May 1864

May 1, 1864

Sunday. At home. Down the street in the evening. A drunken soldier shot a citizen – a German – in cold blood. The guards came, he [the German] snapped his pistol three times at the guard, when the guard raised his gun & shot him dead. I was standing only a little way [off at the time]. Horrible. It was opposite my old school house. A few days ago a man was shot in the same place. Put in camp of negroes too. Yesterday, were fooling with guns [when] one went off & killed him instantly. I feel badly. Charley Berkson leaves in a short time to go for goods. Oh, I wish I could hear from Mr. Bristol & that he could give me a place [to work in Cincinnati].

RLG Diary, Arkansas History Commission

RLG Diary, Arkansas History Commission

May 2, 1864

In school. Down the street. Steele came in today. McDonald wants to go in partnership with me & put up a shebang. [Working] at theatre. (Paid $2.30 for medicine for Mary.)

May 3, 1864

In school. Army came back today. Wiedemann came back. At theatre. Nothing new. (Paid $31.00 for April rent.)

May 4, 1864

In school.  O’Donald & I trying to get a store to sell cigars, &c.  At theatre.

May 5, 1864

In school.  O’Donald & I [try to] get a place. Down at Wiedemann’s. At theatre. Saw Billy Kimball. Talking about going into business together. He will know this week whether he can or not. Charley Berkson left this morning for St. Louis.

May 6, 1864

In  school. Have not succeeded in getting a shebang yet. At theatre. Nothing new. (Paid $1.00 for diarrhea medicine.)

May 7, 1864

Saturday. In store for Rosenberg all day. Did not give me anything [for my work]. It is a shame. I will get it out of him some other time.

May 8, 1864

Sunday. Sick with diarrhea. At home all day. Reading Shakespeare. Nothing new.

May 9, 1864

In school. feel sick. Billy Kimball & I talking about going into partnership. At theatre.

May 10, 1864

In school. Cold & rainy. Kimball & I talking of going into partnership. At theatre. (Paid $5.00 to Mary for shoes.)

May 11, 1864

In school. a man by the name of Huey came up and wanted me to go in partnership with him in a shebang. Could not as I had promised to go with Kimball. I made out an application for a permit. Billy [Kimball] says he will try to put it through. At theatre.

May 12, 1864

In school. Kimball has given up going in with me. At theatre.

May 13, 1864

In school. Kimball has backed out going in with me. I have fizzled doing anything too, I think. At theatre. Feel tired out & sick.

May 14, 1864

Saturday. Running about the streets doing nothing. Have not got a permit. I think I will go in with Huey. At theater. (Paid $1.00 for medicine for Mary.)

May 15, 1864

Sunday. At home all day. Huey came to see me. Nothing new. Had Mary twice today.

May 16, 1864

In school. Tried to get a permit. Could not. At theater. Nothing new.

May 17, 1864

In school. Rainy. At theater.

May 18, 1864

In school. Down at store. At theater. Do not feel well.

May 19, 1864

In school. Down street. At theater. (Paid 35 cents for arithmetic book for Fanny.)

May 20, 1864

In school. Got a letter from home. At theater.

May 21, 1864

Saturday. Down street. At theater.

May 22, 1864

Sunday. Took a walk. Lane here & stayed till eleven o’clock at night. Said he was at the penitentiary when the Federals came in [on September 11 and] that they took him out the day they came in, which is a lie. No one was in the penitentiary & the Federals did not go to it all the next day. He said one of the overseers — Jones by name — would point the gun at him & threaten to kill him. Lane is a villain, I believe. We will see what times will show. Confederates getting pretty close here.

May 23, 1864

In school. Nothing new. Got a letter from [Gustav] Epstein. At theater. Epstein wants me to go to Indianapolis. [See Epstein letter below.]

May 24, 1864

In school. Down street. At theater. Saw Mr. [Ebenezer] Peake.

May 25, 1864

In school. Had a difficulty with Bridges. Went to Provost Marshal. Do not think I can do anything to get then out. At theater. Burkson came back day before yesterday.

May 26, 1864

In school. Down street. At theater. (Paid $5.00 for cleaning privy.)

May 27, 1864

In school. Egan here afternoon. One of the prisoners who was at the penitentiary while Egan was there & who was whipped by him was taken prisoner & is at Pine Bluff. He swears that he will kill Egan when he sees him. Egan thinks of going north. At theater. Had a little fuss with Bridges boarders. Play at the theater — Lucretia Borgia — very good.

