June 5

June Fifth


Instead of superficial adornments and supine action, the intellectual sympathies and interests of these women were large, and they undertook with wise and just guidance, the management of households and farms and servants, leaving the men free for war and civil government. These noble and resolute women were the mothers of the Gracchi, of the men who built up the greatness of the Union and accomplished the unexampled achievements of the Confederacy.

J. L. M. Curry



It rained nearly all the forenoon, but the skirmishers didn't seem to mind it, but kept on fighting. It was cloudy and sultry all this afternoon, but there was no rain. The enemy tried to assault about dark last night, but gave it up as our artillery had an enfilading fire on them. There was a very heavy rolling musketry fire on our distant right about midnight, but I don't know the reason of it. The enemy tried to carry our left flank about dark by storm, but failed. The roll of artillery and musketry fire was appalling for about a half hour, and the slaughter must have been great. Golly! this is stubborn fighting again! I'm proud of both armies. I wonder what the Johnnies think of us as fighters now? I'm sure they fight hard enough for me.

June 5, 1864

Sunday. Captain Laird, who has not been mustered yet, went to Port Hudson to see about it, to-day. I put in the day visiting and being visited. While in Sol's tent, and as we lay talking to each other, we heard a commotion in Colonel Parker's tent, which was close by. Just then a big black snake slid in under the tent, and stopped when right between us. His head was well up and he just slid over the ground like a sleigh crook. Sol's sword was within my reach and I crippled him before he got any further. Where on earth he could have come from and not be seen till he entered the colonel's tent is a mystery, for the ground is as bare as a board all through the camp, and men are all the time moving about on it. We think he must have crawled under somebody's bunk in the night, and not liking the quarters had started for the country again.

June 5, 1863

Friday. The mail went out to-day and I sent a letter, also my diary up to this time. The Rebs have done all the shooting to-day. Why our side don't answer I don't know. I expect something is going on, maybe getting up a surprise party. I hope it may surprise the enemy worse than the other did. Deserters came out again this morning. They sneak out during the night and hide in the bushes until daylight and then come in. They are first fed and then sent to the landing, and I suppose to some prison down the river. They all tell the same story, that Port Hudson must soon surrender on account of fodder giving out. The Rebs have been shooting a new kind of shot at us to-day. I got hold of one that held together and will describe it. There are six iron plates about a half inch thick, with a small hole in the middle and a row of larger holes about halfway from the center to the outside. In these larger holes are cast iron balls, held in place between the plates by the larger holes, and the whole thing held together by a rod through the center holes. The plates are round and fit the bore of the gun. They make a different and much louder noise going through the air than anything else that has come our way. But like the others, they do little more than trim the trees about us. Colonel Smith thinks the cook-fires show through the trees, and give them our range, so he has ordered them back out of sight.

June 5

June 5, 1870.--The efficacy of religion lies precisely in that which is not rational, philosophic, nor external; its efficacy lies in the unforeseen, the miraculous, the extraordinary. Thus religion attracts more devotion in proportion as it demands more faith--that is to say, as it becomes more incredible to the profane mind. The philosopher aspires to explain away all mysteries, to dissolve them into light. It is mystery, on the other hand, which the religious instinct demands and pursues; it is mystery which constitutes the essence of worship, the power of proselytism. When the cross became the "foolishness" of the cross, it took possession of the masses. And in our own day, those who wish to get rid of the supernatural, to enlighten religion, to economize faith, find themselves deserted, like poets who should declaim against poetry, or women who should decry love. Faith consists in the acceptance of the incomprehensible, and even in the pursuit of the impossible, and is self-intoxicated with its own sacrifices, its own repeated extravagances.

It is the forgetfulness of this psychological law which stultifies the so-called liberal Christianity. It is the realization of it which constitutes the strength of Catholicism.

Apparently no positive religion can survive the supernatural element which is the reason for its existence. Natural religion seems to be the tomb of all historic cults. All concrete religions die eventually in the pure air of philosophy. So long then as the life of nations is in need of religion as a motive and sanction of morality, as food for faith, hope, and charity, so long will the masses turn away from pure reason and naked truth, so long will they adore mystery, so long--and rightly so--will they rest in faith, the only region where the ideal presents itself to them in an attractive form.