July 13, 1862
Sunday—Yesterday came home Patrick & to my great sorrow quite sick. He gives a most moving account of the suffering in Richmond. He says it is fearful—the hot weather, the crowded Hospitals, the stench, the want of attendance, the filthy muddy James River water, tepid at that, the actual want of proper food—altogether make an amount of human suffering difficult to conceive of & then add to that the desolation of heart, the anguish endured by those who have lost friends, or have them suffering unable to alleviate their pain, and it makes a picture of War from which one turns appalled! Twice since he has been gone did he see ladies going on to nurse their husbands, one of whom heard of the death of hers in the Cars & the other saw a Coffin marked with the name of hers carried past her as she sat by the window! My God! I thank Thee that thou has saved me this suffering, this anguish!
The Secretary directed him to reduce his Business to writing & lay it before him, saying he could not remember all the cases brought before him & must have time to consider and recollect. So the matter is no nearer settled now than it was when he went & he has had his journey & consequent sickness for nothing. All night & today he has a scorching fever and I feel uneasy about him.
About eleven came Jacob Higgs bringing news that there is a Regt of Yankees at Plymouth and ten Gunboats. He is in a terrible “swivet” (mem look out that word & see whether it be slang or not) for fear that his Cotton will be burned. I do not believe the news, & am thus saved much distress & anxiety.
Brother came to dinner, if possible more despondant than ever. I would not have such a disposition to look on the dark side for millions, for I never could enjoy them & therefore would be better off without them. Mary & her children left us today. She takes the boys to school & goes herself to spend the summer in Clarksville near them. Children are blessings I suppose. I know that they are sore trials and a great trouble & anxiety. “Sour grapes” perhaps, Mrs E, but who want grapes at all?
Mr E brought us a map picked up on the battlefield. I wish it could tell its tale! It is on an Extra Herald & is a map of the South Western States & of the seat of the War about Corinth. True it might say with the “Knife Grinder”
“Story!? God bless you!
I’ve none to tell.”
but I would like to hear even that.
Jackson’s Division have marched North, it is supposed to invade Maryland. Vicksburg holds out nobly, but the enemy have seized 250 negroes & put them to work digging a canal which they intend to make so large that they can pass their ships through it & thus avoid Vicksburg altogether, make an island of it as it were. Matters look well for us in Arkansas, & Missouri is preparing to rise.
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