September 8, 1864

Yesterday came Mr E’s sister Jessie with her two children, Amo & Lizzie, to make us a visit. We have long looked forward to this pleasure & enjoy it now to the very full. We are very fond of them & intend making the most of their society. Interchange of opinion, long confidential talks, family news, going over the time which has passed since we met, have occupied us so entirely that I almost forget our disappointment in the loss of Atlanta & the bad news from Hood.

It seems from his official statement that “on the evening of the 30th the enemy made a lodgment across Flint river near Jonesboro. We attacked them there on the evening of the 31st with 2 corps but failed to dislodge them. This made it necessary to abandon Atlanta which was done of the night of the 1st. On the evening of the 1st that portion of our lines held by Hardee’s corps near Jonesboro was assaulted by a superior force of the enemy & being out flanked was compelled to withdraw during the night with the loss of eight peices of artillery. Prisoners taken report the enemy’s loss to have been very severe.” Press dispatches assure us that our loss did not exceed 600 & that Hood left nothing but blood stained mines in Atlanta, blowing up his amunition & removing supplies. We hope so! Heavy news in a telegram from Bristol, east Tenn. Morgan, Morgan the dauntless, the brave, the unreproached, is dead, shot through the head by a Yankee bullet, his Staff all surprised & captured. Our sorrow is great, for we expected great things of his future, but God sees not as we see. He will make it good to us. Let us trust in Him for the day of our deliverance. The Peace Convention at Chicago fails to interest or amuse us. It is but a move on the political Chess board! They all mean to destroy us if they can. Their impotence is our only safe guard. McClellan & Pendleton are their nominees. I knew Pendleton’s wife in days gone by, but it seems as long ago as when “Adam was a baby.” She is the daughter of Francis Key author of the “Star spangled Banner.”

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


September 6, 1864

The 2d day this is and our rations gets no better we get half a loaf of bread a day a small slice of Pork or Beef or Sault Beef for Breakfast for Dinner a cup of Been Soup and Supper we get non Mr. A. Morgan of South Carolina has a vacon Cook House which he has bin teaching School in every Sunday and has prayers evry morning befour school we have a Preacher to evry Division in the Camp. Mr. Carrol preaches to our Divi which is the 8th. This is the 5th day of the month and we are going to have Been Soup with onions in it to day for dinner we will have Potatoes and Onions boath tomorrow the Dr had them sent in here for rebs to see if they would not stop Scirvy My health is very good to day which is the 6th of Sept. 64. But I cannot tell how long it will remain so for it is a raining and very coal to day An I have not go eney shoes.



Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. Diary of Bartlett Yancey Malone, microfilm in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

September 6, 1864

Official accounts today of our loss in the battle of Reams’ Station. A P Hill has “the honour to report the correct list of the results of the fight at Ream’s Station on the 25th. We captured 12 stands of colours, 9 peices of Artillery, 10 caissons, 2150 prisoners, 3100 stand of arms, & 32 horses. My own loss in cavalry, artillery, & infantry is 720 men (seven hundred & twenty) killed, wounded, & missing.” The charge of the N C troops on the breastworks was magnificent, gallant almost beyond record even in this war of gallant deeds! Pegram turned the enemy’s own guns on them with terrible effect. He fired “second fuses” on the retreating mass doing great execution.

Atlanta has certainly fallen but I am recovering from the shock, which brother intensified, by suppositions at once crushing & heart breaking. That Hood’s “army was cut to peices, demoralized, & melting like a summer dew” was with him a foregone conclusion. Grant was to do something to Lee, I do not think it was to defeat him, which was to cause his army also to melt away! Peace with reconstruction was to stare us in the face, but why record gloomy & despondant doubts & anticipation from which I have already recovered. I never held them, but they oppressed me like a weight, a “peine forte et dure.” Thank God for my elasticity, the best personal boon he has given me!

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


September 5th 1864

My dear and beloved companion

I shall embrace this opportunity of writing to inform you that I am at the hospital. I am not very well, but I hope that I will get better soon. I hope this will find you and family well. I received a letter from you not long ago but have had no chance to write until now. I lost all my paper and envelopes by a cannon ball. It cut off my cartridge box, tore my knapsack all to pieces from off my back, tore my coat on the elbow and on my side. I was not hurt, only bruised a little on my side. Everything in my knapsack was lost. David Glen was kind enough to give me paper and envelope to write this letter. I had no money to buy anything.

This was done in the last charge we made last Thursday. Was a week ago on Sunday before we charged the Yankees from their breastworks. We lost two killed and several wounded. We lay in their breastworks from morning until after dark in water about knee deep. We retreated back that night about one mile and was put on picket that night. The next day the Yankees charged our picket line and drove us back. We formed a line in the woods and kept firing on them until dark. I stood behind a tree and shot until I was about out of ammunition. I then started back when a ball tore my pants about my ankle but did not touch my skin. I feel thankful to God that he has kept me through so many dangers. I don’t like to charge the Yankees, but they have taken the railroad between Petersburg and Weldon, and they had to be driven from it between the two places that we charged them. They have a fort built that we cannot charge them out of.

I have nothing more particular about the fight. My legs are swelled and I have a boil on my knee that I can scarcely walk. My hands are also swelled and tender. My appetite is tolerable good. I would be glad to be at home and help you eat something better than bread and meat, I think I would soon get well. I still hope through the blessing of God to get home some time to stay.

