Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

An Energetic Young Lady

A correspondent of the Charlotte Bulletin relates an instance of energy and determination in a young lady, such as many a being that wears pants would be incapable of. Miss Mary ____, a young lady, who has been tenderly raised, unaccustomed to labor and hardships, left a village in South Carolina for the purpose of brining away from a mountain town of our State (liable to yankee and tory raids) her widowed sister and children, the husband and father having been killed in Virginia nearly two years ago. At a station on the Western railroad she could find no conveyance, so she walked 18 miles over the mountains, had her sister’s household goods packed and conveyed back across the mountains to the station, and arrived, all safe and sound (save blistered feet) in Charlotte, having traveled in four or five days a distance of 400 miles, bringing her sister and little ones to a place of more safety.

“Talk of conquering a country inhabited by women like this!” says the writer. “Miss Mary was armed, and has the nerve to shoot, and a cowardly tory would quail before the lustrous determination of that steady blue eye of hers. Although a citizen and resident of South Carolina, she was born and educated in North Carolina, and is true to her early tuition of self-reliance.


Source: Fayetteville Observer, August 4, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org


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August 1, 1864

Today Mr Dunlop left for his home leaving little Mattie with us. Poor homesick little child, from my heart I am sorry for you! He sends us another batch of rumours from the R R modifying & correcting those of yesterday, but I will wait for Marse Robert’s official dispatch ere I record the results. Grant is throwing troops to the North bank of the James & Gen S D Lee has joined Hood with 10,000 reinforcements, so Atlanta may yet be saved. No news, and it is too hot to do anything but keep cool.

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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July 30, 1864

On the 27th came Mr Dunlop of Petersburg bringing his daughter Mattie to remain with us whilst the city is undergoing so furious a bombardment. Poor man, he has cause for deep anxiety, his own home beleaguered & liable at any moment to be blown up, his wife and two daughters persisting in remaining there — rather than endure the miseries of refuge-ism, the rest of his family scattered, one son severely wounded, others in the army, whilst his eldest daughter, a married woman, lives in Atlanta & is exposed to all the horrors of a city in a state of seige, shells flying about her hourly. His cup seems full without the addition of the immense cost of the merest necessaries of life. The expense to which he is now put merely to live would, if long continued, seriously embarrass a princely fortune. What blessings we enjoy! Grant O heavenly Father that they fall not on unthankful hearts! May our lives be a hymn of Praise to Thee for Thy goodness to us!

All as usual before Petersburg. Grant is not dead as reported by deserters but still lives to burrow under our earth works & shell a city occupied only by women & children & filled with Hospitals! In the valley Gen Ramseur has met with a reverse which has nipped his growing promotion in the bud. It is a muddled affair, but it seems he led a division sent out to reconnoitre, threw out neither scouts or skirmishers, & walked open eyed into an ambuscade in which he lost heavily both in guns & prisoners. He is much blamed, but where is an unfortunate general who is not? Next day, however, Early repaired his mishap. On the now classic ground of Kernstown he fell upon Hunter & put him to the most ignominious rout. The panic equaled that of the first Manassas. We recaptured guns & prisoners, taking scores of Yankees by way of reprisal, drove him pell mell into & out of Martinsburg which we reoccupy, and our army now stands at Harper’s Ferry in attitude of advance, but whether again on Washington or into Penn we outsiders cannot tell, but advance it will.

Grant has recalled the troops he detached to defend Washington, needing more than he can get, & under Hunter has collected all the available force left in Maryland. These are now but a routed & disorganized & disjointed mass, so Early & Breckenridge can repair the blunders made in their late attack & let us reap more substantial fruits of victory than forage & horses. Peace seems to be sending its shadow ahead, as recently two southern Gentlemen & that political adventurer Geo N Saunders associated themselves together & addressed a letter to Greely demanding a safe conduct to Washington to discuss the preliminaries of Peace. It is needless for me to enter into all the detail of their correspondance. Suffice it that Messrs Clay of Ala, Holcombe of Va, & Saunders of Dixie met with a most decided rebuff at the hands of Mr Lincoln, he telling them in a paper addressed with Machievelli-like craft “To all whom it may concern,” that the safe conduct should be granted if the Confederate States were willing to renounce slavery, return to the allegiance of the U S, lay down arms, in short give up all we are fighting for & submit ourselves to his royal clemency.  Balderdash!

