ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY,
Volume 31 (Spring 1972), p. 15
Life in Confederate Arkansas
By MICHAEL B. DOUGAN*
11, 1862, JUDGE JOHN BROWN,
A CAMDEN, ARKANSAS MERCHANT-PLANTER OF SOME
substance, wrote in his diary:
I arise early, feed my ducks of which I have about forty, look over
the garden, yard, etc., and gather watermelons, say two or three for the
day, of which we have a handsome sprinkle, a second growth on the vines.
. . wash and eat a light breakfast, say a light roll of light bread and
fresh butter with a cup of coffee---one half parched corn and the other
genuine Rio. Then go down in town, see if any business offers, talk about
the news, return home, eat fruit, read some poetry or newspapers, take
about a tablespoon of good whiskey (raw) and dine. Then a nap of half an
hour, up again. Eat our watermelons---go down street---do a little marketing
or shopping, discuss the news, talk about elections, which is lately agitated,
return to supper, usually a little batterbread of good sweet corn meal,
some fresh butter and plenty of good buttermilk, and then shortly to bed
for a profound nights sleep of about eight & and one half hours. Such
is my usual routine (1).
The arrival of the Federals created conditions far removed from the bucolic
tranquillity reported by Judge Brown. Long after the war a rustic woman
gave to a pioneer in the use of oral history a vivid description of conditions
on the Arkansas-Missouri border:
Hit shore was mighty hard for us gals endurin' o' th' war. Th' boys
had all tuck t' th' hills, an' the' horses was all gone, an' nothin' for
we-uns t' eat, nohow. . . .
- *Dougan is assistant professor of history at Arkansas State University,
- 1. John W. Brown Diary, Sept. 11, 1862, in University of Arkansas Library,
microfilm. (Hereafter cited as
- Brown Diary).