July 18, 1862
A great triumph in the Mississippi—the Steam Ram Arkansas, which was being built at Memphis, but which was towed in an unfinished state when Memphis was evacuated up theYazoo River, has been quietly finished. Suddenly she emerged from the mouth of the Yazoo and fell upon the fleet before Vicksburg. She sank two, crippled two, blew up one, drove one ashore, & damaged others & in spite of a shower of shell & ball more terrific than can be conseived of, enteredVicksburg in triumph and now lies under our guns. She would have effected more but her smoke stack, the only damage she received, was so riddled with shot that she lost steam. She lost 9 killed & 11 wounded by a shell which entered a port hole which most imprudently was opened for air. The defence beforeVicksburgis most heroic. The town has been bombarded for days. Scarcely a house remains which is not perforated with shot or shell. The liquid fire shells carry ruin & destruction where ever they burst, yet the town still holds out. The shelling commenced without notice at day light in the morning when the city was full of women & children. Would that the like resolution had been showed at New Orleans. How different would be its fate now.
I append the orders relating to Mrs Phillips, for in the space of a few years it will be difficult to convince one self even of the petty tyranny & monstrous injustice, the unrestrained temper & cruelty of the man—well is he called “Butler the Beast.” Poor woman! How I sympathize with her under this foul wrong. Every drop of blood in my veins boils as I think of the insult to which she is exposed, the horrible outrage which can with impunity be penetrated upon her, for has not Butler himself given his brutal soldiery license for anything? Her poor parents, Mr and Mrs Levy, how little did they think that such sorrow would fall upon them in their old age. * I should like to hear Phoebe speak of it; how she would scorch them! I must think there is some private pique, some personal feeling which he thus abuses his power to revenge. Her tongue is a sharp one, her influence in society large, & she may have put some slight upon Butler or his wife which he now has it in hands to avenge. The Infamous Judge Jeffrieds himself was but little worse & when one considers the different ages in which they lived, not so bad as this blot on the nineteenth Century—“this canker worm”—“this Butler”!
Grant is emulating him at Memphis, for he has issued an order ordering all families who have any member of it, directly or indirectly, in the service of the Confederate Government, all state or municipal officers, to leave the city in five days. Unheard of tyranny! No wonder Vicksburg holds out with such examples before them.
We succeed in annoying the transports & even the Gun boats in James River. On Monday we disabled their Mail boat, running her aground. Mr Lincoln has been to pay McClellan a visit, see for himself the condition of the Army, & will it be believed that he the President of a great nation actually with his suite undressed and “took a swim and a bath” in the waters of the Potomac on their way back to Washington? Thank God! he is not our President! We have no part or lot in him, the vulgar flat boats man! With strange inconsistency the Northern papers claim both the triumph of a victory & the sympathy of being out numbered after fighting with desperate valor before Richmond.
*More information on Phillips: http://southernmemoriesandupdates.com/2011/louisiana/southern-belle-hauled-to-prison-for-laughing-at-union-funeral/
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