Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

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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December 27, 1863

My dear Dora,

I have just finished Pinck’s letter so will write you a letter in it though I have nothing to write of importance. Sister Jane spent Christmas day with me. I was very glad to see her. The yanks have treated her badly. She looks old & care worn. I am so sorry for her. She had both children & Mr. & Mrs. Black & Mrs. Black had her babe. They only staid all day. I was sorry she could not stay longer but she had to go back as Mr. Neilson had to leave in a day or two. Little Dora is very small but tolerably well. She is teething which makes her fretful. I am going to see Sister Jane this week if the weather will let me. We have had some very cold days of late & sleet & rain in abundance. She is living in John Woodfin’s house. I am glad she had got out of Tenn.

I have not seen Mr. Henry since the day after Pinck left. I heard last Tuesday that he was well. Oh! Dora if this war lasts one year longer I shall be prematurely old. I have seen so much trouble since Mr. Henry has been out, it really seems to me sometimes I can’t stand it. I am afraid I shall be a lunatic when the war is over. I won’t suffer myself to dwell on it. I try to throw it off but when night begins to throw its mantle over the earth, I want to see Mr. Henry coming but days will run into months before he can come at leisure & perhaps he may never come again. OH! ‘Tis perfect agony to me, my life is no pleasure to me at all.

Talk to Pinck of us often. Teach him to be a good obedient child. Love him for my sake & his Papa’s. Let me hear from him after every week. I shall want to hear.

Your devoted sister, Cornelia

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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Wm. L Henry

Private Co. B, 14th Batt.

Paint Rock, 13th Dec. 1863

My Dear Dinah & Babies

I only write you a few lines to say I am well & enjoying myself as well circumstances will admit of. I cannot enjoy things away from my home under arms for the destruction of my race as well as I could at home with my wife & the war over but peace has not come nor will it show its smile I fear for some time. Gen. Vance has come to take charge of this district. I like him & his course better than the course Col. Palmer. Tell John Hendrix & Albert Knight to come to camp. Have their horses shod & come on & not wait to be brought in as a hound with a guard after them. Send me a shirt or denim, which I need I do not know. I think some of our men will be at camp ground Reams Creek.

My Dear, don’t sell anything to eat. Store if possible as our friends will all to move from Tenn. I have nothing to write. I hope you are getting along well.  Kill your hogs & cattle.

I am as ever yours. Ten thousand kisses & fine wishes to my wife & babies.

Wm. Henry

Wife, please let the bearer have five pounds of blue stones if you have that much. I know you ought to have more if not wasted.

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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Saturday 10th [October 1863]

I made the last shirt today. Betsey got the cloth started. Matt made some candy for the children this evening. Mr. Henry went to Asheville with Branton. He has deserted so we all think he was at home some two months ago & then went back, at least he left this neighborhood. I don’t think he ever went back. He says his Reg. has disbanded. A tale of his own I imagine. Mr. Henry came back this evening & old Mr. Lundy with him. Lundy is a Tennessee refugee.

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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Sunday 13th [September 1863]

Two men left this morning. The other three are still here. ‘Tis near dinner. I must go out & see about it a little. Mr. Henry is lying in here (the side room) asleep. The others are lounging about generally. Aunt Tena went up Homeny to preaching yesterday, will be back this evening. The Baptist has an association. A beautiful day. Mr. Henry caught a negro in the orchard yesterday evening. He gave him some impudence & Mr. Henry corrected him. He hurt his foot & one hand smartly. He can scarcely walk, his foot is swollen & hand too.

Monday 14th [September 1863]

I cut Fannie’s Jennie’s & Atheline’s dresses this morning & made the waist of Fannie’s . Mr. Henry went to Asheville this morning. Tom Cook came by him after were done dinner & said Mr. Henry & the other mounted militia had gone to take up some soldiers that are going through the country stealing horses & other things too numerous to mention. I am afraid they will get into trouble. I pray God to take care of them & may my dear husband return in safety to his family. The mail brought no news. They are massing the Confederate army near Chattanooga. ‘Tis reported that Gen. Ewell is in East Tenn. with a large force. Burnsides is at Knoxville, that is his headquarters. Things look gloomy indeed.

Tuesday 15th [September 1863]

No news from Mr. Henry today. I wish I knew where he was. I have had the headache all day. I took a nap in the front piazza on the lounge & it feels better now. I had some cider made this evening, ‘tis very nice. Betsey is weaving, gets on slowly as she has it all to scise back as she goes.

Wednesday 16th [September 1863]

No news from Mr. Henry today. They went out through Burnsville. I finished Fannie’s dress today. I did but little at it yesterday. Very dry & needing rain for turnips. They are very scattering. I hope we may yet have rain to make some. No news from Charleston. They still keep fighting.

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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