June 3, 1862
Came Father & Mary to dinner. They brought the missing news from Richmond, the want of which left us so wide a field for speculation yesterday. On Sat, the 31st, our scouts reported that a portion of the enemy having crossed the Chickahominy the night before & the terrible rains of Friday night & Saturday morning having raised the swamp so that they were cut off, it was determined at once to attack them & the last account was that a terrific fight was raging, we being in the ascendant, but as the mail has failed every day since, we know nothing more.
Waited in painful suspense for the mail which in part confirmed the above, but the enemy does not seem to have been cut off, for he was constantly reinforced during the fight. We were Victorious, driving them from the position & Camp which we captured & held, taking also some of the finest pieces of Artillery known in scientific warfare, three entire batteries & some single pieces, but at a terrible loss to us both in men & officers. We drove the enemy three miles from his camp. He then made a detour & attacked us in the Flank but here again he was repulsed & he spent the night in the wet swamps without food or shelter, we occupying his tents. Our Commander Gen Joe Johnson was wounded in the groin & the command now devolves upon Gen Gustavus Smith a native of Va and said to be an able general, which God grant he may prove himself. Amongst the killed is Gen Johnston Pettigrew, a native of our State but now hailing from S Carolina. A young man of high attainments & great Ambition, he was destined to have made himself a name in the world. God be with his poor sisters. Mary I know was much devoted to him. One Louisiana Regt charged shouting, “Butler!” “Butler!” & carried everything before them! Ah! if mens blood can be stirred the conduct of that infamous villain should do it! I hope when he hears it that his coward heart will sink beneath the fear it will excite in him. The other particulars are not authentic, so I will wait for further news.
The last accounts were that Stonewall Jackson was at Martinsburg in Maryland, had destroyed a portion of the Baltimore & Ohio RR & threatened Washington or Baltimore. Lincoln was in a panic, calling loudly for the “Loyal men of the North to defend the Capitol,” whilst volunteers & recruits were pressing there with all expedition. The Rout of Banks was complete; 4000 prisoners, & an immense quantity of stores of all kinds, baggage, tents, arms, ammunition, horses, etc., have fallen into our hands. The next account will be I hope that Jackson has taken Washington, blown up the White House & the Capitol, scattered Congress, & driven Lincoln to the disguise of the long Cloak & Scotch cap once more.
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