June 30, 1862
Continued successes of our army. We are so excited that we think of little else. Huger was ordered to watch the passes of the Chickahominy so as to prevent McClellan forming a junction with his force in the South side of that river, but he stole a march on him & when morning dawned he had twelve miles the start of our troops. Huger always does contrive to make blunders & fail at the critical moment. Our troops at the last accounts were pressing on M’Clellan, he in apparent retreat to the James where his transports lie. Our loss is heavy both in officers & men—the sufferings of the wounded terrible!
Tristram Skinner, whom I knew in former days, & Duncan Haywood are among the killed. God be with their families! The Yankees have destroyed an enormous quantity of stores. At one place we came to a pile 30 ft high in 60 in base of the most valuable articles—Bacon, Coffee, Clothes, sugar, shoes, etc., all burning. Acres of Pontoon bridges were found, the bare Iron skeletons only, they having been subjected to the flames. We have captured an immense quantity of small arm, only eighty guns, he carrying off the rest. He retreats—slowly and in good order, we pressing him close!
Went to see poor Mrs Spruill. She exclaimed constantly, “Catherine is it not dreadful?” She read me some lines which her son wrote on the death of one of his young companions last winter to a plaintive little air, “The Dying Volunteer”—touching in themselves, but doubly so as they foreshadow exactly his own fate. Poor woman, she is bereaved indeed & the fate of her son cut down in the midst of his usefulness & activity seems indeed inscrutable—the second son who had attained manhood that she has been called to part with.
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