April 1, 1863
News of the success of our Cavalry in the west under Forrest, Wheeler, & Morgan, capturing prisoners, 800 in no., arms & equipments, burning Commissary stores & destroying a R R Bridge on the Nashville road at Brentwood — thus annoying Rosencrans to whom they have (the Abolitionists) given the sobriquet of “Old Holdfast.” They claim to have received from New Orleans tidings of a complete victory at Port Hudson & that all their vessels with the exception of the Mississippi, which they declare they burned because she was aground, were safely past our batteries, but that is for Europe as a Steamer sailed last week. O! universal Yankee nation how you do lie! Your moral sense is perverted, you see no shame in it. We suffer from aprehensions that our army in Va will be forced to “fall back.” Sec Stanton has a rumour to the effect that we are removing our machinery and munitions of war to a less exposed place than Richmond. Numbers of troops have, we know, left Gen Lee — some to So Ca, some to the Blackwater — & the country is filled with reports of the intentions of Government & the need of food, which are very painful, tho I do not credit the whole of them. Prices are fearfully high even for depreciated currency, which fact, however, loth & slow I have been to admit, is indisputable — Lard 1.25, Bacon 6.00 & upward, Flour $30 per barrel, Tea $7 per lb, sugar $1.12 ½ to 1.25 per lb, boots $50 a pr, Long cloth $2. to 2 25 a yard, Cotton Cards $30 for two pair, I think, Salt considered cheap at $25 per bu, butter $2 per lb — & every thing else in proportion. The country has been clamouring for a Tax — a high Tax & they have got one now. At least the House has passed it & there is little doubt but that the Senate will follow suit. It is enormous! Sidney Smith’s taxed Englishman was a favoured individual to what a taxed Confederate will soon be. I fear me that the vice of lying and false swearing will be amazingly increased. The temptation to under estimate one’s property will be great. When it is published as a law I will enumerate some portions & mention the amount we pay.
Last week the Battery constructed above us was taken in tow by a steamer to be carried down to a landing below us to be ironed. From some mismanagement they allowed her to drag the boat then under headway of steam past the landing & attempting to turn she ran afoul of the boat crashing her wheel & damaging her greatly. Shameful conduct some where & conduct which will be felt in the Army, for this is one of two Steamers upon which we depend to carry our supplies to Weldon. One boat was lost from the drunkenness of the person in charge last summer — now this from incapacity! It is too bad and we have had a part of a cargo ready bagged for three weeks waiting for her to come & take it and yet all the time is the out cry — “send on your corn“! They put a negligent ignoramus in charge because forsooth he has interest enough to get the appointment which keeps him from the Conscript Camp & then the nation & army suffer! Ah! patriotism, these stupid worthless officials try you sadly! Our gun at Rainbow Gen Beauregard wished for at Charleston & instead of sending the order to some man of sense who knew the country & that the best, in short the only practical, way of getting it there was to send it back by steamer to Halifax & there put it on the R R, some num-skull of a commissioned officer ordered it to be hauled 25 miles across the country to Tarrboro to the R R there. The consequence was that after dismounting & with great labour moving it about 300 yds it stuck hopelessly in the mud & there it lies useless to every one waiting, like fighting Joe, for the “roads to harden.”
We have had terrible weather latterly which has I fear played havoc with our Peach crop. “George the 4th” is the only one that I have examined which gives promise of fruit. “Miss Timmons” is deceitful. “Old Mixon” a cheat & “President,” “Ravenel’s favorite,” “Grape Mignon,” “Newington,” & “Early York” — blackhearted! Hard names to give my friends. The Apples will I hope escape, as they are very backward. My two hens in the house yard, Mrs Marllow & Katrine Von Tassel, laid in 75 days 118 eggs between them. Pretty well, considering one was a pullet!
Sue is gone to Raleigh to attend the Communion & Kate Miller’s wedding which latter is to take place on the 15th. I must try to make a wedding Cake, tho the war has diminished my stores sadly. Mr E read me this morning an extract, “The best way to see Divine Light is to put out thine own candle.” What a world of wisdom, of faith, and of trust in God & humility does it contain! “Put out thine own candle,” vain man, that the Sun of Righteousness may enlighten you.
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
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