Rock, September 10, 1863

“The Confeds ran like dogs.” — RLG

Page from RLG Diary Arkansas History Commission

Page from RLG Diary
Arkansas History Commission

September 11, 1863

Came down town. Feds all over. Citizens, Negroes, & Soldiers had broken into Ward’s store & stolen Mick Egan’s clothes, trunk, books, & about 711 dollars in gold & 5 in greenback. Found most of the clothes. Came home. Town quiet, etc.

September 12, 1863

Went down the street to get a protection paper for Mrs. Adamson with her. Called on Mr. Wassell. Fixed locks on school room. Went down the street for Mrs. Adamson in the afternoon. Wiedemann has gone to Washington [Arkansas]. Miss Lange is here. Saw Capt. Fatherly. Wants to send his boy to me. Saw Mrs. Green. She wants to send two. A soldier from the Kansas Regiment came here today when I was away & said my brother James was in his regiment, had been very sick, but was getting better. I suppose it is so. I intend to go over tomorrow if I can see him.

September 13, 1863

Got a pass to go over the [Arkansas] River. Rode over on a horse. Found [my brother] Jim. Looks about the same as he always did. But he has a queer voice & talks strongly. He does not appear like Jim of old. He has heard from home lately. Pa died on the eleventh of July, 1863. [My sister] Mary is married to Gurd Horton. [My cousin] Anna Fiddis is married to a Baptist preacher at Detroit . Lee [Goodrich] is married. [My brother] Steve is at home. [My sister Augusta and her family] are doing well in Kansas . Ma is not very well. Pa made a will & gave the back land to Jim, Augusta & me. The sand bank lot [went to] Mary, Sed [Sarah] & Steve, and the home lot to Ma. Steve is to live with Ma & Sed [is to] have the personal property. Staid with Jim all day. Had to swim the horse over the river [to get back]. I am disappointed in Jim. He is not what I expected he would be. His fall has injured his mind.

Pvt. James (Jim) Jeremiah Goodrich, 5th Kansas Cavalry

“He does not appear like Jim of old…he has a queer voice and talks strongly.” — RLG

September 14, 1863

Around the street. Nothing new. Jim did not come over. Part of the regiment went to Pine Bluff. His is the Kansas 5th [Cavalry].

September 15, 1863

Down the street. Saw Colonel [John L.] Chandler, the Provost-Marshal-General. He turned the man out of my [school] room & said he was glad to have me begin school. He seems to be a perfect gentleman.

September 16, 1863

Went over the river to see Jim. He was coming over to this side with the other men to encamp near the [State] Penitentiary.

September 17, 1863

Raining. Got cloth from Egan for two undershirts & 2 drawers. Afternoon, went to [Federal] camp to see Jim.

September 18, 1863

Cold. Writing and making [hair] chain. Down the street. Nothing new.

September 19, 1863

Cleaning out the school house all the forenoon. Afternoon, went to [Federal] camps. They had left. Could not find [my brother] Jim. Saw Egan. Evening, helped him carry his trunk to Ward’s house from Lee’s. Doing nothing much all day. Egan wants to take lessons of me. It will be a great deal of trouble, &c.

September 20, 1863

Sunday. Afternoon at Presbyterian church. A German preached on the Union.

September 21, 1863

Began school. Only nine boys.

September 22, 1863

In school. Only 10 boys. It looks gloomy. I do not know what I shall do if I do not get more.

September 23, 1863

In school. Few boys. Do not know what I shall do to live. I am up a stump.

September 24, 1863

In school.

September 25, 1863

In school.

September 26, 1863

Saturday. Saw [Ed] Sauter. He is going to open a school the first of October. He takes the Dutch and the Jews. I sold one hundred and sixty dollars in Confederate [dollars] for seven in greenbacks.

September 27, 1863

Sunday. Federal preacher at Episcopal church. Mr. Graves preaches his last sermon tonight.

September 28, 1863

In school. Two more boys. Saw Egan at night.

September 29, 1863

In school. Feel sick. Nothing new. I have so few boys [in my school], I do not know what I shall do. Last night Mrs. Fulton wished to see me about the room [that I am renting from her for my school]. Went over. They say hold on to Confederate money. There may be a chance to get it off tolerably well. Hope so.

September 30, 1863

In school. Rainy.


The orders were to place those who would not volunteer under arrest or to press them involuntarily into service, but shirkers were openly despised and orders were known to be interpreted liberally. Goodrich rightfully sensed that his life was in danger, caught as he was between two colliding armies.

While most of the Federal army under General Steele remained on the north side of the Arkansas River, three brigades of cavalry under General Davidson crossed the river east of Little Rock on a pontoon bridge that was completed earlier on the morning of 10 September 1863. By 11:00, General Price realized that his troops were in serious danger of being outflanked and cut off north of the Arkansas River so he began to withdraw them and evacuate the city.

