Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail: Bill Thayer 
[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]

This webpage reproduces part of the
Martha Isabella Hopkins Barbour

G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1936

This text has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

of Martha Isabella Hopkins Barbour

 p131  August 1st — This has been rather an unpleasant day out of doors. I have spent it very agreeably. Finished a shirt for husband and my heart was made glad by another dear letter from him; with what deep affection his letters are filled. My letters to him are so tame, but, Oh, he knows the love I bear for him. God bless him.

August 2d — Another Sabbath has passed, and I have been permitted to spend it quietly. Attended Church this morning. Mr. Dean read a sermon.  p132 Whenever I see him come into the pulpit I feel disappointed and yet I know the feeling is wrong, even if he is not eloquent, and does not tickle the ear, yet the office he is filling should entitle him to respect. Mrs. McLeod was too unwell to go to Sunday School today. Miss Moore opened the School and gave us a very fine extempore prayer. We all called to know how Mrs. McLeod felt. Did not see her though. Miss Kate says she is not much sick. Sat in the choir tonight. It is the first and I think the last time. I should be happy to give my voice towards helping out but I can't worship as I should like. There is some one talking all the time and prevents my fixing my attention upon what I should. I learned about dark tonight that the steamboat "Rough and Ready" had arrived on her way to the Rio Grande, from New Orleans. I hope she will not go out before tomorrow afternoon as I want to write to my husband. I sent a letter this morning to Mr. Cobb for Cousin Phil. Mr. Cobb kindly offered to send it down by a vessel leaving today for Point Isabel. I hope it will reach him safely. He has nothing but my letters to cheer his lonely hours and he should have more of them if I only had opportunities for sending them.

August 3d — Wrote to my husband today.a Have sat very closely sewing during the whole day. Went into the Gulf this afternoon. How I did enjoy it. The water was so clear and the waves came upon us  p133 so gently, but with sufficient force. I always feel so well after a bath, and am already ready to take one. It really makes me happy to think how glad dear Cousin Phil will be to hear I have been in the Gulf and the good effect it has upon me. I wish we could enjoy it together. I am so sleepy.

August 4th — I woke early this morning. Found it raining and was quite surprised, for it was very clear last night. After cleaning up my room and reading my usual time, I seated myself to sewing but felt so unwell that I was obliged to put my work up and take a nap, which refreshed me very much. The rain ceased this afternoon and Sallie and I walked over to General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McLeod's, each of us carrying a new shirt to sew on. We sat until near sunset and when ready to come home Mrs. McLeod insisted that we should take tea which we did and had a delightful visit. It really makes me happy to think I have met with such a pure being as Mrs. McLeod. She is my standard for everything, but I feel I can never reach her, yet it will always be a pleasant reflection that I had feeling and heart enough to appreciate her. Tonight finds my thoughts upon my absent husband. I am ever thinking of him but it seems that I am (if it is possible) drawn nearer to him in feeling and thoughts when the moon shines brightly. There seems to be a something in the moon's rays which brings him before me more plainly. I trust the time is near when we shall be permitted to enjoy  p134 the light of the moon together and can express our thoughts in person upon the effect it produces. Miss Clark tells me she is keeping a journal. I hope it is more interesting than mine, but soº this proves pleasant to my dearest husband I will be satisfied. He is all I live for. Wrote a P. S. in Sarah's letter to Jenny today. Talked about her friend Guy, which of course will prove very interesting.