Simultaneously with the debut of these self constituted Commissioners, two Yankees, one a Rev Col, the other an Abolition penny-a-liner, make their appearance in Richmond, are entertained at the Spotswood House, have two interviews with Pres Davis, and leave as they entered.  To whom they were accredited does not appear, but certainly to some one less impersonal than “To All whom it may concern,” or they would never have seen Mr Davis. We get only Northern accounts of their interview and as I do not beleive what the Yankees say I will not record them. I cannot avoid saying, however, that I think the self styled “Southern commissioners” might have found a more worthy channel through which to attempt to open negotiations than that wretch Greely! “Can a man touch pitch and not be defiled?” Peace itself would be sullied in passing through his hands.

Matters before Atlanta cause us grave anxiety. Sherman is shelling the place. Hood has again repulsed him & Forrest has broken up his communications, but he seems not to flag in consequence. McPherson, said to be the ablest man in the Yankee service, was killed in the recent battle, which seems now to have been more bloody than we had thought. The Yankees admit a loss of 15,000 & say we lost 7000. I know not how it is. McPherson’s Laurels, it is said, are worn by Maj Gen Grant. To him is due all the credit of the advance & attack on Vicksburg. If so I hope Sherman will feel his loss.

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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July 23 [1864] “Saturday night”

We have had a quiet week. no company except Louise Cross a school mate of Mr. E’s, who is a refugee from La. A very sweet and amiable girl – The Col and [Jamie] went to the plantation today and have not yet returned. George & Henry went fishing Jennie & Emily & petite Katie are playing  sound so happily. When I look at their happy sports, I sight to think of the stern realities of life they must encounter! May the Lord be their father – may He “guide them by this counsel & afterward receive them to glory.”


Source: Jane Evans Elliot Diaries #5343, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/e/Elliot,Jane_Evans.html




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June 20, 1864

At the plantation with Mr E. We had sent for the girl Catherine Jackson. I tried to set forth, to her, her shortcomings & deficiencies in a firm yet kind light, particularly her utter want of veracity, her idleness, & her horrid unwomanly practice of chewing tobacco & her fancy for straying about the country alone. We have provided her with a home for more than a fortnight during which time she has barely spun a lb of cotton. Sent her to Mrs George Pope with an admonition that she would not please unless she was more industrious.

News but meagre from Petersburg but all good. Gen Lee telegraphs that we have retaken the entrenchments at Howlets, from whence we conclude that he is South of the James. Confirmation of the repulse of the enemy before Petersburg, which is now considered safe from their attacks. The slaughter was terrific on their side, ours slight. Not much news from the Valley & that not encouraging. They have taken & burned all the important buildings in Lexington & menace Lynchburg, but Breckenridge will, I hope, frustrate their designs. They have no supplies, no waggons, & live off the country, pillaging, robbing, & committing the most horrible outrages. Johnson still holds Sherman at bay. He dare not attack altho invited to do so. Morgan, we hear from the North, holding his own in Kentucky.

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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June 19, 1864

Yesterday came Sister Betsy & Rachel to make us a visit. There was no mail but the news they brought from Petersburg, derived from passengers, is exciting in the extreme. The cars were crowded with women & children flying from the brutal shelling of their Christian brethren! Several ladies have been killed. They had taken all our batteries & at one time turned our own guns upon us, but we retook battery no –,the Key of the position, & were able to command the others & it was hoped they would soon be forced to evacuate them. This is Refugee news, however, & as they leave in a panic they always exagerate the danger — so I omit many details which they gave us — enough, however, to fill our hearts with deep anxiety. We have no news of Gen Lee but are sure that he is in the right place & will at the right time act. Should Grant invest Petersburg on the South side of the Appomattox, succeed in cutting off Lee’s Southern communication, it will be a most serious thing for us as a community, as we would be exposed without protection to predatory bands sent off from the main army in search of plunder; but beyond that, thanks to the farseeing of our head, Mr Davis, it would scarce effect the well being of Lee’s army, as the Danville road is safe & by it supplies could be forwarded. The Danville junction with the N C R R is now finished & open for travel. Its inception & execution we owe to Mr Davis suggestion and energy. God bless him!

