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This webpage reproduces part of the
Martha Isabella Hopkins Barbour

G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1936

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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of Martha Isabella Hopkins Barbour

 p151  September 1st — I have been employed most of today writing letters. Finished two, one to my aunt, and the other to my cousin. I was very agreeably surprised to find my husband had been breveted. I felt that he deserved to be. I think Mrs. Major Barbour is very pleasant to hear. It sound much better than Mrs. Capt. Barbour. I am and should be proud of my husband. Oh, he is made of the right sort of material. A very amusing scene occurred today relative to his promotion. I mention the fact that I may be able to remember to tell it to husband when I see him. I have many things to tell him when we meet.

September 2d — This day is gone as all must go. I have been writing and sewing. Made some calls and met congratulations on all sides upon the promotion of my husband. I feel sad in not being able to send letters oftener to him. He will know it is not my fault but yet I fear he will be a little uneasy. Every one tells me I am looking so well. I wish husband could see me. I should like his opinion upon it. Two good friends, Mrs. McKinney and Snydar, had a fight today. This is a  p152 lovely night. My pen is not capable of describing it. Everything seems to wear a cheerful aspect, all nature seems smiling upon the silvery rays which descend upon it from the moon, and would if possible express thanks to the Creator for its enjoyment.

September 3d — Spent this morning in sewing. After dinner took a bath which refreshed me. Cousin Sallie and I walked over to see how Mrs. Doswell and the boy were coming on. Found them doing very well. Met Mrs. Snydar there, what a fine woman she is. William Rhodes came here today and he has really amused me the whole evening. I can't say I admire him for I do not, but expect he is more clever than people give him credit for. I wanted him to start some time ago because I felt like writing to my husband, and now it is too late. Sarah gave him her opinion of Cousin Phil, and ended by saying that he was a great deal cleverer than me. That I know myself. The "New York" came in sight tonight. She will be in tomorrow and I may hear from my dearest husband.

September 4th — No letters today from my husband. I expect he is on the march for Monterey. The next arrival will I hope bring me word of his safe arrival there. Received a letter today from my brother, also one from my dear sister Betty.​a How affectionately she writes. If I love one sister more than another, she is my favorite. She tells me dear  p153 little Phil​b is well and very smart. He can't be anything but smart with such a name. I have not been able to compose my mind for reading this week. Hope to commence Monday, renewed in energy. I walked out this afternoon with my cousin. We called to see Mrs. Runnells. Her mother came into the room and it gave me heartfelt pleasure to see her. It brought to my mind the remembrance of my dear departed grandmother. I felt like going up and throwing my arms around her. My walk fatigued me very much. I find I am not quite as strong as Sampson was.

September 5th — Sent a letter off to my husband today. Don't know when I shall hear from him. We are to have no more boats for some time. I feel almost sure that hostilities will cease before the winter and then I hope to be with him. I do not pass my time pleasantly. Sarah is kind as possible but she has no time to think of me. She has a sick husband who requires all of her attention and then her father's spirits are bad and she has to keep him cheerful. I sit with her until about 11 o'clock every morning. Then the Doctor returns and I come into my room and remain alone until dinner. I go down, eat, come back to my room, stay all alone until five o'clock. Then I see Sarah until after tea, when I am again alone until breakfast the next day. Now I would not have husband to know that I am so much alone, it would make him very unhappy, and he can't remedy it. Uncle  p154 Levi's low spirits are distressing. I wish he could overthrow them, he isn't at all like himself.

September 6th — It has been raining since the morning. I have been sick the whole day, and it has passed off sadly to me. I have missed the kind attention of my dear husband, but it is my duty to bear up and I will still try to do it, and pray that God will assist me to do it. I feel too unwell to write. This journal throughout I fear will be sad, sad, sad.

September 7th — I slept very little last night. We had a terrific storm. I never heard the wind blow with such violence, and I felt it too. My bed shook like a cradle. I understand the water has done much damage upon the strand; the trees in the yard garden look like they had been whipped. I was too unwell to get up this morning to breakfast. My good Cousin Sallie sent me up some tea and toast. About 9 o'clock I got up and tried to sew but soon found I was not able. So I took Miss Bremer's works and laid down, soon fell asleep and slept till dinner; took tea and toast again, and tonight feel much better. Uncle Levi has cheered me much by telling me the "New York" would make one more trip. I shall hear from my husband again and have the pleasure of sending another letter to him. God bless him, he is ever in my thoughts. In the distance I hear delightful music. I wish it would continue during the night. Good music always brings to  p155 my mind the band of the dear 3d. I hope to hear it again soon.