May 28, 1864

Saturday. Down street. At theater.

May 29, 1864

Sunday. Egan here. Got mad. Burkson here also. Evening down at Dodge’s store.

May 30, 1864

In school. Very small. Down street. Bukson wanted me to go to his store after theater. Worked all afternoon for him & night till one o’clock. Stayed at store.

May 31, 1864

In school. Nearly all [the students] have left me. Down street. At theater. Nothing new.


  • A shebang is a saloon.
  • Goodrich refers to the Union army led by General Steele returning from its disastrous “Camden Expedition.”  Without any gains, the Federal army sustained over 2500 casualties and lost hundreds of wagons.
  • Possibly William F. Kimball who joined Capt. Zimmerman’s Battery [also called the 7th Field Battery] of the Arkansas Light Artillery when it was organized in the late summer of 1864 with remnants of Blocher’s Arkansas Battery.

Letter from Epstein to Goodrich:

Epstein's Letter, Arkansas History Commission

Epstein’s Letter, Arkansas History Commission

Indianapolis, Indiana
May 14, 1864

Dear Friend Goodrich,

In Duvall’s Bluff I was detained up to the following Tuesday on which day I left of the Sunny South for Memphis. Arived in Memphis in the morning of Thursday. I left that same day at 5 o’clock p.m. on the Hillman for Cairo. Arived in Cairo on Friday night. I met with Shilling and him persuading me to look around in that place. I had put up at some Hotel (Brown’s Hotel). The place is a perfect mud-puddle, a rowdy place from what I have seen and heard — one beer or drinking shop joining the other, and as they all submit, very sickly. I left there on Thursday noon on the cars for this place and arived next morning at 4 o’clock.

This place is a beautiful place of from 30-40,000 inhabitants, has elegant buildings & streets and is a good inland business place. There is no drafting done here and none to be expected for it has furnished above its quota. I came on the track of some old acquaintances and friends from Dayton (Ohio) who are now living here and they also advise me to put up a little business here. They tell me that many men who have come here last year comencing business with merely no capital at all are worth now few thousand Dollars. I see myself that two active young men like you and I cannot but succeed in such a place and I have made up my mind to open a little Tobacco & cigar Store here to which I make my calculation on you as a partner. Mr. [Samuel] Bernstein an old friend of mine (in whose store I am writing this now) has had a Tobacco & cigar manufactory in Dayton and of course thoroughly acquainted in that kind of business will give me all the aid he can in making connections with all good Tobacco & cigar manufacturer in order to buy our articles cheap & good.

To be short about it, I am going to accomplish that idea in putting up a Tobacco & cigar store in this town and will expect you here at the least time possible. I am most certain you will like this place very much. Emily & Mary can also come for I think they can do well here and live undisturbed.

Now I am giving you the exact road to travel and the expenses therof:

From Little Rock to Duvalls Bluff on the cars — $2.50
From D. Bluff to Memphis cabin passage — $20.00
From Memphis to Cairo — $10.00
And from Cairo to Indianapolis on the cars — $10.25

On the trip from Cairo to here, you have to change cars once. If Emily & Mary should not like to leave Little Rock, I will expect you to come any how and if you could not wind up your business and sell your unnecessary utensils right off, let me know by a letter, whether, when or if you wish to come or not. I, for my part, presume and feel confident that we can accomplish here of what we have been speaking, so often, that is: to make our living (if not more) and pursue our studies… Goodrich, take my advise and leave Arkansas under the present calamities and come to a place where you can live peaceable and enjoy life to some degree.

Write to me as soon as possible and address the letter care of Mr. Feibelman & Rauh [Clothiers & Gent’s Furnishing Goods], Indianapolis, Ind. I will also write to you again as soon as anything should turn up worthy of notice and remain until further comunications.  Your friend — Gustav Epstein

If ever you find that there is any mail connection (by Pine Bluff) towards Monticelo, write in my name to Dr. Wm D. Kersh near Relff’s Bluff P.O. in Drew County about 35 miles from Pine Bluff. Please tell them my whereabouts perhaps may have the pleasure in receiving a letter first from that family.

Tonight I will write home to Europe. My respects to Ms. Bergson, Mr. Egan, to Lewis Meyer (his brother I have visited at Cairo) and remember me to Emily & Mary. I would like to see them come with you for this is a beautiful place. Vale. Vale. Vale.

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