August 6 1862 [part2]
Night before the last came Dr Alston, a son in Law of Mrs Joiner’s, seeking shelter & a nights’ loding. He had with him four of Mrs Joiner’s men servants who had been hired out about Hamilton & whom she had sent for to remove them from the vicinity of the Yankees. An incessant tiresome talker, what did his wife see to fancy in him! One of the negroes he told us had been with the Yankee’s & had expressed the intention of joining them “when they were ready for him.” Pleasant news that when one reflected that he was at that moment “cheek by jowl” with your own servants & as he was going to bed he sent for one of them to see how he was, as he had symptoms of typhoid fever—bodily as well as moral pestilence. I believe I prefer the first, the neither are pleasant guests!
We (I mean the whole estate—Father, brother, & Mr E) have sustained a heavy loss in the damage to our cotton from exposure to the weather. We were ordered to move it twenty miles from the river under the penalty of having it burned when Burnside threatened an advance. This it was impossible to do, so the next best thing was to secrete it where the marauding Yankees should never find it. This was done & temporary shelters erected over it, but owing to the incessant & heavy rains which have beaten under & through them it has rotted the bagging, stained, & mildewed the cotton to an extent which we dreamed not of. Brother, out of a hundred & ninety bales, thinks he will save ninety & that slightly damaged. Ours has not yet been overhaul owing to the want of a shelter in which to do it—it having been for greater security moved out here.
Mrs John Anthony’s estate loses almost all theirs. The damage through the county & consequent loss will be heavy, as all the cotton on the navigable water courses which was not burned has been subjected to the same treatment. We lost at ordinary prices at least $12,000 & at the present high ones of course it is much greater. (We are offered 16 cts as it lies in the woods is undamaged)–& in New York & Phila it is now 55 cts per lb!
On Tuesday last was published our President’s order for retaliation on the Officers of the commands of Pope & Steinweyr for their treatment of our citizens within their lines—a dignified and a noble paper which I append at the end of this book in connection with the brutal orders which gave rise to it. Some persons complain that it does not go far enough; others that it responds to their inhumanity & will embitter and ensanguine the war. It is impossible to please every one, especially people of such diverse ways of thinking, so I suppose Mr Davis’ “Via Media” between bloodthirstiness and maudlin sentimentality is the best—in fact the only true course.
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