September 8th — Looked out this morning and saw a steamer coming in from the West. Felt sure I should hear from my husband. After her arrival in port Uncle Levi went down. He soon returned and reported that Patriotic Texas volunteers had returned. Said he could not find a letter for me, but saw a box on the boat marked "Capt. Barbour" which we dispatched Uncle Tom for. I insisted there was a letter somewhere for me. Presently the gate opened and two officers came in. They proved to be Lieut. King​c and Major Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Macrea. They had no letters for me, but told me of my husband's good health. Major Macrea offered to take charge of a letter from me to him, which I gladly accepted. While I was sitting at the dinner table a little boy came with my letter. It was Mr. Candles' (Albury's) son. How my heart bounded with delight when I saw my dear husband's well-known handwriting. Oh what pleasure his dear letter gave me. I am in good spirits today. The prospectsº of peace isº certainly brightening. I am happy in the hope of being with my beloved one again. Can we ever be thankful enough to kind Providence for all our blessings. I pray for a grateful heart.

September 9th — How time flies, and yet just now it can't fly too rapidly for me. I count the days,  p156 almost the hours, yea, minutes too, which keep me from him I love. A few more months and we shall be united. I am very much interested in "Home" by Miss Bremer. Mrs. Frank is one of the finest characters I have ever met with in a novel. The happy domestic scenes which the family enjoyed are so well drawn, so perfectly true to nature. Judge Frank I admire much in some things, in others I dislike him, but he is like human nature, imperfect. There is a naturalness about Miss Bremer's characters which is very pleasing.

September 10th — This morning opened the chest; found a number of Mr. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Fry's things which I shall take particular pleasure in attending to, because he is my husband's friend.​d It really distresses me to look at the state my beloved husband's clothes were in. He never has such unsightly apparel when I am near. Next week I shall devote to them, and hope soap and water put on them by Aunt Judy will improve their appearance. I find that there is a little of the romantic in me yet. I actually cried tonight over "Home." Oh! the death of Poor Henik would melt any eyes to tears. Miss Bremer's are the only novels I ever read that were perfectly true to nature, and I almost thought they were too true, when she killed Henik. It does seem to me that it spoils the whole tale; at any rate it made me so sad that I could not read farther. His deathbed scene is most touchingly described. I must transcribe a speech he made to his mother a few hours  p157 before his death. He has a dear sister whom he knows will deeply feel his loss. And he says to his mother — "When I am no more," said he with a faint voice, "then tell it to Gabrielle prudently. She has much tender feeling — and she is not strong. Do not tell her on a day — when it is cold and dull — but — on a day — when the sun shines warm — when all things look bright and kindly — then, then tell her — that I am gone first to greet her — and tell her from me — that it is not difficult — to die! — that there is a sun on the other side —"

September 11th — I have been the whole day making some glass melon preserves for my Cousin Sallie and feel very much gratified they turned out so well. Am tonight ready for bed as the exercise has fatigued me somewhat. I finished "Home" today and read some of Pope's poems. I like his essay on Man, but that is the only thing I admire in his whole book. Pink Hannin sent me in Byron today. I anticipate a treat in reading it. I can't help liking his writings and have always felt a sympathy for him. Why, I don't know. I think if he had lived he would have been a happier and better man in his old age. He would have improved. Where is husband tonight? I wish I could be with him wherever he is. I trust there are many days of happiness in store for us.

September 12th — Went out early this morning to see Mr. & Mrs. McKinney. Found them still quite  p158 sick, but in a way to be better. I feel very uneasy about Mrs. Doswell. She is really ill. I shall go over early in the morning and stay all day there to assist in nursing her. I do pray that she may recover. What a loss she would be to her family. Three little children and no one to take care of them. I can't bear to think about it. Sallie and I have had quite a long talk tonight about domestic concerns. I am next month going to move into the little room again and intend to make it comfortable at my own expense. How husband will enjoy it when he comes on, but I hope to be settled with him somewhere before winter. God alone knows if I shall be. He rules and orders all things right.

