July 24, 1864

Sunday — Today came most unexpectedly brother in good health & spirits. His little boy John is out of danger. We have had fine rains & the prospect for a crop is good & to crown all his happiness he brought news of a victory of Hood over Sherman in front of Atlanta! We had taken 2000 prisoners, 28 peices of cannon, 4 stand of colour, whilst the dispatch went on to say that Hardee was in their rear & fighting still going on. A telegram only gives us the news, but still it is official & signed by Gen Hood. Bragg has made his appearance out there which, I fear, bodes us no good, but we must hope for the best.

Brother gave us a most interesting account given him by an eye witness of an interview between Edward Stanley & an old negro of his fathers when he came to N C as her Military Governor. The negro it seems was sick & in consequence Mr Stanley went to see him. Abram, for such was his name, turned his face to the wall as his young master entered the cabin. When Stanley holding out his hand addressed him thus, “Well Uncle Abram I am sorry to see you laid up thus. I know you must have been sick or you would have been to see me.” To which the negro replied, “God knows Marse Ned that I never thought to live to see the day when I should have to say I was sorry to see you. But what are you doing here? Go! over Marse Ned, go over and stand along side of your own folks. Take a glass of water & a crust of bread with them, but stand by them, & if you wont do that go back, Marse Ned, where you come from! go back! & never let it be said that your father’s son turned against his own folks.”

Time fails me to tell how his brother Alfred,  then a prisoner on parole, met him & what he said to him of the desecration of the grave yard & the oppression of the people. He gave Burnside a parole for a year & on the expiration of it, he, tho an old man between sixty and seventy, has often been known to leave home on foot at night, walk through the swamps & woods for miles to the nearest Picket station, & give information to them when any movement was projected by the enemy. He has, & it is on record, brought into our pickets between thirty & forty Yankee horses & equipment, the riders of which, to use a slang phrase, he had lost in the woods. He has now a post under the Confederate Gov, within our lines, or it would not do even to tell such a fact, but as I record the infamy of one brother, justice demands that the patriotism of the other should not be passed over. All honour to Alfred Stanly!

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

Thursday 21st [July 1864]

Tena washed today and shrunk the cloth for Mr. Henry’s pants. I made Pinck a cotton coat today & cut Willie a pair pants of the one & one like my dress only ‘tis filled on solid pine  bark dye. Matt helped me some. Atheline’s baby grows very slow. I don’t think they will raise it. We had a very hard rain & wind this evening. It blew the oats badly. They are cutting oats now. Mr. Henry stays with them all the time.

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).

July 23 [1864] “Saturday night”

We have had a quiet week. no company except Louise Cross a school mate of Mr. E’s, who is a refugee from La. A very sweet and amiable girl – The Col and [Jamie] went to the plantation today and have not yet returned. George & Henry went fishing Jennie & Emily & petite Katie are playing  sound so happily. When I look at their happy sports, I sight to think of the stern realities of life they must encounter! May the Lord be their father – may He “guide them by this counsel & afterward receive them to glory.”


Source: Jane Evans Elliot Diaries #5343, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/e/Elliot,Jane_Evans.html




July 1864

My dearest Cornelia,

Yesterday I was the happy recipient of yours of the 20th ult. Which was the first from you for nearly a month, and today one of the 5th inst. came in giving a detailed account of the raid. I was sorry to hear the militia acted so badly in defending their homes and property. I wish I could have been there with 200 men, under Col. Martin from our regiment, I dare say they never would have left with their prizes and the glory of whipping the Burke militia, we would have given them such a blow as they never would have forgotten and never would they put their feet again on the soil of Burke. To commit such depredations as they and all other Tory and Yankee raiders been doing.

Billy is sick yet, this morning he had some fever. The doctor came to see him awhile ago. I asked him if he had or was taking the fever, he replied he didn’t think he was but that he was bilious which caused the slight fever this morning, he said he thought he would get well in a few days, if he should get worse I will write again in a few days. I think in all probability he will be well in a few days. Think, exposure brought on his sickness; he eats tolerably well [torn page] a pretty good appetite. He walks about occasionally when he gets tired lying on the hard ground is no worse than he was two or three days ago I don’t think he is going to have an attack of typhoid fever.

I think Puss’ beau a right clever fellow  he seems to be right friendly with me so from that I calculate he is going to be my brother. I would like to hear the good joke you spoke of. Cant you write it? I will never mention it to him. I haven’t seen Susan’s lover in a month don’t know where he is I heard, but don’t know how true, that brigade had gone to Chaffins Bluff.

I was sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Corpening. I also was sorry to hear of the death of Capt. Frank Alexander who it was supposed was engaged to Laura, if she was will it not be hard for Laura and Harriet both to lose their intended comforters. This was together all the distress this cruel was has caused, surely it is a severe chastisement for our sins. May God in his flavorful mercy pardon us from further bloodshed and destruction of mind and body. I was so sorry to hear of the death of Jim Conly. I have seen several of Perkins Co.