August 5th — I awoke this morning early. Got up, dressed, made up my bed and took a run around the garden before breakfast, which gave me a fine appetite, after which I seated myself to work and about 10 o'clock Mrs. Manard and Miss Maxwell came in and dined with us. I found Miss M. and I should be good friends for she knows so many people that I am acquainted with. My esteemed friend, Sarah Irvine, she knows and loves as does everybody that has had the pleasure of seeing her. Finished a shirt for my husband. Have only four to make which seems as nothing. Had an opportunity of sending a letter to him by Mr. Wagner who leaves early in the morning for Matamoras. My letter is short, yet much better than none for it will tell him I am well and add some little toward keeping a smile upon his countenance. I don't know why but for some days past I have taken it into my head that dear Cousin Phil has felt and looked sad. I hope not for if he does not keep cheerful I know I cannot. Col. Manard​b thinks this war will be closed in a few months. I  p135 trust so, but do not like to think about it at all for it only makes me sad. I can't see any prospect of its settlement. Oh, I wish I could. I came to Galveston in December, 1845, expecting to be with my husband in the spring, but spring has passed away and can never be recalled and now summer is most gone and still I am here. Soon the "sear and yellow leaf" will be with us and then again fierce winter, and even then I may be in as much uncertainty as now, but God grant it may not be the case. In Thee I put my trust.

August 6th — Slept later than common this morning, but was up in time for breakfast. It was very warm. There seemed not a breath of air stirring. I took a shower bath which refreshed me much. About 10 o'clock Mrs. Manard sent her carriage for Sarah and Iº to go and spend the day with her and Miss Maxwell at Mrs. McKinney's. We went and found Mrs. McKinney as kind and pleasant as ever. I enjoyed the visit very much. The ladies all were gay and in fine spirit, but a sadness would steal over my feelings when I remembered how far away my husband was, and after a smile would play upon my features when my thoughts were all with him. I endeavor to overcome my disposition to be sad, and that is why I look cheerful to all around when my feelings are entirely absorbed in thinking of our prolonged separation, and if I were to look as I feel there would always be a tear in my  p136 eye instead of a smile upon my face. What is life without those we love — "A dull dreary waste."

August 7th — Got up this morning feeling very well. After breakfast went into the parlor and commenced reading in a number of the "Spectator" and soon was so overcome with sleep, laid down on the sofa and took a short nap; then came upstairs intending to go to sewing but felt so sleepy and sick that I undressed and laid upon the bed; took a good long nap, after which I felt very well. This afternoon Sallie and I walked over to see Mrs. Adams but did not find her home. Sallie then went to Mr. Doswell's and I went down to the store; got some nice buttons for husband's shirts and an oilcloth cap for myself. It will protect my hair from the salt water when I bathe. I returned by the Doswells' and on reaching the gate saw a little fellow on the porch dressed in trousers which proved to be Sid. He did look so sweet I could not go into the house until I had made a fuss over him. Found Mrs. J. there, also Mrs. Stewart. Made an engagement with Mrs. Johnston to go out bathing tomorrow afternoon. Am to spend the day at Mr. Doswell's. Shall in a few days be looking out for news from my dear husband. How much happiness it gives me to have his miniature. I keep it in my writing drawer where I can look at it just as many times during the day as I wish. Mrs. Adams' house brought to mind our dear little cottage at Fort Jesup and I thought if I could only be there again  p137 with my husband that my cup of happiness would be full.

August 8th — Awoke this morning and found it raining and felt glad as I did not feel in the humor for visiting, but it cleared up about 10 o'clock A.M. and Sarah wished to go so of course I went. We spent the day very pleasantly with one exception. Mrs. Grey and Doswell both undertook to make known the faults of our good Jenny, and Sallie could not sit quietly by and hear stories told upon her friend without defending her. It was the most ill‑timed affair I ever saw. If they did not admire Jane surely we as her best friends should not have been told of it. I was very much surprised at it and said I loved Jenny and know her to be a high-toned honorable girl. Sallie was quite hurt at the manner they talked about Jane but kept very cool. We received a box of fine peaches today, sent by our esteemed friend, Mrs. Fuller, and while eating of them how often I wished my own dear husband had some. Poor fellow, I wonder if he get anything fit to eat. I do wish I could be with him to minister to his wants. A few months more and we will be united, I hope. I have just looked at his miniature and fancy his countenance is sad. I hope he is not sick; if we can't be together, I pray that we may both have health, that greatest blessing.