September 13th — Another Holy Sabbath gone. I have spent it by the bedside of the sick. Early this morning I went over to Mrs. Doswell's and watched by her until the going down of the sun. I hope she is better but really I can't say she is better. Sallie is sitting up there tonight. Mr. Howard called for us to go to a Sabbath Association meeting tonight. I felt too tired. He wanted to put our names down to a paper by which we pledge ourselves to spend the Sabbath holy, and tried to bring others to do it. I refused to sign it because I thought it savored too much of earthly affairs. If my name was down, I should fear that my keeping the day holy was the result of the pledge and not the love I should bear to God, and a just desire to  p159 observe all His commandments. I told Mr. Howard I would reflect upon it, and I feel that it is my duty and happiness to keep holy the Sabbath day, and as a Christian, I also feel that I have vowed to do it, by the assistance of divine grace, and to put my name down upon a paper devised by men seems to me sacrilegious.

September 14th — This has been the warmest day I ever felt. Major Fry, my husband's friend, arrived today. He will spend some two weeks with us. I shall endeavor to make his time pass off pleasantly. The mosquitoes are tormenting tonight.

September 15th — Rose early this morning, went down and culled some flowers before breakfast. After that refreshing meal, dressed myself and went to sewing. About one o'clock Major Fry called and is now regularly domesticated in the family. I like him as the friend of my dearest husband, and trust that his health will improve while he stays.

September 16th — Is it possible the 16th of September is here. I can hardly realize it. "Time flies." I wish it would hasten on and bring the day when I shall have my husband. I walked over this morning to see my friend Mrs. Doswell. Found her slightly better. The doctor thinks she will get well. Indeed I trust so. General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McLeod came over this evening and invited us all to go down this evening to take ice cream. We accepted. Company came  p160 in which prevented Sallie from participating. Major Fry and I went. I enjoyed it very much. I made them all laugh by asking if it was possible to eat to the health of absent ones. "Oh, yes," said the General, "we will eat to Phil's health," which I consented to with pleasure. Bless his dear heart, I can never enjoy anything without wishing for him to share it. I hope soon we will be united to share everything with each other. It is seventeen days since I heard. If a letter does not come soon I shall have a fit of blues to perfection.

September 17th — I am too much fatigued to write a word in my journal.

September 18th — Another night my journal will have to be neglected. It is too late to write.

September 19th — Went over early this morning and sat by Mrs. Doswell until nearly dinner time. While there the "Galveston" came in and I was on tiptoe to hear if there were any letters for me. When I came home Sallie told me she had sent to the office and there was nothing for me. My heart fell, but instantly I revived and said to myself, Husband I know has not had time to write. Soon afterward saw Major Fry come in at the gate with a handful of letters, papers, etc. Then I thought, Ah, there's something for me, but what he came in and called out "Mrs. Anderson" and said nothing to me, I remained in my room. Sal went down, I  p161 sat still, presently Major Fry called and said he had a paper for me. I went down, looking very composed, but feeling mighty blue. He handed me the papers and much to my surprise drew from his pocket two letters. I was so delighted to get them that I did not take time to quarrel with him for the delay, but afterward I told him I did not suspect him of having any mischief in his composition before. He laughed and said he did it to see if I had any self-denial, and found out I had. My dear husband is the best fellow in this world for writing to his wife so often. I do hope soon to be fixed somewhere. I am crazy to enjoy his society and I can't be happy without him.

September 20th — Went to the Sunday School this afternoon. Did not have a very interesting class. Heard Mrs. Eaton again tonight. Saw Mrs. Gardiner, she spoke to Major Fry for Cousin Phil. I must write that to him. She says she has a letter for me. I wish she would send it down. I know it is from my good friend Mrs. Macrae. After church tonight Major Fry and I had a long talk about matters and things. I like him more and more. We have concluded to call each other Cousin. I can't help liking any one that my husband esteems, for the fact of his liking any one is a sure passport for them to my favor.

September 21st — This day has passed and gone, and I count it almost lost for I have done no good.​e

 p162  September 22d — Went over this morning to see Mrs. Doswell. Did not find her so well. I feel really very uneasy about her. My cousin is sitting up there tonight. I am not able to sit up at night. Walked over after tea with Cousin Cary to General McLeod's. Sat about a half hour, came home and played for him the "Magic Spell." He seemed to like it very much. Have written tonight a page and more to my husband. God bless him. I wish we could be settled.

September 23d — This day has passed without anything of moment occurring. We all took tea out at Colonel Love's; during the whole time my thoughts were upon my absent husband. I could not enjoy myself while I knew that he was alone. Yes, and no doubt this whole evening he has been sitting in his tent with his thoughts upon me. Indeed there has been something telling me so. I have communed with him in spirit while all around was gay and joyous. Oh, I am nearly crazy to see him. I pray that God will give me grace to bear up. But it really makes me sick when I think of being away from him so long.

