August 17, 1862
Yesterday came father from his up country jaunt looking thin but improved in health, I think, and seemingly in better spirits. He will be here for a few days & then go on to the Roanoke Red Sulphur for a short time taking Mama with him. He brought a letter from Maj Gen Hill to Mr E, which though it was directed to Halifax yet by some means found its way to Raleigh to Brother’s house. It was post marked the 7th, and is the very letter whose arrival Patrick has been so anxiously expecting. It was very short, telling him to come on immediately, that he had no doubt but that his matters could be speedily arranged & that he wished to consult him as to a field of operations. So this morning bright & early he left.
Ah, me I feel sad at heart. Today is the anniversary of the severest affliction which ever befell me—the death of my mother and I cannot raise my hopes, cannot look forth with confidence to the future. Twenty times did I resolve to try & persuade Mr E not to go on this of all other days & firmly had I to close my lips & resolutely determine that I would not be governed by so superstitious a feeling. Would that I could also prevent its making me unhappy! It seems that the day which took my Mother is to take my husband also, for I suppose there is little doubt but that he will be called into active service, but I will try & not despond, call upon Thee O my God for grace & strength to meet this trial. Thou wilt never fail me! It is strange how strength does come to us to meet sorrow and trouble such as we think at one time we would sink under. Here have I been talking with brother, hearing him pour forth such a Jeremiad, such terrible forebodings for the future as would one year ago have plunged me into profound grief, made me feel as though a grasp of ice had seized my heart & I rise from it calm & self sustained with no greater despondency than the anticipation of evils far less has often thrown me into. “As thy days so shall thy strength be”! We ask only for our Daily bread. Then why anticipate evils? I will go out & walk, dawdle round the Orchard, & see if Nature cannot make me more cheerful & hopeful.
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