The Corinth Diary of Private Charles Stevens

27 October 2006

The Papers of the Blue and Gray Education Society, Number 18

Produced from Contributions made to the Battlefield Education, Acquisition, Restoration, Scholarship (BEARSS) Fund

Company A, 47th Illinois Infantry
September 29th-December 5th, 1862
Owned by Van Hedges, Corinth, MS

Charles Stevens
Co. A, 47th,Ill. VOlS
September 28th, 1862
Journal No. 2

Waterford, Miss (7 miles south of Holly Springs) December 5th 1862

The thirteen following pages of this journal were purposely left till the whole was completed. The transactions herein noted transpired between the dates of September 29th of 62 & December 5th of 62, a period of two months and seven days. The topics I propose discussing are such as I could not pass by unnoticed – and still, my observations and qualifications are so limited as to render these subjects from my hand, uninteresting to the Literary World. Thus, I note them for self-gratification.

I will notice the following Subjects – 1 st Soil and its composition, 2nd Production this year, 3 rd Agricultural implements, 4th Education, its extent and the general School system, 5th Effects of war on Southern Soil.

1st Soil and its Composition.

The northern extraction of the writer might to some be an objection to my treating on this subject. In that portion of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama thru which I have passed – the soil is very similar in its external appearance – but the depth of the upper stratum is variable – and in proportion to the depth of this stratum – does the soil yield a proportional increase or decrease. In each of these States the soil is composed of a great proportion of sand and being light, and the particles having little cohesive attraction, many farms are soon ruined by the spring rains – narrow and deep gullies soon forming every few feet, wherever the ground has the least descent.

Many very choice farms are soon ruined unless the landlord takes due precaution and properly circles and ditches his plantations immediately after clearing off the timber. In Tennessee, the soil is finer and more compact than in Miss. None of the black loam common to the Northern portion of Alabama is found either n Mississippi or Tenn. In a gully four feet deep it is common to see half a dozen different layers of sand and each layer quite different in cotonor and quality. Each of these layers contain more or less quicksand – and thus the ease with which it yields to the least amount of running water, soon making plantations untenable and worthless.

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