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Sunday 28th [August 1864]

Mr. Henry & I went to Sardis to Willey Jones’ funeral. We took all the children but Gus. The house was so full we could not get in. I sit out in the grave yard & read Hymns till preaching was over & then we eat our dinner & came home. Pinch & the little soldier (Joe Sanderson) came sometime before we did. Pinck was delighted with the trip. I finished reading “Robert and Harrold” this evening. It was not very interesting.

 

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

 

August 31, 1864

It is as we suppose, A P Hill has flanked Grant on the left & holds the R R at Ream’s Station whilst Grant still occupies his entrenchments on it before Petersburg. The Examiner tells us that Grant is in a situation of great difficulty. God grant it! Before Atlanta Sherman is on the move, has abandoned one line of entrenchments which we hold. Some think it a feint to draw Hood out; others that Wheeler’s exploits in his rear have put him on short commons. If the telegrams speak truth (they are not official) our captures of supplies there are enormous. One item is seven thousand beeves!

We get some good stories of our common people from Yankee correspondants & which bear the stamp of truth. One old Lady near Atlanta said to a Yankee officer who rode up to her house immediately after the attempted flanking of Joe Johnson by Sherman “you’uns don’t fight we’uns fair! Mr Hooker now he went round!” Good soul, to her notions of military strategy were comprised in a fair stand up give & take fight!

Another was accosted by a party of Yankees “Well how goes it old Lady. You’re Secesh too I suppose?” “No! honey that I aint!” “Why hows that? You’re Union then?” “No, thank the Lord I aint that neither.” “Well what in the name of wonder then are you?” “I’me a Baptist, honey, a Baptist! For forty years I’ve been a hard shell Baptist and please the Lord I’ll die one too!”

As I am in an anecdotical vein this morning; I cannot do better than give one of Cuffee which is excellent. The negro baker of the Va Military Institute belonged to the Institution & during Hunter’s late brutal foray through the Valley, when he destroyed it & plundered the citizens of Lexington, Abram lost everything he had, clothes, money, everything stolen by the Yankees. After their retreat, relating his losses to some sympathizing friend he was asked, “Did you tell them that you belonged to the State of Virginia?” “No! No! sir that I did’nt if I had they’d have burnt me up along with the rest of the State property!”

In the Enquirer of yesterday is published an official Circular from Mr Benjamin giving an account of the late visit of Mr Lincoln’s Peace commissioners to Richmond. Comment is unnecessary.  Yankee, Yankee, when will you learn fair dealings? Mr B’s statement shows conclusively that Mr Lincoln’s move for Peace is but a political trick to blind the Peace party.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

August 29, 1864

What a prey we are to rumours of all kinds! We were summoned from the “soltaire” yesterday by the announcement that Mr Hill was in the house. Patrick lay on the couch reading at his ease whilst I amused myself with my journal, the conviction that Gen Lee held the R R adding greatly to our Sabbath peace & quiet. Mr Hill somewhat dashed our comfort by the news he had from “a soldier just from the battle field” to the effect that Lee had not taken the line of R R tho he had defeated the Yankees, but nevertheless such is our Faith that we went to bed with a calm conviction that tho it might be true that he had not yet taken it he soon would do so & that Grant could “work us no annoy.” Today brought Gen Lee’s official dispatch of Thursday fight about which, as there is some discussion amongst us, I will transcribe.

Headquarters A N V, Aug 26, 1864. Hon J A Seddon — Gen A P Hill attacked the enemy in his entrenchments at Ream’s Station yesterday evening & on the second assault carried his whole entire line. Cooks & McRae’s N C Brigades under Heth’s & Lane’s N C Brigade & Wilcox’s Division under Connor with Pegram’s Artillery composed the assaulting column. One line of breastworks was carried by the cavalry under Hampton with great gallantry which contributed largely to our success. Seven stands of colours, 2000 prisoners, & nine peices of Artillery are in our possession. Loss of the enemy in killed & wounded is reported heavy, ours relatively small. Our profound gratitude is due to the Giver of all victories & our thanks to the brave men & officers engaged. Signed R E Lee, General.

Some of us think that he captured the R R, others not, whilst others again suppose that by a flank movement A P Hill got into the rear of Grant’s centre which was represented as holding the R R within three miles of Petersburg & made the attack at Ream’s nine miles from that place & that Grant is, as it were, enclosed between two divisions of our army. We wait the issue not as usual with “feverish impatience” but with a calm confidence that all will be right. Pattie, poor thing, is in great distress & anxiety as her brother is in Cook’s Brigade & was therefore in the assault. Pray God we may soon hear of his safety.

