The Loss of the Alabama

Few of the stirring events of the times have created a greater sensation in Europe as well as on this continent than the battle between the Alabama and the Kearsage. It might have been feared that its disastrous termination would have had injurious effect in Europe upon the reputation of the confederacy. But the reverse is the fact. Both England and France are ablaze with enthusiastic admiration of Capt. Semmes and his gallant crew, and with sympathy in his misfortune – a sympathy not unsubstantial, for he was to be forthwith provided with a new ship superior to the Alabama, and with any number of swords in place of the one he threw into the sea rather than risk the possibility of having to surrender it. He was the “guest of England.” The yankee correspondent of the New York Herald growls over the manifest favor with which Semmes is treated, and the determination to put him afloat again speedily.

We copy copiously from the accounts of the battle and the resulting expression of feeling.

It is said that our Secretary of the Navy had given express orders to Capt. Semmes not to fight, his business being of a more useful nature, the destruction of yankee commerce. This is probably true, and it was doubtless wrong to fight, but though the judgment may condemn, the feelings applaud the gallant spirit that would not refuse a dare.

It will be seen that the Kearsage had concealed iron-plating – a trick on par with the coat of mail sometimes worn by duelists, which is considered infamous all the world over.

Source: Fayetteville Observer, July 18, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

Wednesday 20th July 1864

This is Pinck’s birth day. He is eight years old today. I remember this day eight years ago very well. Mrs. Peake & Dr. Peake were there. They came the evening of the 7th Saturday & Pinck was born five minutes of twelve on Sunday morning. The house was full of boarders. We had many things then to what we have now. The burning of that hotel nearly broke us up. I hope to be as comfortably fixed some day again. A great many changes have come over us since then. We buried one of our darling children since & now have three younger than Pinck living. Pinck is well grown to his age. The summer he was a year old, 1857, I thought he would die. He was sick three months with diarrhea. He was nothing but skin and bone. I have dressed him many a morning & never expected to undress him alive. I nursed him nearly all the time. Sometimes Atheline would walk him some. We rode him out every day. Sometimes Sister Jane & I would ride him but mostly Mr. Henry and I . We had a nice buggy then & a gentle poney we worked. I am thankful my child was restored to health. May he make an honorable high toned man & a useful member of society. I wish all my boys the same. May they all be useful to their country & Piously incline. Lead their young hearts unto Thee Oh Lord I pray. I wish my dear little daughter may grow up a virtuous chaste woman. May she never err from virtuous faith & when they come to die may the “dread their graves as little as their beds.” Mr. Henry out in the farm all day. I finished my dress this evening. It fits very neatly. Mrs. Fanning got the cloth out today. No news from the army. They are expected a raid on Asheville every day. They are fortifying there now. I do hope & pray the enemy will never get in. Like David I ask Oh! Lord may we not fall into the hands of our enemies.


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).

Arrival of Bacon

We announce with pleasure that a steamer has just arrived in Wilmington with a large quantity of Bacon, which has been imported by Gov. Vance, for the wives and families of the soldiers and for the destitute of the State. The Bacon, we learn, will be distributed as soon as it can be brought to the different depots for that purpose. A large number of scythe blades arrived in the same steamer. They were also imported on State account – but unfortunately they arrived too late for harvest. They will be useful however next year.

Source: Fayetteville Observer, July 18, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org


$50 Reward

Ranaway from the subscriber, on the 24th of June, my negro TOM. He will probably go about where Turner Gilchrist’s widow lived in Robeson County, or in the neighborhood of Mr. Monroe’s on Big Rockfish, who owned a brother of his. I will pay the above reward for said negro or his confinement in jail so I can get him.

Source: Fayetteville Observer, July 18, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

Late Yankee papers have the following paragraph:

A very daring and hazardous expedition, which proved quite successful, was undertaken by Capt. Cushing, of the United States Navy, in the vicinity of Wilmington, NC on the 24th ult, in a cutter with only sixteen men. He ran ashore, concealed his men by day, and made a regular reconnaissance of the suburbs of Wilmington. He captured a courier with valuable mail, took several prisoners, and ran the gauntlet of the rebel gunboats in getting back, which he did safely, after an absence of three days and two nights.

Source: Fayetteville Observer, July 18, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org


Tuesday 19th July 1864

I cut out my muslin dress today & sewed some on it. Matt has made the skirt today. I am going to make a garibaldi waist. Mrs. Fanning weaving. I have filled her quills today. I sent some ten coarse to Johnston’s to be mended this evening but did not get it done. I was amused at Willie. He had the coffee pot & Gus wanted it. I told Willie to give it to him. Willie said “Mother Gus might put he head in it.” He wanted an excuse to keep from giving it to him. That reminds me of Pinck when he was a little fellow. I was putting some cologne on him he said “sugar in it Mullie lasses in it.” I suppose he thought it had sugar and molasses in it to make it smell so sweet. I was much amused at the children & geese some four years ago. It was late in the evening & old Sam was trying to catch two little lambs he was raising by hand. (He put them in the chaff house every night). The lambs ran in among the geese (where they had stationed themselves for the night) & Sam after them. The geese flew in every direction. One came between the kitchen & the house. The children said the geese said one to another “Where am you” & another would say “git along, git along.” They had awful squawking saying something. I teach Pinck & Zona every day. They both learn very fast.

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).

Henry family burial plots, Harrie Deaver near the end, before the fenced plots.

Henry family burial plots, Asheville. Harrie Deaver is buried near the end, before the fenced plots.


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