August 16, 1863
No news in the papers. Military operations seem brought to a sudden stand by the intense heat; Cavalry skirmishes & capturing an occasional outpost is all we hear of. The Yankee Cavalry seems to have improved in both dash & daring latterly & I am sorry to say ours do not seem to keep pace with them, but our horses need forage & our facilities for transporting it are far behind those of our enemy. A letter from Mr Haigh to father tells him that his son Charles, Sergeant Major of Evans Regt, writes him that Robertson’s Brigade in which he is was reduced during the Penn Campaign to 200 horses. I can scarce credit it! Hood of Texas has been made Lieut Gen & placed in command of all the Cavalry of Northern Va. I am glad that is not Stuart. His head is said to be deficient. He can execute but not plan a movement.
A court of Inquiry called to investigate matters in the South West particularly the surrender of Vicksburg. I have not much hope from it as Gen R Ransom is at the head of it. Why cannot Mr Davis employ gentlemen? A open mouthed swearing braggart like Robert Ransom is no fit judge in any case, a mean bully such as he is cannot be impartial. His brother Gen Mat Ransom seems to have half the newspapers in his pay to glorify his conduct during the late advance of the Yankees into Northampton, yet he will, nevertheless, find it hard to make us at home beleive that the reason he did not follow and crush them, as he says he could have done, was that “he had orders from the Sec of War not to press them.” We prefer beleiving that a man who has had his face slapped for cheating at cards & took it tamely was recreant to his duty, slow, or even showed the white feather again, to the other horn of the dilemma, viz., that we have so infamous a government that it suffers its citizens to be plundered with impunity when it has the power to punish. But I consume time & paper upon them, only I cannot help reiterating that I cannot see why the President puts such people with such antecedents & such parentage, & who have done so little to redeem either the one or the other, in offices of trust — but then Mrs Edmondston they are Democrats!
Gen Taylor has captured thirty four New York cotton planters who had settled themselves down in La & sent them for safe keeping to Texas — too good treatment for thieves and “squatters.”
Our matters seem looking up in the trans Mississippi. Texas is a stir, the Gov having taken the field with 10,000 State troops. Morgan & most of his command, sad to say, is undoubtedly captured. The high water in the Ohio prevented his crossing, but `ere they succeeded in surrounding him he had traversed two States, carried fear & dismay into the hearts of the Abolitionists themselves, broken up & destroyed many lines of R R communication, & burnt large quantities of Commissary stores.
The hot weather does not seem to cool the animosity of the Yankees against non combattants. Witness the orders issued by Meade against the residents along the Alexandria & Orange R R, Some accounts of outrages upon women I delay recording, for they are so shocking that I cannot credit them. I wait for proof. Mrs Sanderson of Natchez is said to have been hung, Mrs Fort of Canton, Miss, whipped to death, & Mrs Hall of Weitzel Co Va exposed in a manner too shocking to write unless proved to be the truth.
Before Charleston matters continue as they were, an occasional bombardment of Battery Wagner only breaks the monotony of the seige — if we may call it so. We have thrown up heavy works which flank Wagner & another attempt to take it by assault would be even more bloody than that of the 18th of July. The enemy admit that they cannot damage it by shells & now pretend that they will be able to breach Sumter with their long range guns which they have mounted in a battery on Morris Island, but we know that is all gas & bluster & to make capital with the masses at home.
Lincoln’s draft seems to give him much uneasiness. He has ordered 13,000 New England & Indiana troops to New York to overawe the mob during the drafting & ordering out of the conscripts. Gov Seymour is in the midst of a sharp correspondence with him respecting the method in which the enrolment has been carried out. He draws his attention to the fact that in 9 nine Democratic Distcts the quota of men called for by the draft is nearly as great as in 19 nineteen Republican Dists where the population is far greater than in the Democratic, remonstrates upon the injustice of such unequal demands, & requests that the draft may be suspended until another enrolment has been made. Mr Lincoln in reply refuses to postpone the draft & gives as a reason that “the Rebels are driving every man into the Army like cattle in a slaughter pen.” Seymour admits the fact but reminds his Excellency that where every man is driven it is easier to be borne than when injustice & partiality drive some & favour others, & that too for political opinions. So there are the elements of a nice little quarrel between them.
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
Read Full Post »