Lighthouse Gardens

After a few days of this creative hauling, the garden boxes and barrels were filled and ready for planting, and the following afternoon, Mama put on her straw hat and invited us to help her in the garden. While Marian sat on a small quilt nearby, Jacob, Paul, and I poked the seeds into the warm earth. The vegetables were planted in the boxes and in two of the barrels. Two other barrels got flower seeds, and Mama had had the men move the last two barrels to the front of the lighthouse – facing the sea – and we planted the prettiest flowers there. Continue reading

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1863: “Get Into A Battle With Snowballs”

January 20 1863.

I have almost given up writing in my journal for the fact that I have nothing in the world to record. There is too much sameness about this kind of soldier life. One day is the repetition of the duties of the day before, and I can always tell what (in all probability) I will be doing on the same day one month ahead. Capt. Crow is often on other duty, Cannon and Chandler on detached services, and I am generally in command of the Company. Every fifth day at three o’clock P.M. I go on picket and remain twenty four hours. We stand on our side of the river and look at the Yanks. They stand on their side and look at us. Sometimes we exchange papers, though in violation of orders, and sometimes the boys trade them tobacco for coffee. Just below the dam the water is not more than three feet deep, and the boys wade out to a little shoal of rocks in the middle of the stream and meet and take a drink together, make such trades as they wish, then each returns to his own side again. I have to visit some other post in the meantime, or make it convenient to have business in another direction, for it would not do for me to see these violations of orders. And yet I like to read a New York or Philadelphia paper. Continue reading

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Tea With Sarah: Tea, Dancing, & Volunteering

Good afternoon, it’s time for tea!

I’ve been looking forward to starting this new series which features a conversation every other weekend, a chance to “talk” with blog readers and social media friends. Though there was an invitation to ask some questions and get the conversation started, I think everyone’s a little shy and unsure how this is going to work. And that’s okay…

Today, I’ll go ahead and start by sharing about my current favorite teas, a fun memory about Civil War dancing, and some volunteer work I’ve been doing…and you can add some questions or topics for next time in the comments, if you like. Tell us about your favorite books, historical movies, type of tea (or coffee), latest research project, historical sites to visit, and don’t be shy to ask about my favorites!  Continue reading

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Ashby’s Tom Telegraph


Turner Ashby served most his Civil War battles and skirmishes as a colonel, but he was promoted to brigadier general about two weeks before his death. Ashby is a controversial figure among some historians. However, I think it’s relatively easy to agree that his horses helped create his image and his legends. Numerous accounts mention Ashby’s horses and one of his favorites was a big white stallion called Tom Telegraph. Continue reading

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Lighthouse Pets!

A faint meow distracted me. I glanced up anxiously. Mattie? Yes, there, a calico cat poked her nose curiously into the watchroom. After my days of searching, she had appeared when she was ready. Delighted to finally see her, I cautiously stepped down and then crawled across the floor, anxious to win her friendship with a gentle pat. “Here, Mattie… Aren’t you a pretty cat?” She stared at me for a second with scared eyes, turned, pressed against the wall, and darted back down the stairs. I plopped flat on the floor and leaned my head on my hand, discouraged. I was only going to be nice. Didn’t Mattie know that? Why was she still afraid? Continue reading

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1863: “Bullets Plowed Little Furrows”

The comfort of warming chilled fingers and toes and drinking a grateful cup of hot coffee outweighed for the moment any consideration of danger…. As all was so quiet, not a shot having been fired, I…walked out until the enemy’s breastworks were in view and there, sure enough,…a succession of long lines of Gray were swarming over the Confederate breastworks and sweeping towards us but not yet within gun shot range.  Continue reading

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