ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 31 (Spring 1972), p. 15


Life in Confederate Arkansas

By MICHAEL B. DOUGAN*

 

ON SEPTEMBER 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, Jonesboro.
1. John W. Brown Diary, Sept. 11, 1862, in University of Arkansas Library, microfilm. (Hereafter cited as
Brown Diary).

 

 

 

 

 

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