August 9th — Another Sabbath passed away. Went to Church this morning. Mr. Eaton gave his flock  p138 a lecture upon their lukewarmness. It was really deserved and I hope may have the desired effect. Dr. Work called here this afternoon and told Sal a vessel was out in the bay from Point Isabel on her way to New Orleans and he learned, through a gentleman on board, that the Mexicans were retreating from Monterey into the interior. I dont know if I should put any faith in what I hear, let it be "good," "bad," or "indifferent," for so many various rumors reach me. I understand the "Hitchcock" is off, and if so she will be in tomorrow and I may hear by her from my husband. "Hope springs eternal in the human breast!" Sarah and I took Phil and went to Church tonight. Dr. A. was not well enough to go out. Mr. Eaton gave us a fine sermon upon infant baptism and spoke so beautifully upon the provision made for infants in the "spirit land" and said parents who have lost their children should feel happy to reflect upon meeting them in the world to come, and rejoice that God has taken them to Himself for they would prove a link to draw us nearer to Him. I thought of my dear little babe, and could scarce realize I had given birth to an immortal soul, but have, and that dear little one is now an angel above. I pray that my husband and I may be guided by the Spirit of God to meet our dear babe in that holy place where "sorrow is unknown."

August 10th — Commenced a letter to husbandc today and shall keep on writing until an opportunity  p139 presents for sending it down to him. Finished the third shirt for the dear fellow today. Hope they will all fit. Mrs. Johnson came over early this morning with Sid and dined with us. Sid was the life of the house. He is a very smart child. She is a sensible and good woman.

August 11th — It rained all the morning and Sal and I began to think we should not go to pay our visit, but by dinner it cleared off and we came out to the McKinneys'. I have spent the afternoon delightfully and should have continued to spend my time so, but I permitted myself to talk too freely of home matters and fear I said too much. If I do wrong I always feel it afterwards, and I wish I could get into the right path. Wrote a letter to husband today. The "New York" came in but brought no news. I am very anxious to hear from him, how he is, and where. I am surrounded by kind friends but who can fill the place of one's husband?

August 12th — Slept quietly last night. The day has been very warm and I have suffered with heat. This afternoon took a bath which refreshed me exceedingly, afterward we all got ready for a ride. Mr. & Mrs. McKinney went in a buggy, Pink and I on horseback. I enjoyed it so much. We rode very fast and the exercise I know has made me feel better. It gave me an appetite for my supper. We have had tonight quite an amusing scene, the  p140 little negro girls dancing. Sal's maid Mary and Mrs. McKinney's Ailey. They cut if off both at first in fine style, and really their movements were graceful. Sal played for them and after finishing one of the polkas she commenced a waltz. Mary put her arms a "Kimbo" and was perfectly at home in the waltz. Not so with Ailey. She stopped short and admired Mary, and her countenance seemed to say — Oh, I give up. You are a city lady. I have thought much about my husband today. My thoughts are ever with him, bless his heart. I sent a letter to him yesterday by the "New York." Oh! how I want to see him.

August 13th — I do not feel like writing one word in my journal tonight. I am too sad — the hope of soon seeing my husband seems to be getting fainter and fainter and while that is the case I can't feel happy.

August 14th — Slept very sound last night and did not get dressed the morning until breakfast. Walked in the garden then came into my room, read and went to work. Have not felt much like sewing today. Felt so sleepy before dinner that I was obliged to take a nap. This afternoon enjoyed a delightful bath. Mrs. Adams and Kate Gray came over to see us after dinner and sat two or three hours. After they left Sallie and I rode down to the store. We supplied ourselves with quills and ink, and I hope now my letters to my husband will  p141 be something neater than heretofore. Since tea Capt. Randolph​d and Mr. Howard called. They were both entertaining. Mr. Howard told us tomorrow night the debate in the lyceum would come off on the question, "Whether the mediation of England should be accepted, etc." Capt. Randolph seems to be pleased with Miss Clarke. We told him any evening he would call we would go over with him to see her. He was much gratified for the offer. I shall look anxiously for the "Galveston" tomorrow. I want very much to hear from my husband and that is the only way by which I can get letters. I have a slight presentiment that soon we shall meet. Sent a letter to him today.

