June 27, 1864
News today from Petersburg brought by a Maj Shepperd, who left that place on horse back & came to Stony Crk where he took the cars, to the effect that “Petersburg is now considered safe.” The wires were last night working between Weldon & Petersburg, but as the enemy were entrenched 8000 strong within 3/8th of a mile of the R R, it was not considered safe to allow cars to pass. The Danville Road has been torn up at Keysville, a short distance from Clarksville, so no more news of Lee or Breckenridge can reach us for a time. Was startled today by a messenger riding up & putting into my hands a note from Col Bell to Mr E enclosing an official dispatch from Gen Whiting to Gen L S Baker to which Mr E wasrequested to forward with all speed & telling him that a raid had been made upon the Wilmington R R below Goldsboro. Gen Baker was kind enough to write by the servant who “sped on the fiery cross” that it was a “threatened” raid which he did not beleive the enemy had force to make. There is in the papers a most disgraceful account of an advance of the enemy below Kinston, in which tho they were but 300 strong they defeated the 6th Cavalry, Folks, &, part at least of the 67th infantry, killed several of them & took 60 prisoners, losing themselves “but one man & he drowned by falling into Cobb’s mill tail”! Disgraceful truly! The papers call it “botched on our side.” They were piloted by a deserter from Nethercutts Bat named Taylor Waters, & to his shame be it said, from Lenoir County.
Have been much interested latterly curing & drying my own tea! Tea from my own plants & very fine indeed it is. Good judges pronounce it an excellent article! My stock of either time or patience does not admit of my rolling it “a la Chinoise,” tho I tried it partially. I simply dry the leaves slowly on a chafing dish over the fire taking care to bruise them as they become hot & being careful not to burn or scorch them. I have fifty or more young plants from last year’s nuts which in a few years, if they yeild in the ratio that my present number of old plants (eight) have done, will supply me amply — something of an object when tea is, as now, $50 per lb in Petersburg and $25 in Charleston. So much for our late wise Congress tampering with the law of imports. Our present august body is but little better, as it has left the evil unremedied. I have been also busy plaiting straw for Mr E’s hat. Wheat straw is softer than Rye, but the blanched part of the rye is so much longer that one is tempted to forego beauty for ease of manufacture. It is pleasant to feel that we have the ability at least to be independant of these vile Yankees, that in spite of their boasted blockade, kept up with such expenditure of both men & money by them, we are not forced to forego our usual comforts or luxuries. The excesses the wretches commit are almost incredible.
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