July 9, 1862
Last night came brother with his son Thomas. He is more despondant than ever. It grieves one to hear him. He made father really low spirited. He (Father) improves very slowly and we are all discussing some pleasant place up the country where he can have a change of air.
Patrick left for Richmond early this morning to make a report to the Sec of War & make a final effort to get into the service. I shall not grieve much if he fails. Since the Conscript Act has gone into force there are so many younger men called into the field that I do not think there is the same necessity there was either for his example in Volunteering or for his personal services. His health is far from good and as father’s has failed latterly, I think both brother & Patrick will find their paths of duty at home.
Just at sunset came George Daughtry and brought father the unlooked for intelligence that the Yankees were shelling Hamilton! at two P M today. ** Whitaker’s company have been engaged, with what effect he knew not. He was terribly excited & had ridden his horse until it was a lather of sweat, but I am not so much alarmed. I do not think that the Gunboats will come above Rocky Bar & consider it only a feint to draw some portion of our troops from Richmond. Three Gun boats are at Hamilton & the community believe he has many more behind, which do not I, for I fancy McClellan needs all the boats he can command in James River at this present writing. The Militia are all ordered out, but I do not think they will do very efficient service armed, or rather unarmed, as they are.
Altho I see no need for it, yet in event of alarm sent Henry word to come out here—all hands–& bring the team. Unhappily Patrick is from home. I wish it could have happened otherwise, but I hope all things will remain quiet until his return. No mail connection today, caused by the breaking down of the Northern train of Cars. I hope that there was no wounded on board, as their sufferings must have been terrible. Sent by Patrick almost the last of my stock of old Linen & cotton for the Hospitals. It is the third installment, so my fourth will be but a small one as I must keep some, least I have a wounded soldier here to nurse, and as they are being distributed through the country it is not at all improbable. Tom George Arrington was killed in the useless charge on Tuesday. Magruder is said to have been drunk when he ordered it but I am loathe to believe it.
Mary has announced her intention of leaving on Sunday with her children.
Rumours only of meditation; we had better not believe or trust in them. Vicksburg still holds out. Weather intensely hot, a great contrast to last week when we had fire every day & all day long. Father better.
** Fort Branch was constructed on the Roanoke River at Hamilton to protect the river and region after occupation of the coast by Burnside in early 1862. For more information: http://www.fortbranchcivilwarsite.com/history-construction_of_fort_branch.aspx
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