August 15th — With this day half the month has passed and gone. Spent the morning as usual, reading, writing and sewing. Received by the "Galveston" today three letters, one from my friend Mr. Henry who showed great kindness in writing. He knew I would be anxious to hear from my own "Cousin Phil." Two letters were from home. Brother Robert tells me John is very smart, and I know he is. Commenced a letter today to my husband. Was prevented by company from writing much. Mrs. McLeod and Miss Kate came over and took tea with us this evening. She did not hear from the General and seems quite sad about it. I hope by the next arrival we shall both get several long  p142 letters from our husbands. It was really amusing to hear me trying to cheer her up.

August 16th — Another Holy Sabbath passed and gone. I have heard two excellent sermons from Mr. Eaton. This Church is highly favored in having such a minister. I found great pleasure this afternoon in reading Blunt's "Life of Christ." It is beautifully written. I should have liked husband to read it. I know he would become deeply interested with the history of Christ. I hope to have an opportunity of sending a letter to my "gude man" tomorrow. He is a dear fellow, every inch of him.

August 17th — Got up this morning determined to devote the day to letter writing. Wrote several pages to husband, and a long letter to Brent. This afternoon went into the Gulf and tonight I felt so refreshed and healthful. There is nothing I enjoy so much as bathing in the surf. Mrs. Johnston is with us tonight, and intends spending several days. I expect to enjoy her company very much and nursing Sid will be fine amusement for me. I wonder if husband is not writing to his Mattie at this hour. God bless him. Will the time ever come when we shall be settled.

August 18th — This has been the warmest day I ever felt in Texas. It unfitted me for everything. Mrs. Johnston came up into my room and sat, and dear little Sid did all he could for our amusement. I  p143 went this afternoon to a meeting of the ladies of the Church, and I did amuse myself at their doings. I related everything to Sallie and Mrs. J. when I reached home, and they laughed long and loud. Heard tonight that the "Tom Jack" had arrived from Point Isabel. I hope to get a letter from my husband. Gave one today to Mr. McKinney to send to him. If I can get one tomorrow from him I shall be too happy. My candle is just about to give out, which cuts short my writing.

August 19th — I have been worried today by hearing so many different rumors about the army. In the last 24 hours I have been told four different stories and am of course at a stand which to believe. The proper plan is for me not to believe any, but wait for my husband's letter to get the truth. It does seem so hard that I can't hear from him. It is twenty‑two days since I received news from him. I know he has written. He always does his duty. I wish I could say that about the postmasters. Mrs. Johnston is still with us. How I shall miss dear little Sid when she leaves. Mrs. Hopkins called here this afternoon accompanied by her husband and sister, Mrs. Price. I really fell in love with Mrs. Hopkins but do not admire the sister. There is too much affected grandeur about her. Before coming up in my room tonight I helped Mrs. Johnston burn the mosquitoes out of her bar. We found quite a number introdu­cing their bills into Sid's flesh. I think in trying to get them out of her  p144 room I have brought them all into mine. They bite me so that I can't write.

August 20th — Rose at 7 o'clock this morning and was glad to see it cloudy for the sun has been so very warm for some days. Then to have it obscured was certainly a relief. The steamer "James L. Day" came in today from Lavacca.​e It was a great disappointment to me when I heard he was not from Point Isabel. Mrs. Johnston and Sid left this afternoon. How I miss them. I really feel attached to them both. She should feel grateful that she has a child to enliven and keep up her spirits in her husband's absence. If my dear little babe had lived, what comfort she would have been to me during my separation from my husband.

August 21st — I was made happy by a letter from my husband today. He is in "tiptop" health. The prospect of peace has already made me feel like a different being. There seems a weight taken off my heart which has been there for almost fifteen months and I once more hope to be settled. I will try not to be too certain for I may be disappointed. It is quite late. I have just finished a four page letter to Cousin Phil and as I have much to do tomorrow I will at once to bed.

