the Diary of Clara Solomon:
Goods for the Hospital at Corinth
this journal entry, Clara tells of her school's collection of goods
for the soldiers who were hospitalized at Corinth, Mississippi, following
the Battle of Shiloh. She also mentions Passover and the lack of food
supplies in New Orleans, as a result of the war.
April 19th, 1862
7 A.M. ...[On Thursday] I helped Ma to pack a basket of things to send
to School. They were raising a box to send to the Hospital at Corinth
[Mississippi], composed of the contributions from each scholar.... It
is an excellent idea, & I hope that the children's mite will be
appreciated. I did not study as usual.... Mrs. S. [Shaw] requires us
to write a history of the war from its commencement to the present day.
It is, as you may imagine, a slight task. [My friend] Miss [Juanita]
Del T. [Trigo] kindly lent me hers from which I [will] copy. Were I
compelled to search for the events myself, it would take me a life time.
In fact, I could never do it.
Before [lunch], I went round to [my sister] A. 's [Alice's] School [Webster
School, where she teaches]. Everything is bustle & confusion. Lints,
bandages, bottles, etc. in the greatest profusion.... I did not stay
long, knowing Ma was waiting for dinner, so left with A.
Ma had decided upon getting no [lunch] of any importance, but as it
was it was suited far better to my taste than our usual [lunches]. Everything
is so dear. It is an utter impossibility to obtain bread. The
bakers have suspended baking, & flour is selling at enormous rates.
Our "motzoes" [(matzah) for Passover] are so miserably
sour that I don't think I have eaten a whole one. A little bit of corn-bread
suffices me. I expect before long we shall all starve.
[After lunch] I met [my friend] Alice going to School, & we trod
together the old familiar path.... I have discovered that I know my
lesson as well without much study.... Oh! I derive no pleasure from
School. There is no one there for whom I have a particular affection.
Oh! how often do I sigh for my old friend, Clara Gascion. She was so
sweet, so affectionate, (every fault is drowned in this one virtue.
I hate "cold" people. Let them be as far removed from me,
as the poles are from each other). There are Misses L. Very nice girls
to be sure, but what does that mean. What does it express.... Then Maggie,
she says she likes me, but do I believe it? Were she never to see me,
she would never think of me. Oh! for some congenial spirit!...
After School I came directly home. Ma was down stairs sewing, A. [Alice]
up dressing, F. [my sister Fanny] out. I resumed my writing for a short
time then went to take [care of my sister] Josie. Resisted my efforts
to quiet her. F. came.... The pretty ladies [she] had seen had made
her quite envious particularly of their toilettes & she cautioned
me not to go on Canal St. for I would see too much grand dressing for
my own comfort. Innocent child! How often have I returned home almost
downhearted at the remembrance of the pretty dresses & faces I had
seen. I put the chicks to bed.... Was asleep at 8, & in bed at 9....
Yesterday, being "Good Friday", there was no School, but the
previous afternoon it was agreed that the teachers should meet at School
the following day to superintend the arranging & packing [of the
goods to be delivered to the hospital at Corinth]. A. went about 10,
but as I had some little work to do, I promised to follow ere the lapse
of much time. I was faithful to my word for it was not an hour after
that I was on my way to the institution "which is for briefness"...we
shall call W.S. [Webster School].
Everything was very orderly & as only a few suitable large girls
had received permission to come. A. was stationed in the yard, receiving
& disposing of the articles as they were sent down by Miss Cornelius.
I gave a helping hand & in a time they were all conveyed to the
proper place. Went up where some were busy doing everything, labeling
goods, sewing up bags, etc.... Such a collection of things! It was perfectly
astonishing how it amasses. But from such a quantity of individuals
everything swells the number.
There was everything necessary for Man's comfort & well-being. Every
variety of everything, & it seemed as tho' each thoughtful parent
had contributed some useful thing unthought of by another. There were
over 1000 bandages, ranging from 1 to 20 yds. in length, clothes &
lint! why a blanket full. Crockery, medicines, & I can't begin to
tell you. But I can say that not a needy thing was missing, & I
was almost envious when I saw the delicious things consigned to the
box. But with everyone went our blessing & the hope that every drop
of the contents of the bottles would infuse new life into the dear wounded
received a visit from Mr. C. the gentleman to whose care the box was
to be intrusted. He was perfectly delighted with everything & said
he would tell them all how the children neglected their studies &
the teachers devoted their energies for the promotion of their comfort.
We told him that we designed them for the wounded soldiers, privates
in the hospital. He promised to comply with all our wishes & insured
us that they would reach their destination in good order.
considerable time was occupied in the tight, close packing of one box,
we all took a farewell glance at it, speculating by whom it would be
opened, how received, etc.; the gentleman covered it up & then left
to obtain another one, saying he would be back in 1/2 hour. We began
to feel the necessity of refreshing the inner man, so we concluded to
dispose of a bottle of preserves, conscious that the one bottle would
in no degree detract from the soldier's share. The tempting biscuits
before me, I refused. But there is not sacrifice in keeping a fast [for
Passover], if temptations are not placed before us.
At three o'clock A. & I deemed it advisable to go, which we did,
promising to return. [Lunch] soon was ready, & subsequent to its
disposition we left for School. The other box was packed...four well
filled boxes was the result of the collection. No School has excelled
us. On top of one was some fans & we earnestly wished that our hands
would, with them, cool some fevered brow, & all lamenting our inability
to accompany them. I should like to administer the things myself.
every wound, to which the lint, picked by the fingers of old & young,
with warm Southern hearts devoted to their country, be applied, heal.
May they all perform the missions for which they were intended. We remunerated
the "gent" & a smile of satisfaction beamed over his pallid
features. It was quite late before we left the building after the performance
of one day's devotion to the brave defenders of our homes....
The Civil War
Diary of Clara Solomon: Growing Up in New Orleans, 1861-1862, edited
by Elliott Ashkenazi, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge,
LA, 1995, pp. 333-337.
Image of Clara Solomon care of Alice Dale Cohan.
Index | Previous
Page | Next
Back | Home
Copyright © 2003 1st
Dragoon's Civil War Site. All rights reserved.