Love to all



Note: Say to Uncle John Tom Moore paid me ten dollars… I wrote to Harriet yesterday. We heard good news from our army in Md.

Sources: Mike and Carol Lawing, eds., My Dearest Friend: The Civil War Correspondence of Cornelia McGimsey and Lewis Warlick (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2000). Original collections of the papers are in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.





Recipe for Blackberry Wine

Measure your berries and bruise them; to every gallon add one quart of boiling water, let the mixture stand twenty-four hours, stirring occasionally, then strain off the liquor into a cask; to every gallon add two pounds of sugar, cork tight, and let it stand till following October, and you will have wine ready for use without any further straining or boiling, that will make lips smack as they never smacked under similar influence before.

Source: Confederate Receipt Book: Over 100 Recipes, Cures, and Camp & Household Hints to Deal with Wartime Conditions and Shortages. (Richmond, Virginia: West & Johnston, 1863)

This drum was brought to Henderson at the end of the Civil War by a wounded soldier and features a circular decoration on one side made with tacks.   North Carolina Museum of History, Accession Number 1942.39.1

This drum was brought to Henderson at the end of the Civil War by a wounded soldier and features a circular decoration on one side made with tacks.
North Carolina Museum of History, Accession Number 1942.39.1

July 21, 1864

The anniversary of the battle of Manassas. In what mercy is the gift of fore knowledge denied us. What a check would have been put upon our joy on that occasion could we have foreseen that three years hence we should still be engaged in the same bitter life & death struggle! The attack on Charleston is over. The enemy have been repulsed at all points, driven to their original lines, & now content themselves with their usual shelling of Fort Sumter & the city. One year has now elapsed since the city was first beseiged, during which time the “Swamp Angel” has thrown seven thousand nine hundred shells into a place occupied only by women & children. Amo writes his Uncle that in the night attack on Fort Johnston there were but fourteen men on duty in the fort. They held [ -- ] hundred at bay & on being hastily reinforced by [ -- ] that handful repulsed [ -- ] Yankees and took [ -- ] prisoners. It seems almost incredible that the Key to the City of Charleston, to retain which blood has been poured out like water, should have been left thus weakly defended. Had Fort Johnson fallen, Sumter, Moultrie, & the city itself must have followed. Think of the fate of Charleston resting on fourteen men only! Criminal carelessness somewhere!

We were electrified yesterday by the announcement that Gen Joe Johnston had been releived of the command of the Army in Northern Geo & that Gen Hood had been assigned to duty there. We cannot understand it. To us who are not born Brigadiers Gen it has appeared that Johnston with comparatively but a handful of men has been keeping a host at bay, retiring so slowly as to exhaust and weary Sherman out, & we confidently expect that he will wait combinations in Sherman’s rear, combinations which we do not understand but in which Kirby Smith plays a distinguished part, & then turn like a Lion at bay, deliver battle in front of Atlanta, & rescue the prize from the very grasp of his antagonist. But we must be in the dark as to something in his plans or conduct, for Mr Davis would not be guilty of the injustice of thus snatching his Laurels from him at the moment of Victory unless something serious had occurred! A wild rumour runs through the country that he is insane, but we cannot credit it. There has been too much method in his madness. We must wait ‘ere we decide for further developments & have no right even to form an opinion. Despite partizan newspapers & their wholesale & rash denunciation, the whole country knows that Mr Davis has the welfare & honour of the country as much at heart as any one in it & the assertion that he would do aught to embarras & perplex one of his generals is so monstrous as to be unworthy of the slightest credence. He has his faults but, God knows, a want of patriotism is not amongst them, & tho he makes mistakes, they are honest ones. Joe Johnston has possessed our confidence, a confidence that will not lightly be withdrawn, but when two such men as Mr Davis & himself are at issue, for the sake of Justice and sweet Truth let us withhold our condemnation of either party until the facts are known.

Preparations for the abandonment of Atlanta are already made, stores, pontoon bridges, etc., all removed. Should such a step be taken it would indeed be a heavy blow to us, as four R R centre there & we have immense work shops & foundries, the loss of which we cannot supply.

Our Army is retreating from Maryland, bringing off with them vast quantities of provisions & forage. Washington has been so heavily reinforced that we could not hope to effect anything there. The ‘morale’ of throwing shells into the city is all we have reaped. Canby’s corps which left New Orleans to reinforce Grant arrived at Fortress Monroe just in time to respond to Mr Lincoln’s frantic appeals for help & without disembarking steamed up the Potomac & saved Washington. Two other Army Corps have followed, so Gen’s Early & Breckenridge “return over the border.” Gen B exhibited his fine feelings at national expence by sparing Mr Frank Blair’s house & effects. He had no right to do so. He was sent to retaliate for the outrages committed in Va & to those unfortunate people who may hereafter be exposed to Yankee barbarity, barbarity from which a different line of conduct on the part of our troops may protect them. It matters little that “Gen Breckenridge was once hospitaly entertained for some days at Silver Spring” & therefore spared the mansion of his entertainer. Justice before generosity!

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


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