I want you to send me a little paper and some envelopes. You can send them in your letters. Write to me how the children are getting along. I would like to know whether my little boy grows much or not and if he thinks much of his cap that I sent him and if my girls think much of their books that I sent them and whether they are learning much or not. I want them to learn all they can. They will find learning worth more to them than thousands of gold and silver as far as that is concerned.

Myself and brother Daniel are at the hospital together. Daniel had been at the hospital and was sent back. We went to the hospital together yesterday morning. Daniel is very poorly with the diarrhea. You wrote to me that Daniel Whisenhunt wanted me to write to him but there is no chance of me doing that now as I have lost all my paper and envelopes. I want you to let him read this letter as soon as you have the chance. I want him to send a letter to me.

Nothing more, only remain your affectionate husband until death

Andrew Rink to Emeline Rink.



Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1.

Wilmington, N.C. Sept 3rd, 1864

To His Excellency

Gov. Z. B. Vance

In your proclamation to deserters now before the good people of North Carolina dated Aug 27th 1864 in the name of the State of North Carolina and also in the name of the Confederate States, you promise forgiveness to all who will repent and become good soldiers. It is with deep regret and mortification that I am compelled to call on you for the same clemency. I am now in the Military jail Wilmington to be tried for desertion in leaving my company (Co. H, 40th NC) and attempting to go to Nassau in a vessel running the Blockade. I can prove by my comrades in arms that I am not afraid or unwilling to meet the enemy. I can prove by comrades that I never wished to desert the flag of my country. I can prove this to be the cause of my leaving (I do not give as a justification, only as some small excuse as to show I had no based motive) My Capt. is a man of strong prejudices and although a good soldier took a dislike to me & treated me very severely. I tried to get out of his company by exchange (he refusing) I failed to do so. He made me work very hard in the hot sun whilst I have a disease in my head and feared it would kill me solely for this I tried to escape to some neutral place. Had I thought about it as much before as I have since I should have borne my lot more manfully no matter what the result. I regret what I have done more than tongues can tell but it is too late now to wipe of the stain entirely. All I ask is one chance more to show that I can be a good soldier & do what I can to relive my family from the infamy of my being tried as a deserter.

Your offer clemency [torn] abroad who have not only committed the same crime but have doubled it by robbery & theft. Will you not extend the same mercy to me who have never in my whole life been charged with any crime or misdemeanor before; if so, my future conduct shall be so true that you shall never regret it.

Very Respectfully

Your Servant,

Thos. S. Hansley


Source: Governor Zebulon Vance Papers, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh as found on www.ncecho.org.


September 4, 1864

Disappointed today in my hope of seeing Mr Edmondston. The carriage came back from Weldon empty. Why is it that I am so uneasy? I am ashamed of myself for apprehensions which I can neither define or conquer, & it being Sunday I am debarred from active employment which would help to dispel them. Father heard at Church from some one more fortunate than we in getting papers that a battle, with as yet doubtful results, was in progress between Hood & Sherman. I do not like such “doubts.” With Kirkpatrick I like to “mak siccar.”

After midnight last night to my infinite surprise & pleasure I heard Mr E’s step on the back step — & in a moment after his tap & voice at my window. I needed no light to find my way to the door to let him in when he told me that brother & Mr Wm Smith were with him, having come in the Sunday’s train from Raleigh. Mr S brought him down from Halifax in his buggy. I soon had beds ready for our tired guests & could scarce beleive that already my gloomy presentments were at an end & heartily ashamed was I of having, I can’t say, indulged for I struggled womanfully against them but having had them. He had been detained in Oxford by a heavy rain & as his throat was already sore preferred losing a train to riding 24 hours in his wet clothes. Pattie bore the journey well & the presence of her sister seemed to compose & comfort her. God be with this poor young thing! Bad news today from Atlanta. A telegram tells us that it has fallen, tho how or why remains to be seen. Brother is despondant & a gloom is cast over the family in which, however sad as the news is, I cannot share. My thankfulness for Patrick’s return counterbalances all this depression.

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

Petersburg, Va

Sept 2nd 1864


Dear Fanny

Your letter of the 25 August came to hand today. It found me well. I was very glad to hear from you again. I was looking for a letter for August to bring me a letter from you. The mail is much behind. Sergt Pryor was ordered to go to another company to get the rolls made out. I thought I could do it myself. I went to work and made out a return of them and then went to the Maj commanding the Regt and asked him if it was done right. He said it was the Quartermaster said so too it was the first time any one tried to make them out. Our company is very small. Around 26 have tried for a furlough and the second time none yet.

You wrote in your letter that you wanted to send me a shirt and a pair of socks. I do not need the shirt as I have enough. The socks you may send some time this fall. I want need them yet I will want a pair by cool weather.

We draw clothing plenty of clothing at this time and rations enough. We are doing very well in that respect. We need rest and above all we want peace so we can all get home to our loved ones and be free men again. It would be the most pleasing thing to us to hear that peace was made that could be told. But when that will be who can tell. Yet I hope to get through all safe and sound by the help of an Almighty God who has protected me through all these campaigns to whom I feel very thankful for his mercy and hope he will yet spare me to get home to you all again. When I think of what I have passed through I am almost lost in meditation to think how many has fallen on my right and left and in front and rear and yet I am spared.

I feel like the prayers my people in my behalf have been answered. Dear Fanny look to God for protection and he will not forsake you. He is able to feed you with the bread of life. Teach Charley to be a good boy and be firm with him in you commands. I must come to a close. Give my love you to Pa and family.

I remain your loving husband

James W. Wright



Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in the John Wright Papers, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.


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