August 16, 1864

Ten hot days since I last wrote in my Journal, during which I have been quite unwell — and sick servants & much company. Grant & Staff were reported at Harpers Ferry by the Northern papers, when instantly the rumour ran like wild fire that Lee had followed & confronted him with his whole army in the Valley, leaving Beauregard to defend Petersburg against the remains of Grants beaten force. A few days, however, showed the falsity of the Madam Rumour’s assertions, for Lee is at Deep Bottom & an engagement eminent between Grant & himself, the Yankee hero having returned to as rapidly as he left his dispirited army. Beauregard’s mine has been exploded & effected all it aimed at — a counter mine to a new Yankee work which it effectually nipped in the bud.

I omitted to mention that a few days after the burning of Gov Bradford’s house in return for the distruction of Gov Letcher’s, Hunter issued a “Retaliatory Order” & sent out a squad of men to burn the residences of Gen Hunter (said to be his relative) and Hon Mr Boteler. This they executed with the usual Yankee barbarity, when Early ordered McCausland & Bradley Johnson to show them what a losing game we could make them have of it by burning Chambersburg. This we are assured is the true history of the burning of that dutch Yankee place. Not to be outdone in ferocity, Butler sends a fleet of gunboats up the Rappahanock with orders to burn the residence of Mrs Seddon, the widoed sister-in-law of our Sec of War & to inform her that he did it because Early had burn Hon Montgomery Blair’s country house near Washington. Mrs Seddon & her children were turned out of house & home at a few minutes notice & left destitute. Her husband died before the War. She suffers for being the Widow of the brother of our Sec!

We have had a great disaster before Mobile. Farragut steamed past Fort Morgan with a fleet of [ -- ] Gunboats mounting more than 200 guns & has almost annihilated our little squadron lying in the Bay! Worse than all, the best Ram we own, the Tennessee, Admiral Buchanan’s flag ship, fell into their hands after a desperate engagement.  Admiral B lost a leg & with his crew are prisoners. I do not mention the other boats by name but the Morgan only escaped. Next day Fort Gaines, altho victualed and armed for a six month seige unexpectedly surrendered — to the astonishment of every one. General Page, the superior in command, went over at night to see how things were progressing when he found Johnson the commander of the post on board the Yankee fleet arranging terms of capitulation. He left preemtory orders that he should not surrender, superceeding him from command at the same time, & returned to his own post. In the morning the Yankee flag was seen waving from the Ramparts. This is all we know & I refrain from all comments until we hear more. It seems incredible!

No news from Early. Yankee accounts of a Victory over McCausland & Johnson. We hope it was by men in buckram. Peace rumours are rife & intimations that the North West is going to divide the U S a new by seceeding & making terms with us to secure to them the navigation of the Miss, but little do we heed them. Peace must be carved out by the points of our swords! — naught else do we trust in. The barbarities of the Yankees & especially Hunter’s late conduct have embittered the war to that degree that Peace seems scarcely possible; I preserve particulars, marked [ -- ]. The future of the Yankee nation one could say with Horace, “Posterity thinned by their father’s crimes/Shall read with greif the story of their times!” for they are surely laying up a heritage of shame for their descendants.

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

August 16 1864

Last Sunday I went to Union to prayermeeting, but few there, when I went into the church I felt bad, but I continued to pray to God to remove my sorrow, in a few moments he heard, answered, and he did bless my soul. Oh! I was happy enough to shout, but I kept it in, I was melted down and wept tears of love and joy, and I felt like saying glory and honor to Jesus Christ, the Lord has sanctified me throughout, soul, spirit and body, hallelujah!!! My soul is happy, heaven is my home. I have passed through some fiery trials, many temptations, cares, disappointments and sorrows, but thank God his grace has been sufficient.

This is my dear Mary Virginia’s birthday, she is 23 years old today, I hope she will be a shining light in the church, and live a devoted christian and a blessing to her dear family & may the blessings of high heaven be hers.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

Monday August 15th 1864

Very warm today. I hemmed the frill for Zona’s bonnet that Sister Jane gave her. Sister Jane will roll & whip it. No news tonight by the mail.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).


Sunday 14th [August 1864]

I spent the evening in reading “Zaider,” a very interesting story. Sister Jane loaned me the papers. This has been a very warm day. Mr. Henry & Tom gone to Ruff Miller’s (he lives at Tom Jones’ old palce) to buy a cow. Aunt Tena went to Asheville yesterday evening. Pinck & the little negroes have gone to take the goats to the Murray place. They got out and came down here. They go nearly any where they want to. Gus is asleep out here on the piazza & Zona & Willie are playing out here also. Sunday is a long day to me. This has been a very warm day. Mary has got well. I want to read some in my bible so I must stop for the day.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).


Courtesy is not merely an observance of the conventionalities of society; it is in reality founded on commong sense and manly feeling. An uncourteous man is one of the greatest bores in the world. He offends every body, and instead of being treated with kindess and considered by his neighbor, he is generally intensely disliked, and no language is sufficiently strong to express his merits. To be  courteous is simply to pay a proper deference to the feelings of others. A well educated man is generally courteous. The fact of his mind being liberalized teaches him the necessity of exercising this virtue. Benevolent men are always courteous; the desire to give pleasure to others is sufficient inducement for them to cultivate this good quality. It is quite as easy to be courteous as the reverse. The time has gone by when bluntness is taken as a sign of honesty. It has been found that dishonest men can be blunt and rude as well as honest men; and compliments of deference to the feelings of others have ceased to be a mark of insincerity. A person who is habitually discourteous, generally possess but little sensibility, and he cares nothing about wounding the feelings of others, excusing himself by saying that he only speaks what he thinks; that is, to put forth his own private opinion whatever it may be, no matter whether it wounds the feelings of his dearest friend. Of course, if a person’s opinion is requested, he must tell the truth; but even that can be done in courteous language which will wound no one. If courtesy were more generally practiced, it would be conductive of the best results. Mutual civility among all classes of society would be found a potent remedy for more than half of the social evils that now oppress us.


Source: Greensborough Patriot, August 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org


The steamer Ad Vance arrived in Wilmington on Saturday, freighted with a rich cargo on State account for the benefit of the soldiers and their families.

Let it be remembered that were W.W. Holden Governor, he would do away with the running of the blockade and leave our brave soldiers to go ragged and half naked and their wives and little ones to starve and perish.


Source: Greensborough Patriot, August 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

The London correspondent of the New York Herald, writing under date of July 2d, is very anxious that something should be done to stop blockade running, by capturing Wilmington. He says:

“I have often spoke of the gigantic fortunes that are being constantly made in running the blockade. An eminent shipbuilder told me yesterday that he had one fast steamer running the blockade, and that he was building four more for the same purpose. Alexander Bollie & Co., are reported to have made a million sterling in blockade running. Why cannot the government spare twenty thousand men to go to North Carolina and capture Wilmington? In the panic of its fall Charleston will also be taken. These two places are the two principal mouths that feel the rebels. Wilmington alone would be worth more to you than Richmond.


Source: Greensborough Patriot, August 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org


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