In his diary entry on 10 September 1863, Private James B. Lockney of Company G, 28th Wisconsin, wrote that he marched “leisurely” with the majority of the Federal army “along the [north] river bank [towards Little Rock]. About noon, he said they “heard some very heavy volleys of musketry on the other side of the river as the cavalry & artillery drove the Rebels… Cannonading on both sides of the river was quite rapid at intervals through the whole day.” As darkness fell, Lockney recorded that his unit was “camped opposite the city which was occupied by Davidson’s cavalry, which did nearly all the fighting that was done.” The following morning, Lockney noted that “we see with joy our flag float over the town in triumph.” Source: Private collection of James R. Shirey. Used with permission.

Annie E. Cowgill, a young woman living in Little Rock, bid her Confederate artillerist beau goodbye as he evacuated the city with Price’s army and then recorded in her diary that “the cannon balls & shells began to whistle over the house that nearly scared me to death.” Watching from the window, she added that “the Federals came in town whooping and yelling like wild cats.”  Source:  Lorraine Blore Ragland Collection, Special Collections, U. of Arkansas Libraries.

Louisa Petett (1833-1869) was the widow of 31 year-old cotton planter William Adamson, another son of John Adamson.

Fixing the locks on the school room was undoubtedly an effort to prevent looting or having union troops turn them into sleeping quarters.

Wilhelmine Lange was the 32 year-old sister-in-law of Ernest Wiedemann — a sister of his wife Thea.

Probably Harriet Francis [Booker] Green (1819-1902), the widow of Rev. Joshua Fry Green (1820-1854).

On Friday, 11 September 1863, Pvt. James B. Lockney of Co. G, 28th Wisconsin, recorded in his diary that he went to Arkansas River to bathe and found the water to be “very shallow, about 3 ½ to 5 feet” in depth. Source: Private collection of James R. Shirey. Used by permission.

Not clear how and when James Goodrich suffered a “fall” as there is no mention of it elsewhere. Perhaps he fell off his horse and suffered a head injury that had gone untreated while in the Federal service. Click here for James Goodrich’s service record.

According to the book, Rugged and Sublime, “On September 14, [Gen.] Steele ordered elements of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry to Pine Bluff. On the nineteenth, he wrote to General Hurlbut that ‘a deputation of the most respectable citizens of Pine Bluff …requested me to keep a force there to protect them against the depredations of the rebels.’  In a subsequent letter, he wrote that these citizens ‘expressed a great desire that trade should be opened soon, [so] that they might save their cotton from the burners that are dashing on them occasionally.’  Steele responded by sending the remainder of the Fifth Kansas and the First Indiana Cavalry, bringing the total Federal force in Pine Bluff to 550 men.” Thus it was that Goodrich could find his brother in the camp of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry near Little Rock on the 16th and 17th of September but not two days later after the remainder of the unit had been sent to Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  Source: Rugged and Sublime, Edited by Mark K. Christ, page 96.

Colonel John L. Chandler, formerly the commander of the 7th Missouri (Federal) Cavalry, was appointed Provost Marshal-General of all four military districts established in Arkansas. While responsible for all, he took personal charge of the Central Arkansas District which included Little Rock. His general duties were to “reestablish law and order in [Federally] occupied areas, gather intelligence on guerrillas, administer loyalty oaths, and reinforce the legitimacy of the United States government in Arkansas. Specific tasks also included arresting “stragglers and deserters and forwarding them to their Regiments, the suppressing of brawls, bawdy houses, drunkenness and disorderly conduct,” and arresting “spies, smugglers, disloyal and dangerous persons [and] carrying [out] sentences including execution.”  Source: Bushwackers, Provosts, and Tories, by Robert R. Mackey, page 174.

In his diary, Pvt. James B. Lockney of the 28th Wisconsin recorded on this same date that he too, along with some others from his unit, “went to the Presbyterian Church [in Little Rock] where there were a few residents present & very many Soldiers & Officers so that the house was crowded, but all had seats. The Sermon was of moderate length & ability, and very guarded and non-committal. The music was good (so far as I could judge) both vocal & instrumental. The instrument was a melodeon. A China missionary was to preach at 3 p.m. but I did not feel well enough to go…”  Goodrich’s diary entry suggest that he attended the afternoon service rather than the morning service but the subject matter is not corroborated by Lockney’s diary.  Source: Private collection of James R. Shirey. Used by permission.

Soldiers in the Federal army occupying Little Rock were anxious to collect souvenirs and offered U.S. federal greenbacks in exchange for heavily discounted Confederate bills.

It is possible that the “Federal Preacher” Goodrich refers to in his diary entry of 27 September is Rev. Ebenezer S. Peake – a chaplain in the 28th Wisconsin Regiment that was camped near the Federal Arsenal in Little Rock as part of the occupying force. It is clear that Goodrich and Peake became friends as there are numerous subsequent references to him in Goodrich’s diary.

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