About Sundown came a note from Mr McMahon telling us that additional news from Petersburg had been received; brought, however, by a passenger, so we know not how much to credit. He says that at one time the Yankees had taken all our fortifications & were rushing into the town when by an opportune arrival they were met by a body of our “grey backs” supposed to be Lieut Gen Longstreet’s Corp, who drove them in a hand to hand struggle, with tremendous slaughter, back & repossessed the fortifications & that the city was now considered “safe.” God grant it. Should they, however, succeed in investing the city on the South side of the Appomattox & maintain themselves there, it would, as I said before, be a terrible thing for us, but God’s will be done! Our times are in His hands!

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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Saturday 6th February 1864

I saw the cannon yesterday. They have it placed so as to sweep the bridge this side of Mrs. Cunningham’s on the other side of the river. They were throwing up breast works. I hope it may be a false report about their advancing on Asheville. I called in at Mrs. Smith’s yesterday in Asheville. She is scared good. I did not see Mollie. She was at her house packing up to leave Asheville. Big fraid was after them. I made Zona a long saque today, faced it round with red spotted flannel. It fits nicely. We have had rain & snow today, but none of consequence on the ground. Some soldiers stay here tonight from Longstreet’s command. They are very nice men from Georgia. Three staid all night & one other one eat breakfast. Their bill was $9.50. They seemed perfectly satisfied with it & seemed very grateful. They had a wagon along & corn & hay for their horses.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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January 1st 1864

The Lord has spared me to see another year, goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures, hallelujah, praise ye the Lord. I will now renew my covenant with God. I am determined to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Christ, if the Lord will bless me and mine, and bring my dear children home, who are in captivity. I will love and honor him and keep his commandments. The Lord has been with me the past year, I think I have grown in grace, I am pressing forward in the path to Heaven. I enjoy religion ’tis my meat and drink to do the will of God, he has heard and answered my prayers. All things work together for my spiritual good. I have my temptations and trials and sorrows and cares, I expect to have them as long as I live, but I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me. I have always found it so. The Lord has been with me in every trouble and comforted and blessed me and brought me out of many troubles, therefore I will continue to look to him with strong confidence and faith, he is my best friend. Sometimes I feel like he has sanctifyed me throughout soul, spirit and body. Sometimes my peace flows like a river, I have a sweet foretaste of Heaven.



January 18th

Since I last wrote in my diary what a comfortable time I have had. Mary Virginia and Willie have arrived safe home from Arkansa, also her three children, Dora, Willie and Mollie. I thank and praise God for his goodness to my children. I will rejoice ever more, pray without ceasing, in every thing give thanks. The Lord has answered my prayers, hallelujah, praise ye the Lord, glory and honor and power be ascribed unto him forever, my peace flows like a river.



January 28th

I have been sick several days since my daughter came, the excitement, and I have had a great deal of company. My poor weak body has suffered from it. My little grandchildren have been sick but they are better. My children have been sick, Annie and Robert have had dreadful colds. Mary Virginia has been sick and feeble, she was so fatigued from the long trip of 4 weeks. There is no perfect happiness here in this world of sin and sorrow, we are subject to cares, disappointments, sickness and sorrow, as long as we remain in these low grounds of sorrow. I have lately been tempted and tryed, I feel my poverty, helplessness and dependance upon my Saviour. I am the child of affliction, but I know that God has been with me, sometimes he permits me to see what a poor creature I am, so weak a worm of the dust, I am nothing, but Christ is my all in all.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html


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January 16th 1864

We stand on the threshold of another year. God grant that it may be happier than the last. About the middle of last September, we received a letter from Aunt Malinda that the house in which she lived had been bought and she could neither rent nor buy a house in Cheraw. She proposed coming over to Fayetteville. She arrived soon after and has been our guest till Monday the fourth of this month, she went to house keeping in the house next to us. She is just living with what things she brought with her and some borrowed from us. The last week in September Buddy arrived home sick on furlough. He had again been sent back to the hospital and Richmond and succeeded in getting a furlough. He was very weak but great a great deal better during his visit. He returned to his regiment the first of last month. Mrs. John McKenzie died at Mrs. Wilkinson’s the 28th of December. I am not going to school this winter as there is no school but Mrs. McNeills & she could not take our class. The government has taken the seminary for a hospital. Dr. Hooper has gone up to Mount Vernon. I was very sorry. I could not enjoy his instructions for another year. We would have taken our diplomas next year. Last Thursday week the 8th it began to sleet (it has been raining ever since Monday) & that night it turned into a snow it was very cold, the coldest weather we have had this winter or even last winter.

