August 1864

August 1, 1864

At saloon. Paid Mrs. Fulton for rent ($31.00). Business good.

August 2, 1864

At saloon. Business good.

August 3, 1864

At saloon. Business good.

August 4, 1864

At saloon. Business dull. Mary had a spat with Julius [Bridges].

August 6, 1864

Lange don’t get his license renewed & we do not know what to do. We still keep open but if they catch us, they will fine us. All the saloons were shut up today. Went to theatre.

August 7, 1864

Sunday. At saloon. Took in $92.00. They shut us up. Egan here in the afternoon. Wrote a letter to [my sister] Augusta. Nothing new. Lange is going to get a permit if he can. I hope he may.

August 8, 1864

At saloon. I have the clap or something worse. I can’t imagine how I got it. Lange and I with Lieut. Harms went to _______ and drank a bottle of wine.

August 9, 1864

At saloon. Feel sick. Delano Dodge gave me some medicine. Business pretty good. Sent letter to [my sister] Augusta. Got one from home.

August 10, 1864

In saloon. Business good. Feel sick today. Nothing new.

August 11, 1864

At saloon. Rainy. Business pretty dull. I think I am a little better than yesterday.

August 12, 1864

Rainy. At saloon. Detective came and looked at our license for July and told us to report to Capt. [Williet W.] DeKay about twelve. Were shut up yesterday.

August 13, 1864

Saturday. Shut up. Lange has been trying to get a license but cannot. [Dr. James P.] Webb came to see me today. He says I have the pox.

August 14, 1864

Sunday. At home reading nearly all day. Doctor here [and] said disease was getting along well. [Paid doctor $5.00) Egan came here. Went down to saloon with him.

August 15, 1864

At saloon business. [Business] pretty good. Got some more medicine.

August 16, 1864

At saloon. Business pretty good.

August 17, 1864

At saloon. Lange got drunk today & spilled his venom on me. I have done now. Said nothing to have him act so. He was stuffing some soldiers with beer until they got drunk & then got to fighting. He was drunk himself. They made a good deal of noise. I spoke to Lange & said I wish they would go out. At that he pitched into me as red as a turkey’s top-knot [and] accused me of thinking that he cheated me. That I counted the money to see if he took any. I have never been insulted by any man so much as I have by him today. If I can get into any other business, I will. I will let the drunken rascal go to the devil.

August 18, 1864

In saloon.

August 19, 1864

In saloon. Had to burn sore on penus.

August 20, 1864

In saloon. Business pretty good. They ordered out the militia.

August 21, 1864

Sunday. Getting along pretty well with disease. Reading. Egan here. Borrowed Shakespeare of him. (Paid $8.00 for two shirts.)

August 22, 1864

At saloon. Mary quite sick with rheumatism. I do not feel so well as I did yesterday.

August 23, 1864

At saloon. Delano [Dodge] says his father knows that I am in a saloon & he does not like it. I don’t care. Let him get me something better.

August 24, 1864

At saloon. Business pretty good. The militia have to come out.

August 25, 1864

At saloon. Dr. Avery of the army gave me a recommendation for an exemption from the militia. Business dull.

August 26, 1864

At saloon.

August 27, 1864

Birthday. Went up & enrolled myself amongst the militia. At saloon. Lange drunk & wants to sell out. Got a letter from Epstein & McBride.

August 28, 1864

Sunday. Dark and cloudy. At saloon. Rainy. Lange drunk. Egan here.

August 29, 1864

At saloon. Tried to get exempted from militia. Could not get in. Dr. [James P.] Webb here to see me again. Says I can be exempted from militia.

August 30, 1864

Awful thunderstorm last night. Rainy today. Business dull. No news. Bought $25.50 silver for $62.50 of old man [named] Reichardt – a German.

August 31, 1864

At saloon. Nothing new. Feel quite sick today. Business rather dull.


The letter that Goodrich wrote to his sister Augusta stretched the truth a good deal. Goodrich’s business was a saloon, not a grocery. It read:

August 7, 1864    Little Rock [Arkansas]

My dear Sister [Augusta]. I had waited so long before receiving an answer to my letter that I had almost begun to believe that you were acting toward me as many others have done since the Federal Army brought me to light by taking possession of this town. But I console myself this way, that the fewer the people who write to me the less number of letters I have to answer. And now when I am busy from daylight till dark, and from dark till ten o’clock at night, I find but very little time to give to letters. With all these obstacles, I have managed to answer all without putting them off so unconscionably long. Why Jim, in the few letters that passed between us while he was at Pine Bluff, was more punctual than a good many.

I am in business at last & doing better than I ever did at school teaching. I am in partnership with a German from Illinois [named Lange]. He is the brother-in-law of one who has been my friend ever since I came to Little Rock. We have a sort of a grocery store & sell almost anything. Because I have changed my line of business, I have not so much leisure as I had when teaching school. But we have a great deal of trouble from drunken [Union] soldiers. They have no respect for themselves or for others. I don’t expect to see better soldiers than some of these are, but God forbid that I should ever have to deal with any worse than others of them are. Some of them would sooner get into a disgraceful street fight than eat their dinner or go to church. I believe that a good many of them never saw the inside of a church or a meetinghouse. Good men or bad ones too are always mixed up in a large army. The good make the bad seem better & the bad make the good seem worse.

Since I left my school, I have been tolerably well, but the summer has been so hot. I have taken so much more exercise than usual that at present I am almost completely covered over with one blister. The heat broke out on me at first like the measles & then blotches have come out so thick that I am red all over & pretty sore besides. So you can imagine how much comfort I take when besides this, I have a family in my house who are a constant annoyance to me.

Jim stopped here a few days when on his way back to Kansas. He thought that probably he might come back here to get some kind of business unless he could do better there in Kansas. He was well when he left. Some of [his] Company had to remain & some of the boys told me that Jim cried when he left them. I think Jim likes a soldier’s life pretty well – better than I do at any rate. I have seen enough to know what it is & I do not want to try it again. I received a letter from home some time ago. They are all well. Col. [Benjamin Franklin] Tracy has resigned [from the 109th New York Infantry] because he was sick, but they say he looks well &c. So it goes. Write soon & believe me as ever your affectionate brother, — Ralph L. Goodrich

Probably Lieut. Charles A. Harms of the 43rd Illinois Regiment bivouacked near Little Rock at this time. Harms and Lange may have been acquaintances in Illinois prior to the war.

Capt. Williet W. DeKay served with the 3rd Minnesota Infantry which was garrisoned at Little Rock until the spring of 1864. DeKay became the Post Provost Marshal in Little Rock in 1864.

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