Wednesday, 1st of June, 1864

Very dry and warm. Had the team brought out and put to plough. Will have to stop them every now and then, as much as the corn needs work. Washington 1 carried ten bushels corn to Walkerton Mill and had it ground. 2 Brought some meal for Mrs. George. 3  She sent her tumbrel for it. 4  Bill spent the morning at the C.H. 5 to learn as much as possible of Yankee movements. He came to dinner, and Zac soon after. He walked to the C.H. about sunset and returned in the night. Virginia has become the center of war, and O! such a war, unparalleled on the pages of history. We commenced making a pair of pants for Bill today, but it’s impossible for us to work, all seem to be going at random, looking for Yankees. We are surrounded by the whole Yankee army. The roar of the cannon is incessant. Still, we know but very little of what’s going on. All communication is cut off. Now and then a deserter or prisoner gives some vague idea of things. 6  I am trying to have some little work done in the garden by Parky, Dellah, and Martha, and the two little boys, Frank and Tom, are weeding walks and borders in the yard, merely to fill time, for it passes sorely away. 7  Bill is quite complaining. Prevailed on him to take some medicine tonight. Gave him 12 grains Calomel. 8 Hired a mule to Mr. Slaughter yesterday. 9

  1. Washington was one of the Littlepage’s enslaved negroes. His post-war surname is unknown.  (back)
  2. Walkerton, and its long-lived mill, is in King & Queen County across the Mattiponi River, about 1¾ miles upriver from Woodbury.  (back)
  3. Probably Sarah Ann George, widow of Tarpley George. She lived at Cherry Hill, a small 31 acre farm, about a half mile from the Court House on the road to Horse Landing on the Mattiponi River.  (back)
  4. A two-wheeled cart pulled by a single horse, mule, or ox; can be tilted to dump a load. Caroline’s rendering of this word can easily lead to various transcriptions. For our purposes it will be made consistent.  (back)
  5. King William Court House is about 1.5 miles south of Woodbury.  (back)
  6. This would have been the Battle of Cold Harbor, 31 May to 3 June, 1864, to the west & across the Pamunkey River in New Kent Hanover County.  (back)
  7. Parky, Dellah, Martha, Frank, and Tom were also enslaved negroes owned by the Littlepage family. The 1860 Slave Schedule shows Lewis Littlepage with 20 male and 8 female slaves. Dr. Ju owned 6, all but 1 female.  (back)
  8. Calomel was a mercury-based compound from the days of heroic medicine. Generally, the intended effect was that of a diuretic and purgative. Controversial for much of the 19th century, it is no longer used on humans.  (back)
  9. There were eight male Slaughters paying KW Personal Property Tax in 1863 in the same tax district as Woodbury. This may have been P. H. Slaughter who ran a store at the courthouse where the Littlepages had an account.  (back)