Busy all morning purifying salt for table use, making pickles & Vinegar, Chess, straw sewing, etc., & in the afternoon commenced reading Woodstock to Patty. Last week read Aurora Floyd & like it.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

August 28, 1864

The past week we have fully exemplified in our daily life the beauty & value of faithFaith! Is it in God? In our cause? Or in Gen Lee and his army? Or, as I hope and beleive, is it in all three? On Monday came news that we had recovered possession of the Petersburg & Weldon R R, that Heth had advanced, & after flanking had driven back the enemy, taking 3,000 (three thousand) prisoners, that in another fight 800 more were captured, & that the road would soon be in running order. All this occurred on Thursday and Friday 18 and 19th. Then an ominous silence until Thursday. No mail, no rumours even; yet, tho uneasy, we were not depressed. Congratulated ourselves that the Danville road was uncut & hoped each day for papers. They came at last & with them bad news. After his repulse on Friday Grant on Sunday advanced in heavy force, again seized the R R & driving our men back hastily & strongly entrenched himself, his centre holding the Weldon R R whilst his left flank stretched westward for more than a mile to the Vaughn waggon road. We attacked with great fury, carried his outer works, but retired from the inner which were found to be too strong for us & at going to press we had been unable to dislodge him. Then came the triumph, the comfort of our Faith. Serious tho our position was, terrible as would be the result to us nationally & personally should Grant be enabled to maintain himself, interposing as it were his whole body between us & Lee & allowing forage parties to range at will through our whole country which would be in his rear, yet not a despondant thought, not a doubt arose in our minds, but we rested in the calm conviction that Gen Lee would in some manner out general Grant & regain possession of the R R before he could inflict much damage upon us. Some feared as the intrenchments “which had sprung up like magic” were so strong that a great loss of life would ensue, whilst others more confident in Lee’s strategy trusted in his skill to manoevre the Yankees from their post; & true enough the next day brought news by letter from Mr R. Dunlop, now at Weldon, that the train from Stony Crk had come in & reported that two severe fights had taken place, that Lee had dislodged Grant, & then held the whole line of the road & that our prisoners were estimated at from 3 to 7000 & that he had captured 16 peices of Artillery. As yet no particulars and this is but passenger news, yet we trust & beleive it implicitly!

No official accounts of the capture of Memphis by Forrest, a complete surprise, the Yankee Gen Washburne - with his whole staff & 500 prisoners falling into our hands. Forrest was unable to hold it but retreated with his prisoners & immense booty. An offset to this triumph on our part we, however, find in the loss of Fort Morgan below Mobile which has fallen into the enemies hands, whether by surrender or assault we do not yet understand. Fort Gaines fall has never yet been explained; so, as in that case, we must also reserve our judgment until the facts are before us. Hood holds his own before Atlanta. Wheeler is in Sherman’s rear cutting off his waggon trains, destroying bridges, & interrupting his communications generally. He, at the last account, menaces Dalton where Sherman has collected immense supplies. Pray God he may succeed in destroying them! Northern news that Mr Lincoln has consented to receive Peace Commissioners at Baltimore. His famous bulletin addressed “To all whom it may concern” has brought him into such disfavour with the Yankee Peace party that he trembles for his reelection. He now wishes to patch up matters with them before the Chicago Convention nominates his successor — hence this “Canard.” He hopes with its feeble Quack to drown the voice of the “Peace Democrats,” who accuse him of a desire to prolong the War. Mr Lincoln, we thank you & we see clearly through your shallow designs. Your Olive branch is not large enough to hide the drawn sword with which you still menace us.

News but meagre from the Valley. Sheridan has fallen back from before Early (who is still at Strasburg) the Yankees say to a more defensive position on the Potomac. We say Early drove him to it! Early has received the cognomen of the “Great Harvester” from the fact that he captured many hundred Reaping machines on the B & Ohio R R &, dividing them amongst his men, he has been for weeks quietly thrashing & sending South the Wheat Crop of that fertile section & that under the very nose of the Yankee Gen! Below Wilmington Yankee War Steamers are shelling the woods along the Coast at Masonborough Sound & Rumour has it are preparing to land troops for an overland attack on Wilmington. “Nous verrons”! The Yankee prisoners in our hands are increasing to that extent that we are almost in the condition of “the man who caught the Elephant.” We know not what to do with them.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

Saturday 27th [August 1864]
I have odds & ends as is my usual Saturday’s work. Charnes Scaife & a Henderson dined here today. I have not seen Charnes before in twelve or fourteen years. He resembles his father a great deal. Henderson is a stranger to me. Pinck slipped off to town with Lonzo this evening. He was very dirty. I did not know he was gone till he came back. Mr. Henry sent Lonzo after the mail.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

 

Tuesday 23rd to Friday 26th August [1864]

I went to town last Tuesday to see Dora. She is quite sick. I enjoyed the day finely. I went and came alone and as usual, came home with a severe headache. It was not entirely well this morning but now all well once again. I have knit some in the three past days, only a little of that. I am knitting Zona some stockings. Eliza Patton got the cloth started last Tuesday for the negro’s dresses. It looks very well. Mrs. Fanning got out the flannel Monday evening. Matt’s books came today. “Lady Audley’s Secret” & “Robert & Harrald.”  I have spent most of the day in reading “Rober &c.,”  ‘tis very interesting. A good deal of mail this morning but little news. “Tis reported that Wheeler is in Sherman’s hair. I hope ‘tis true.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

Hand Towel

Hand towel made by Adeline Loftin of Denton, NC in 1863. NC Museum of History.

Hand towel made by Adeline Loftin of Denton, NC in 1863. NC Museum of History.

Lace detail, hand towel made by Adeline Loftin of Denton, NC in 1863. NC Museum of History.

Lace detail, hand towel made by Adeline Loftin of Denton, NC in 1863. NC Museum of History.

White hand towel with crocheted lace.  Family tradition said that the towel was made by Adeline Loftin of Denton, NC in 1863.  Ms. Loftin grew the flax, spun the yarn, wove the fabric, and crocheted the lace.

 

Source: Museum of History Collection, accession number 2005.170.1

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