Officer’s Wife Diary From 1871


Here I am again looking back at history. So much to learn from those brave women who’ve blazed the trail for all today’s brave women.

Please, read and enjoy this excerpt from the diary of “an officer’s wife” written in 1871.  The official title is: Army Letters from an Officer’s Wife, 1871-1888 by Frances M. A. Roe.

Sure makes me appreciate the comforts I have today!


It is late, so this can be only a note to tell you that we arrived here safely, and will take the stage for Fort Lyon to-morrow morning at six o’clock.

I am thankful enough that our stay is short at this terrible place, where one feels there is danger of being murdered any minute. Not one woman have I seen here, but there are men, any number of dreadful-looking men, each one armed with big pistols, and leather belts full of cartridges.

But the houses we saw as we came from the station were worse even than the men. They looked, in the moonlight, like huge cakes of clay, where spooks and creepy things might be found. The hotel is much like the houses, and appears to have been made of dirt, and a few drygoods boxes. Even the low roof is of dirt. The whole place is horrible, and dismal beyond description, and just why anyone lives here I cannot understand.

I am all upset! Faye has just been in to say that only one of my trunks can be taken on the stage with us, and of course I had to select one that has all sorts of things in it, and consequently leave my pretty dresses here, to be sent for all but the Japanese silk which happens to be in that trunk. But imagine my mortification in having to go with Faye to his regiment, with only two dresses.

And then, to make my shortcomings the more vexatious, Faye will be simply fine all the time, in his brand new uniform! Perhaps I can send a long letter soon, if I live to reach that army post that still seems so far away.