April 15, 1862
Father gone to Mr Hines funeral. I unable to go. Poor Peggie! I can think of naught but her & her sorrows!
Reading one of Robertson’s Sermons today, came to a fine comparison speaking of the Roman Empire:
“The Roman Empire crumbled into fragments; but every fragment was found pregnant with life. It broke, not as some ancient temple might break; its broken pieces lying in lifeless ruin overgrown with weeds; rather as one of those mysterious animals break—of which if you rend them asunder—every separate portion forms itself into a new and complete existence. Rome gave way, but every portion became a Christian Kingdom—alive with the mind of Christ & developing the Christian idea after its own peculiar nature”!
That is fine—what happiness to be able to write thus!
Congress has passed a vote of thanks to the women of the South—“for their ardent & cheerful patriotism”; and well do they deserve, for they have indeed done nobly & upheld the hands & strengthened the hearts of the soldiers. A Yankee account of some of their letters captured by them expresses the greatest surprise that throughout the whole number written, too, by all classes & degrees of women there is not the slightest approach to repining or even a desire for their friends return. It is all, “Fight John—let me hear of you in the front ranks.” Such a people he fears are unconquerable, & well he may fear it!
Beauregard’s call for Plantation Bells to be cast into cannon is most cheerfully responded to by every one. Church bells are freely & gladly tendered by the congregations throughout the land. Preserving Kettles are joyfully given to the government to make into Caps & all the old copper is eargly sought after & rummaged out by the housewifes all over the country. One little child asked plaintively as she saw the Preserving Kettle going, “but what shall we do for preserves?” “My child,” said the father, “we think now only of preserving our country.” When she at once assented, I wonder what her idea of a “Preserved Country” is? Some thing like Rachels about “Washington’s being the ‘father’ of his; I reckon he laid an egg.” I warrant she thinks it a large peach! Father’s & our Bells have gone & henceforth the negroes must return to the primitive “Horn”—more musical and more poetic, by the way, so I shall not regret it.
Heard a rumour of the fall of Island No 10. Pray God it be not so. The Northern accounts admit a loss of 23,000 men killed, wounded, & prisoners and 100 cannon, some of which they regained at Shiloh.
Yesterday passed both Houses of Congress the Conscription Bill, giving the President control of all the men between 18 & 35 in the Confederacy, in fact considering them in the Army. Father thinks we shall see trouble from it, it conflicting with the State sovereignties, in fact unconstitutional. I wonder what effect it will have on Mr E’s Battalion, for it is thought that it will put a stop to Volunteering and all change of service for men now in the field; & three of his companies, four in fact, are enlisted men, but as they were re-enlisted under the direct authority of the Sec of War he ought to make an exception. Or he will be an “Indian giver.” What a term of reproach that used to be to our youthful minds!
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