September 24th — I really feel Mrs. Doswell is ill. The doctor went over there at 9 o'clock tonight to hold a consultation with Drs. Price and Yager, and has not yet arrived. I feel great uneasiness about her, but trust in God she will be well soon. I have felt sad today and if I put any faith in presentiments,  p163 would believe I was going to hear bad news from my husband. Oh, this state of uncertainty is horrible.

September 25th — Did not rest well last night. Slept all the morning. This afternoon went to see Mrs. Doswell. She is still very ill. I fear her days are numbered, but if it is the will of God I pray she may recover. I almost dread to hear from her tomorrow. We must put our trust in God. He alone knows what is for our good.

September 26th — This morning on waking found it very cold. The wind was blowing from the north. I felt much like having a chill. Had to put on winter clothes and sit over the fire for some time. Poor Mrs. Stewart lost her little boy last night. Sarah and I went down to see her this morning. She bears it with great fortitude. I am melancholy whenever I think of Mrs. Doswell. It is almost impossible for her to get well. Oh, what a shock it will prove to her husband, when he returns to find his wife dead and three little children without a mother. It is horrid to think of, and yet it is all right. God knows best. It is done in wisdom and I pray that the family may be enabled to bear up under the affliction with Christian fortitude. I have not seen her for several days though I have been there frequently, but my services were not required and I did not go into the room. If it is the will of God I trust she may be permitted  p164 to live to see her husband. When I reflect I see how kind and merciful my Heavenly Father is to me, and I pray that I may be ever grateful for all His blessings. The "Galveston" went out today. She carried two letters to my dear husband. Bless his heart.

September 27th — Another Sabbath has passed away. Went this morning with Cousin Cary to hear Mr. Henderson preach. He was quite delighted with him. This afternoon I walked over to see Mrs. Doswell. Oh, what a change there is in her since I last saw her. There is no hope, her doom is written. I pray that we may be all prepared as well as she is when we are called hence. Tonight Mr. Eaton gave us a very spiritual sermon. I thought much about my husband today. It is 27 days since I heard from him, and it requires all my fortitude to bear up. Soon I hope to get letters. I put him in the keeping of God. He will take care of him.

September 30th — My mind has been in such a state of uneasiness about my husband for two days that I forgot all about my journal, and this morning I accidentally saw the book in the drawer and remembered that I had not written in it for two days. I do not feel so uneasy now as I did about my husband, because there is a gentleman in town from the Rio Grande who says he heard nothing about these rumors, and I feel it my duty not to believe anything I see in the paper. If I don't get  p165 a letter by the "Galveston" I shall be very unhappy. My trust is in God.

Thayer's Notes:

a Elizabeth Goode Hopkins Stewart; she is buried in Louisville, KY. A photograph of her grave, with other details, may be seen at Find-a‑Grave.

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b Philip N. Barbour, born Oct. 23, 1844: not quite two years old when Martha Barbour wrote; he is buried in Louisville, KY. A photograph of his grave, with other details, may be seen at Find-a‑Grave.

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c John Haskell King: born in Michigan, appointed from Michigan. Second Lieutenant in the 1st Infantry 2 Dec 1837; First Lieutenant 2 Mar 1839; Captain 31 Oct 1846; Major in the 15th Infantry 14 May 1861; Brigadier General of Volunteers 29 Nov 1862; honorably mustered out of volunteer service 15 Jan 1866; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 14th Infantry 1 Jun 1863; Colonel in the 9th Infantry 30 Jul 1865; retired 20 Feb 182; Brevet Colonel 20 Sept 1863 for gallant and issue service in the battle of Ruffs Station, Ga.; Major General 13 Mar 1865 for gallant and meritorious service in the field during the war and Major General of Volunteers 31 May 1865 for gallant and meritorious service during the war. Died 7 Apr 1888. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

For a fuller biographical sketch, see the article under his burial place, Arlington National Cemetery; and note that on his tombstone his birthplace is given as Sacketts Harbor, NY — rather more plausibly to my mind than Army records, which are not inerrant.

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d See her husband's letter, Sept. 1.

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e Unbeknownst to her, Sep. 21, 1846 was the day her husband was killed in battle. Capt. Bainbridge's letter to her with the details of Phil Barbour's death is appended to the journals, p183 ff.

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