The following transcript has been adapted from Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-1868 (1955).
July 4: Mamma is still in bed but is better. The boys have holiday in honor of the Fourth but more I think to keep up old customs than for any feeling of respect for the day. This is the first Fourth in our memory to pass without a public merrymaking of some kind, but we do not hear of the day’s being celebrated in town or country. There are other and sterner duties before us. It would be ill become us as a Nation to be celebrating a day of independence when we are fighting for our very existence.
This July sun has set on a Nation in arms against itself, host against host. Those who have clasped each other’s hands in kindest spirits less than one short year ago, as friends, as countrymen, as children of one common Mother, now stand opposing each other in deadliest haste, eager to water Old Mother Earth with the blood of her children. Our cause is right and God will give us victory. Will the next July sun rise on a Nation peaceful, prosperous, and happy, or on a land desolate and disgraced? He alone knows.
Congress meets today. The lives of thousands hang on its decision. Will it be for peace or war? We should know by Saturday.
Brother Coley returned tonight. He had gone to Memphis with Aunt Sarah, Mr. Miller is stationed only seven hours from Memphis and can run in quite frequently. He is trying to get the Colonelcy of a regiment and is stirring around in his usual style. He says he spends $2,000 a month and lives delightfully. Hope he will make an equal division with Aunt Sarah. Brother Coley enjoyed the trip greatly.