The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966

Notes and Documents

Letters from the rexas Coast, 1675
Edited by JAMES P. BAUGHMAN
OFTEN IN THE LETTERS, DIARIES, OR MEMOIRS OF OBSCURE
persons are found graphic and illuminating glimpses of
important events happening around them. Such is the
case of the "Sussex" letters published in the New Iberia Lou-
isiana Sugar-Bowl during 1875. Written by Norwood Stansbury,
a displaced Louisiana sugar planter searching the northern-coastal
regions of Texas for work, the letters provide significant and
hitherto untapped information on a crucial period of Texas' post-
Civil War recovery. Though much of Stansbury's personal his-
tory is lost, for a brief span he witnessed and luckily recorded
his impressions of his surroundings. His descriptions of economic
conditions in the Texas of 1875, of the early construction of the
future Houston Ship Channel, and his first-hand account of the
destructive hurricane of 1875 are a narrow but deep vein of Texas
history.'
Stansbury was a victim of the hard times of post-Civil War
Louisiana. A sugar planter and overseer by trade, he had pur-
sued his craft both in the West Indies and in southern Louisiana
before the war. In 1861, while on a visit to Texas, he enlisted as
a private in Company L, 1st Texas Infantry, Hood's Brigade. Sent
from Galveston to Virginia early in i861, Stansbury's company
fought with distinction in the battles of the Seven Days, Second
Manassas, Antietam, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and New Mar-
ket, and was mustered out at Appomattox Court House on April
9, 1865.2
Returning after the war to the Bayou Teche country in south-
western Louisiana, Stansbury assumed the management of a small
sugar plantation. There is no doubt that he knew his craft well;
1The eight letters signed "Sussex" were published in the Louisiana Sugar-Bowl
(New Iberia) between January 28 and September go, 1875. Their author is iden-
tified in the issue of September 3o, 1875.
2Louisiana Sugar-Bowl (New Iberia), June 18, 1874; J. B. Polley, Hood's Texas
Brigade (New York, 1910), 296-302, 313-314.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed October 2, 2014.