June 8, 1862
Last night during a severe thunder storm came James, dripping wet. He is stationed at Garysburg & ran down for a night only to see his brother. He gave us the sad news, kept however a secret from the Army, that Gen Joe Johnston is supposed to be mortally wounded! The ball (a Minnie) entered at the point of the shoulder, he standing sideways, & ranged diagonally through, coming out through the Chest. Should he recover, which will be almost miraculous, it will be months before he is fit for duty. A heavy loss to us! He has proved himself a master of strategy, tho’ we civilians do not like his allowing the enemy to entrench themselves, but then we ought not to judge for we do not know the circumstances. But he is an able & prudent general & his experience will be greatly needed. Gen Lee takes the command in person. I do not much like him, he “falls back” too much. He failed in Western Va owing, it was said, to the weather, has done little in the eyes of outsiders in S C. His nick name last summer was “old-stick-in-the-mud.” There is mud enough now in and about our lines, but pray God he may not fulfill the whole of his name.
Gen Pettigrew’s obituary is in the paper but happily for him he will be able to read and comment on it himself, as instead of being killed he is severely wounded & a prisoner. And yet the papers announced that his friends had taken charge of his body in Richmond, a mistake which might have occurred to any officer or man under his command but not, I should think, with the Brigadier. His Uniform would at once stamp him. News has been brought by a Flag of Truce that he is doing well & will in all probability recover. So much for the news! Our loss is heavy—2500 killed & wounded. The battle is known as “The Seven Pines” & was a terrific one. McClellan, tho repulsed with the loss of his Camp & stores, claims a victory and so telegraphs to Washington.
Lincoln repudiates Gen Hunter’s order emancipating the slaves & preaches us a sermon on our delinquencies intended to be touching but simply ridiculous. How about Butler’s infamous order? As mercy is the order of the day, he having also rescinded Wool’s prohibition of trade & the entrance of provisions into Norfolk, issued with the avowed intention of “starving” the inhabitants into “taking the oath,” saying that the “Flag shall carry its blessings & benefits wherever it goes” & confined Wool’s jurisdiction to Fortress Munro—perhaps he will try the same policy on the New Oreleanians. But tell it not in Gath! This mercy is owing to the seizure by the English Consul of a vessel belonging to a Yankee & refusing to allow the hatches to be opened, saying that as trade with one part of the world was winked at by them the Blockade was null and void, & that in the name of his Government he protested. The French war steamer did the same. So now the people of Norfolk have trade with all the world & can buy French & English goods & provisions to the exclusion of Yankee notions. I hope that they may soon be able to show their preference. So thank you for nothing, Mr. Lincoln!
A tremendous, or as father calls it, a “ferocious freshet,” in the River yesterday—22 ft & rising 2 inches an hour—the water on his doorstep. He writes that so soon as they can get out they will all come out here for the summer. The whole Conneconarra crop is, of course, lost. Our Lowgrounds fortunately were not planted. We never knew a June freshet before, but the measure is now full. The lunar cycle is complete.
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