Archive for July, 2011

“A Brilliant Victory”

Monday, July 18th, 2011

On July 21, 1861, Union and Confederate troops faced off in the first major land battle of the American Civil War, the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).  Samuel Rutherford Houston, a Presbyterian minister from Virginia, notes in his diary the rumors and newspaper accounts of the battle:

Sab. [Sabbath,  July] 21: We have reliable intelligence that a battle was fought between the Federals and our men below Charleston…[Federals] routed, many killed…The Dispatch calls it ‘a brilliant victory…’

July 23: A rumor has reached us that a telegram to Newburn Depot announced another battle at Manassas Junction (on Sunday)  and another victory for the Confederates! …A letter from one of the company to which Willie* belongs states that on last Thursday they all marched to meet the enemy at a point about 20 miles below Charleston near where the battle mentioned (Sun 21) above was fought on the day previous – we look for the mail of tomorrow with intense anxiety – whatever the intelligence may be I trust we shall have hearts  [illegible] (if it be sad) to perfect submission with God’s will and if it be chearing [sic] to give him all the glory … How unhappy the condition of this land – the victory gained at Mansasas will I fear great[ly] exasperate the foe and cause them to redouble their efforts…

*presumably William Paxton Houston, Samuel’s eldest son.

The diary is part of the Samuel Rutherford Houston and Family Papers, Mss. 3451, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Louisiana for Bibliophiles

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Leona QueyrouzeImage from Leona Queyrouze Papers.

Exhibition on display in the Hill Memorial Library Lecture Hall through September 3, 2011

Though Louisiana is better known for its politics and laissez les bons temps rouler approach to life, the state also has a long and colorful literary history. The exhibition Louisiana for Bibliophiles: A History of Reading in the Bayou State explores little-known aspects of the history of reading in this corner of the South from the 18th century to the 1940s. Several books from colonial and antebellum Louisiana will be on display, highlighting the importance of books as artifacts. Also included are materials on women’s reading, libraries, and scientific knowledge. Four Louisiana Creole authors are profiled in the context of America’s “forgotten literature,” i.e., American literature written in languages other than English. Aspects of the history of Louisiana newspapers, perhaps the most common and accessible reading material, are also featured.

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