August 22d — Rose this morning with very industrious intentions and carried them out. Mrs. McKinney came in and spent the day with us. This  p145 house is never without company. Hannah Dyer called this afternoon. Tonight Sal and I had some fun clearing Uncle Levi's bar of mosquitoes. I think he has a regiment quartered there. We have been since tea singing together, and if we only practice, when husband comes on what a treat we will give him in the way of music. Wrote a long letter to him today. This is the hour when our spirits meet, when all around is quiet, we are with each other in thoughts. How delightful it is to feel there is a community of feeling between one's self and the being we love, and when sitting alone what a thrill of pleasure will pass through the heart when we remember that there is a spirit kindred to our own, a heart that pulsates in unison with our own. What a barren waste this world would be without true affection.

August 23d — Rose at my usual hour this morning, cleaned up my room before breakfast, and on going downstairs, I discovered there was a norther blowing and the air seemed to brace me up. I have really felt in better health today than I have since '44. The weather today has been strange for August. During Church I was fearful I should have a chill, not that I felt sick, but the air was so cool. I saw ladies with heavy silk shawls on. I have attended to all my duties for the day. Tonight Mr. Eaton gave us one of his first rate sermons.

 p146  August 24th — Went through my duties as usual this morning and seated myself at work at about 9 A.M. By 12 o'clock I finished my fourth shirt for husband. Came into my room and laid down, soon fell asleep and quite a refreshing nap when Mary called me to dinner. Read most of the afternoon. Soon after taking my bath several ladies called, Mr. Johnston among them. She wished me to go with her to see Mrs. McLeod. I went, of course. We saw Miss Kate. Mrs. McLeod was out. When I returned home tea was near ready and I proposed to my Cousin Sallie that after tea we should walk over to see Mrs. Doswell and family. She agreed at once and seemed delighted with the idea. Well, when we were ready to start, her husband refused to go with us. I immediately said it mattered not if he did not feel like going; that I did not care for it particularly. Sarah insisted upon going and I went at last because I was afraid it might make her feel bad. Phil walked over with us, and we had a very pleasant visit. Cupid came back with us. I shall not again propose going anywhere at night, because it is not pleasant to Dr. A. to go and I can be very happy at home. One thing I know, my husband would never refuse to walk with me anywhere. Sarah is one of the finest women I ever saw.

August 25th — I awoke this morning feeling very unwell, but forced myself to get up, as I wanted to assist my cousin Sallie in making some citron preserves.  p147 After sitting over the fire for some time, I felt greatly relieved. We finished the preserves and they really reflect credit upon us. Tonight I am suffering with headache, the effect of too much exercise I expect. Wrote a hurried letter to husband today. I think a great deal about him. Mrs. Johnston called here this afternoon and said she was beginning to count the weeks when she should see the General. I told her if I could begin to count the weeks which were to pass before I should see my husband I should be perfectly happy, and a murmur should not pass my lips again. She thinks her case much worse than mine. Well, that is the way with the world, selfish to the very core. I heard a gentleman say today at the dinner table that he knew he was selfish and he gloried in it. I feel happy that I have known one being who has no selfish feelings, and that being is my husband. God bless him.

August 26th — I scarcely know what has passed today. As usual I have been sewing, reading and sleeping. This afternoon company called of course. Tonight Capt. Randolph came up for us to go over with him to see Miss Clark. We found quite a levee there, Mr. and Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Gray and several others. Miss Clark permitted herself to show some temper. Capt. Randolph quizzed her, which she did not receive with a good grace. Sal and I were highly amused and after getting home had a good laugh about it. Capt. Randolph sees that she is easily  p148 teased and it is fine fun for him to do it. I must really remember the many little things which passed between, to tell husband when I see him. Sallie got a letter from Jenny today. She sends plenty of love to "Cousin Phil." I wish I could step in upon him tonight. How it would surprise him. I know I would find him writing to his Mattie.

