April 18, 1864 (cont’d)
Preparations are going on at the North for an overwhelming advance on Richmond. Grant is in command. Gen Baldy Smith is to approach up the Peninsula. Spear is to attack Weldon whilst Burnside tries his old route from New Berne to Goldsboro. Grant himself is to manage Lee. All his corps commanders have been changed & the Yankee Nation is, as usual, jubilant & defiant & as to the result — confident. The Herald (excuse me, my dear Journal, from copying anything from its polluted pages into yours — but I take it second hand, expurgated as it were by the Editor of the Examiner), but the Herald with its usual vanity says “Upon Gen Grant there now concentrates the deepest interest with which The World ever watched the actions of any single soldier. We are now, therefore, at that point which must be reached in all great Wars before the war can go forward with irresistable force to the accomplishment of its purpose. We have found our hero!” This is the seventh Hero that the Yankees have found! I suppose they think “there is luck in odd numbers.” Poor “little Napoleon,” unfortunate “fighting Joe,” Burnside the Christian, Pope the despiser of his “rear,” McDowell, Meade — where are you all now? The North has found a hero! “Sound drums & trumpets blare”! The North has found a Hero! Borardo I think set the church bells ringing when he found a name for his hero “Rodomonte,” but the North is more fortunate still. It has found a hero with name and all complete, “Ulysses S Grant,” the triumphant Hero of their yet unwritten Epic! Yet unwritten, but soon to stand forth traced in characters of Blood, blood alaas, of Southern freemen as well as of Northern mercenaries!
Forrest is still successful in Western Kentucky & Tenn; has captured immense quantities of arms & provisions, burned Steamers, & now holds himself at Mayfield, a thorn in the Yankee side. Rumours of a victory gained by us near Shrevesport, La by Kirby Smith over Banks, but they are rumours only for the truth of which we as yet only pray. Farragut after some days shelling the Forts below Mobile has drawn off saying the place must be taken by land — impregnable by sea. The seige of Charleston still continues. The Swamp Angel slowly shells the city. Three unsexed women were seen the other day to visit the batteries & to pull the strings which discharged a shell into the city. With it I suppose went a prayer from their polluted lips that it might destroy some happy home, kill some mother or helpless babe in that “hive of Secession.” Can we wonder at the men when the women set such an example! They it is, the Northern papers say, who are the principle advocates & practicers of “Miscegenation.” Faugh!
To the astonishment of the Yankees a little Steamer rushed down James River the other day & exploded a Torpedo under the Bows of the Minnesota & was off before they could fire upon her & lost in the darkness. They say, which I am sorry to hear, that no damage was done. We must hope for better luck next time, for it was a gallant & daring act.
Suffolk is again occupied in force & another Regt of negro cavalry awaits the charge of a Battery of Southerners. Recently in Miss we attacked a Regt of mounted Cuffies & not one was left to tell the tale! The negroes have a hard time in the Yankee service. Put by their new masters in the front, they bear the brunt of the day & do not receive from their old masters the quarter or the mercy shown by them to prisoners of war, but are shot down without hesitation, not allowed even to surrender. We desire to have no complications on the subject of negro exchanges.
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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