As soon as I awoke this morning I heard the cannons booming at Marietta reminding us that this was to be a day of rejoicing. Lucy went home on morning train. Nancy busy cooking this forenoon. We have prepared a dozen peach-pies made of canned fruit — Two large white cakes, a basket full of ginger snaps— five or six dozen jelly tarts. Two plates of trifles, a quantity of soda biscuits, buttered — a large dish of baked veal, and a large basket of apples — I gathered two boquets of flowers. Dialeteus, primroses, bluebells, jonquils, aster flowers, pansies &c — Lucy made yesterday half a dozen small flags of white silk which she painted very nicely — to ornament the table — Kate came on the 11 o clock train she had spent the morning with Mrs. Greenwood —
William has been busy all the morning on the hill directing the men in preparing their bonfires for the evening and I have been busy preparing candles for illuminating the house to night. We cut the candles in half then dipped the wick in petroleum so that they would ignite readily, then set them in candle stands made by cutting off one side of a potatoe flat and hollowing out the other side to receive the candle. I placed them all in position, eight in a window — in all one hundred and fifty six candles.
Seven or eight of the men who have been engaged making the bonfires ready, came here to dinner.
We sent John up to the meeting house with the eatables then he took me up in the carriage — & afterwards Lizzie, Kate, & Sarah, Martha & Nancy were there but Anna McLean went to town.
The table was made in front of the pulpit and literally loaded with good things very tastefully disposed with several vases of flowers & flags &c — above the pulpit a motto constructed of cedar & made by Mrs W. D. Bailey was put up it consisted of these words “Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory” — and some wreaths of cedar were disposed about the house — A large & handsome flag was placed by the stand. Mr Judson J. Hollister was called to the Chair which he took making some very appropriate and patriotic remarks as Mr Curtis did not make his appearance, Mr. Blackinton was called on to make the thanksgiving prayer after which the choir sang “America” — Then the ladies served the dinner by carrying round the refreshments — the house was filled with men, women, & children who were all bountifully fed, and much remained after all had eaten. Next William was called upon for a speech, he responded in his happiest manner, giving his reasons for rejoicing. He rejoiced not merely that the flag was restored to Sumter, that our brave soldiers had gained important victories, and that Lee had surrendered thus virtually closing the war — last he rejoiced in the triumph of right principles — in the recognition of the right of the colored man “to life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness” — he rejoiced that he had a Government able to maintain its authority and willing to pursue a righteous policy — but more than all he rejoiced that he had a God — Both North & South had submitted the case to His arbitrament — and He had made known his decision in a manner that could not be mistaken & he believed that our government would stand until God should establish his own Kingdom in the Earth — These were some of the ideas he advanced, they were well received, and much applauded. Mr Hollister rose to say that he cordially agreed with Mr. Cutler in recognizing the hand of God in our National Affairs. He said too that an occasion like that on which we assembled today could occur but once in a life time &c &c. He called upon the singers for the “John Brown Song” but they said they hadn’t it — Every body seemed to enjoy the day and separated with the understanding that there would be “fire works” in the evening.
As soon as it was dark a perfect line of bonfires on the three hills back of here loomed up, making a most brilliant appearance. There were also some others lighted in the hills in the neighbor hood but none to compare in regularity and beauty to ours. We illuminated the house, which for about three hours made a very fine appearance. Mr. Boothby had a cannon on the hill which he fired at intervals — this with the discharge of guns & revolvers and the cheering of the men & boys, the display of fire works, Roman candles, and some splendid rockets showed the the people enjoyed the holiday & welcomed the return of peace which we hope is not far distant —