August 27th — Got up early this morning and after reading went into the kitchen to make a custard for dinner as we expected company. I wanted it to be very nice and finished it off except beating the whites in complete style. Well, I went at the whites and there was a knife on the table which I thought would do to beat them with. So I took it. By the time I had passed it through the egg twice, I saw it change color, and found I was using the knife with which Sallie had cut lemons. I thought at once the "cake was all dough." We laughed and still felt worried as all young housekeepers would. We sent about the neighborhood to buy some more eggs but could not get any. Finally Anne commenced on the lemon ones, and soon they become very light and answered every purpose, which greatly relieved my mind. Sallie and I were ready to receive the company at 10 o'clock and they did not come until one. I was quite put out the rest of the day. The dinner passed away very pleasantly. Soon after tea tonight a buggy drove up to the gate and Mrs. Settle and Miss Thinn came in. They are spending the night with us. Mrs. Settle  p149 does improve on acquaintance and Eliza Thinn is a very agreeable child. We have had plenty of music for one night. I talked about my husband and wished inwardly I could see his dear face again. This journal is rather deficient in many respects. I don't think I am quite minute enough in some things and too minute in others. Hope husband will find it all he wishes, but I don't expect it to compare with his.

August 28th — I did not rest well last night, the rain kept me awake. I found at one time it was raining on my bed and had to get up and move it. This has been a very rainy day. Mr. William Rhodes dined with us. I really like him. He seems to be a very sensible youth. Mrs. Settle and Eliza left this afternoon. I contributed my share toward entertaining them. Played several songs, etc. For the first time succeeded in getting the "Neighbors" (this evening) by Miss Bremer, and intend reading it. Mrs. McLeod and Miss Kate sat with us until bedtime tonight. Mrs. McLeod looks badly and very sad. Really I behave better than she or Mrs. Johnston. I do feel like the war would soon be over, and I restored to my husband. Indeed I shall never leave him again. God bless him.

August 29th — I have not been well today. This morning felt like being very sick, but after a good nap of sleep was much better. Sallie and I rode out to see Mrs. Manard this afternoon. Had a  p150 pleasant visit and nice supper. Mrs. McLeod leaves on the next steamer for St. Louis. If I have time I will write to Sarah Irvine by her. I am much interested just now in the "Neighbors" by Miss Bremer. I believe I like it better than any novel I ever read. The quiet and blissful domestic scenes she describes bring to my mind my own sweet fireside. I am getting quite sad again. It will soon be a month since I heard from husband. I must get a letter surely in a few days.

August 30th — Did not rest well last night. Was up several times. This morning I felt like I had not been asleep at all. Went to Church, returned home completely worn out. Had no appetite for dinner. Took a short nap and felt better. Attended my Sabbath School and class was more attentive this afternoon. They seemed greatly interested in the history of Christ. Called to see Mrs. Doswell and the fine boy. Both are doing well. Sarah, Miss Kate and I went to Church tonight and Phil for our escort. I wonder what husband will say to my going about at night without a gentleman. Sarah has made an engagement to dine at Col. Love's tomorrow. I am very sorry for my inclination leads me to stay at home. I feel so sad that I don't hear from husband. I wish a boat would come in. Live in hope is still my motto.

Monday night, 31st — God be praised for all his mercies. Surely I should feel happy. Four letters from  p151 my dear husband and written so much like himself. Oh, I am blessed far beyond my deserts. My heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for all His blessings. The prospect of peace is very cheering to my heart. I pray that it may be soon accomplished and I once more with him I love.

Thayer's Notes:

a See her husband's letter, Sept. 1.

[decorative delimiter]

b Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army lists no officer by the name of Manard (or Menard) with the rank in 1846 of Lieut.‑Colonel or Colonel, including brevet ranks.

[decorative delimiter]

c See her husband's letter, Sept. 1.

[decorative delimiter]

d Victor M. Randolph, U. S. N.: He held several prominent posts up to the War between the States, in which he fought for the Confederacy. In History of the Confederate States Navy from its Organization to the Surrender of its Last Vessel (New York, 1887), p37, J. Thomas Scharf writes: "Capt. Victor M. Randolph, late of the United States navy, was appointed by the State of Florida to the command of the navy-yard at Pensacola, and assisted Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Wm. H. Chase, then in command of the State forces around Pensacola, in the reduction of that navy-yard".

[decorative delimiter]

e Port Lavaca, Texas; the printed text has Lanacca. Martha Barbour almost certainly wrote Lavacca, but her handwriting was misread by the editor.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 15 Aug 15