January 4

It has snowed nearly all day, but not very hard. To-night there is about two inches on the ground and it is still snowing. Lieut. Stetson started for Vermont this morning on the 9:30 train, and Capt. H. R. Steele arrived from there this evening. I am told to-night that Colonel Embic of the One Hundred and Sixth New York Infantry has been reinstated. We have formed a quiz school to-night, the members being Dr. Almon Clark, Lieuts. E. P. Farr and C. G. Newton and Chaplain E. M. Haynes. We are to meet every night and ask questions on geography, history, etc. I think it a grand idea. I suspect they think me fresh from school, though, and want me to do most of the quizzing, the same as in the class of about seventy-five enlisted men in tactics and English branches which recites to me daily now, fitting for examination for commission in colored troops.

January 4, 1863

SUNDAY. Hip, Hip, Hurrah! The Laurel Hill, a steamer, has stopped at our camp and we have orders to pack up for a move. All that are able are to be taken to Chalmette, the old battleground below New Orleans. Anywhere but this God-forsaken spot, say I. Chaplain Parker preached hot stuff at us to-day. Says we don't take proper care of ourselves, that we eat too often and too much. That made me laugh. Dominie, if you lived with us a while, ate at the same table and had the same bill of fare to choose from, I think you would tell another story. Poor man, it is getting on his nerves sure. But it sets me to wondering if our officers all think that way. If they blame us for the condition we are in, who brought these conditions about? Did we from choice herd in between decks like pigs, while the officers, chaplain and all had staterooms and a bed and good food to eat, well cooked and at regular hours? If they blame us for our condition to-day, I can only hope that at some time they may get just such treatment and fare and that I may be there to remind them it is their own fault. Chaplain Parker must do some tall preaching to make good what he has lost by that tongue-lashing. It was uncalled for and a sad mistake.

January Fourth

The strange and curious race madness of the American Republic will be a study for centuries to come. That madness took a child-race out of a warm cradle, threw it into the ocean of politics—the stormiest and most treacherous we have known—and bade it swim for its own and the life of the nation!

Myrta Lockett Avary


The Social Equality Bill passed in Louisiana, 1869



Jenkia, about 44 miles south of Cuttack, January 4, 1845

From Khoulah I returned to Cuttack for Christmas. Early on Christmas morning Mr. G., the collector and magistrate of Pooree, came in to spend the day with us. Poor man! he and a cousin of his were almost brought up together, and they became much attached even in childhood. When he obtained an appointment in India, it was agreed that he should return to England and marry her as soon as he should have attained sufficient rank in the service to give him an adequate income. After about five years' residence in this country he went home and was married. This was ten years ago, and from that time his life seems to have been as happy as a human life can be. Latterly they became anxious to go home on furlough, in order that they might see their children settled in England, but they had not saved money enough; so, in April, Mr. G. applied for a better appointment, and was consequently nominated to Pooree. On their way down, as they passed through Calcutta, both were seized with cholera; he recovered, but she died; he sent his children home, but arrived at Pooree a solitary man. He is still in a very desponding state, but I do all I can to arouse him, both by bodily amusement and religious converse.

At about one o'clock of the night of Christmas-day, or rather of the following morning, my wife, Mr. G., and myself got into our palanquins, and started for Khoordagurree, which we visited last year. We arrived at our tent by about ten o'clock on Thursday morning, bathed, dressed, breakfasted, and prepared to start for the caves; but, alas! it began to rain, and the water continued to fall in torrents for upwards of eighteen hours. We might have expected this, for in India it is almost invariably the case in Christmas week. The seasons are very regular; it generally rains every day from the 15th of June to the 15th of October, that is, in this part of India; the next showers are in Christmas-week, and then rarely any more till June. Now, this thorough drenching was both unpleasant and dangerous: for, although the tents kept out the water very effectually, yet everything was so thoroughly damp that we began to be afraid of the deadly jungle-fevers.

Just outside one of the doors of each tent we lighted a large wood fire, and allowed as much of the smoke to come in as we could possibly bear; this warmed us, and dried up the damp and purified the air; and we retired to bed and put out the fires: we closed the doors of the tents, and found ourselves in a comparatively dry healthy atmosphere.

January 4, 1864

Monday. Pay day to-day. I had $205.25 due me, and now let the furlough come. I am ready for it and if it had come before this I could only use it by walking.

Gorton has said so much about a fortune-teller he has several times consulted, that I went with him and had my fortune told. I found the fortune-teller to be an old woman, whether white or black I am not sure. She was black enough, but her features were not like an African's. Whether Gorton had given her any points about me or not I don't know. He says he didn't tell her a thing. She took me in to a room dimly lighted and sat me down at one side of a table while she took the other. Then she spread out a pack of common playing cards, and began. First she said I had received a letter from a near relative that had caused me trouble of mind. That this near relative had also seen trouble on my account. That brought to mind father's letter and I thought, and wanted to say, "Go it, old gal, for you are correct so far." Next she told me I was going on a journey and would start within nine days. That it was partly by water and partly by land, but mostly by water. Also that I was going to meet with a great disappointment soon. These are the things I remember, and are the ones I feel most concerned about. The journey, provided she can read my future, and which I don't yet believe, may be the long expected trip to Matagorda Island. That order has not been countermanded yet. Or it may be I am really and truly going home. Either one would be by water and land both, but mostly by water. About the letter that had caused both myself and a near relative trouble, it must have been the letter from father, and Gorton may have told her of it. The disappointment is what troubles me most. I know of nothing on earth that would be a greater disappointment than the disapproval of my application. Gorton knows all about that and may have told her, though he swears he did not. He says there is another fortune-teller he knows about, but has never seen, that has a greater reputation and charges a greater price. My old woman charged a dollar and the other one has five times that, but all the same I am tempted to see her just to see how they agree. If they should agree I would have to own up they knew something, and if they disagreed I would throw the whole thing off my mind, that is, if I can.

Lieutenant Reynolds wanted to go to the theatre to-night and I have taken his place on guard. A white regiment has moved in with us for winter-quarters. There is room for several regiments, and provided we agree, it will be pleasanter for all.