Mr. John P. McLean was married last Wednesday week (6th) to Miss Rebecca Breece. Mr. Archy McLean had a party for them last Tuesday evening. Sister & I went. We all enjoyed it very much. John P. started to his regiment, Thursday. Cousins Annie & Sarah Ray have just started from here for home. Cousin Annie came up to Mr. McLauchlin’s two weeks ago quite sick from Clinton where she has been teaching school.

Source: Malinda Ray Diary, Anna Sutton Sherman Papers, North CarolinaState Archives.  See also David A. Ray Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill

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Sulphur Springs, Nc

2nd Jany 1864

My Dear Little Son,

I write this first letter I have ever written to you. I can not express how much I want to say on paper. The day after you & Cousin Harry started to South Carolina, I started with my company on a trip to Cosby (a little creek in Cocke County Tennessee). I suppose you know how cold the weather was, as you were out in the day and I was out day and night, and two days & two nights without anything to eat and only two bundles of oats for each horse. I recon you think we were hungry. We some of the men complained a good deal.

We traveled through the Catalucha Mountains from Haywood County in the direction of New Port and on the morning of the 24th Day of December, we met a lot of the enemy in the woods. They were acting as bush-whackers (that is men fighting in the woods & behind logs, stones & trees). We were engaged in shooting at each other about two hours & then the enemy ran off in the mountains and our men following for two or three miles shooting at each other occasionally when they would get in sight. None of our men were hurt. A few of the enemy were killed, some wounded & some taken prisoners. We got all their breakfast as they had not got done cooking it, and all their cook vessels and something like 30 horses & such things as are about a camp. We then came home by way of New Port & the French Broad river.

I got home a few days ago and found your mother & the children all well. We have some little lambs, pretty little fellows. The branch is covered over with ice and the weather is very cold. Willie and Zona fee the chickens and ducks & talk of brother Pinckney & send a good night kiss to Pinckney and pray God to bless their brother & bring him safe home to his mother, Papa & little brothers & sister. Zona take a little spell of crying occasionally about little Pinckney.

Well sisters Dora & Mattie, I have not written to you for some time as I had some little riding around to do. I have been practicing soldiering for some time & I find that I can commit pretty well. I suppose you have long since heard that Sister Jane had moved to Asheville to avoid as much as possible the calamities of her own adopted country. I saw her yesterday. She is in the John W. Woodfin house near Dr. Neilson’s house. She is well but she looks very care worn. I am truly sorry that she had to leave her home as I fear we people of the mountain country will have to move out next summer unless the enemy are driven out of East Tennessee, as we will not have enough stuff to support the contending armies that will have to pass through this mountain country, and that must be quartered on our section, as I hope we may be able to stop the enemy in the mountains.

The enemy will try in the months of May & June to push our armies to the wall as several thousand will be at home from expired time, whose service will have expired by that time. Our darkest days will be next Spring & Summer but then we will be able to push the enemy back to their own cold northern home. Oh! that the war might be broat to a successful close and our men who are yet alive be able to come to their different familys & avocations. I hope to weather the storm & be at home not to be called away for the defense of all that I hold dear & love best.

I want you to love my boy and be kind to him. Try by kindness to teach him his duty. I want both of you to write to me as your letters to wife are not to me & I want to hear from you in letter to myself. I know you have very little to write of and little inclination to write. I want you to say to Mr. Smith that my family & Mr. Neilson’s familys are well


Love to all

Love, Respectfully

Wm. Henry

Mother, Gus, Willie & Zona all send love & a heap of kisses to Pinck. You must be a good boy & ask God to bless your Papa every night. Zona sends you this button. She says keep it till she comes.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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