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Posts Tagged ‘slave labor on fortifications’

February 21, 1863

News last night by mail most interesting from Europe. Mr. Davis’ Message is making a deep impression. Louis Napoleon expected the U S (so says the French press) to reject his offer; his next step will be recognition of the Southern Confederacy. He scarcly expected the “snub” Seward gives him, however, & will, I hope, resent it. River very high & still rising. Father came down in a canoe to see us — quite well & considering the Water in good spirits. Planted all of the Wood’s Seedling Potato I could find left from the unfortunate experiment of summer planting. Sent a few to Mama to get her into the Seed. An attack on Charleston or Savannah considered imminent. We say we are all prepared but Gen Beauregard has issued a call for 3,000 negroes to work on defences, probably the land defences in view of a debarkation & also to defend Wappoo Cut.

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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April 25, 1862

Letter from Patrick at Yanceyville; may be at home tomorrow; has mustered Capt Reinhart’s Co for “Edmondston’s Batalion of Light Horse.”  He goes to Richmond to see the Sec of War, thence home.  Would that I were well to welcome him.

The smoke of Battle has cleared up from the field of Corinth & seems now settled that on Monday we had a splendid Victory equal to Manassas, dimmed only by the loss of Gen A S Johnson; but the enemy during the night being reinforced by Buel snatched its fruits from the grasp of our jaded troops & retook much of their field artillery which we had captured the day before, but we burnt their tents & camp equipage, inflicting a heavy loss on them besides sleeping Sunday night in their encampment.  Monday’s battle was a drawn one, both sides falling back.

Island No 10 was taken by a feat of the most remarkable Engineering skill ever displayed & for which the enemy deserve the greatest credit for their energy & perserverance, being nothing less than the sawing out a passage through a swamp, capable of passing their gun boats around the Island & thus flanking & attacking it on the undefended side.  They took advantage of a swamp called the “Earthquake seam,”  it having been the effect of a supposed Earthquake years ago & now grown up into a thick & impassable swamp.  At high water their boats can readily float but trees, some of them three feet through, fill the whole space.  Nothing daunted, the engineers went to work & sawed a passage three feet under water the whole distance.  The branches interlock, so that it was necessary to use ladders of rope for the men to ascend them & cut off the branches which interfered with their smoke stacks.  The details are so marvelous that, as our Northern brethren are given to lying, we must be excused believing them all.  The fact that they passed is wonderful enough.  Ah! that the Mississippi had fallen to its usual level suddenly & impaled their gun boats upon the snags & stumps they had just sawed off with such labour!  Our men being thus out flanked, spiked their guns, sunk their gunboats, destroyed what of the provisions & ammunition they could & then all who were able made their escape.  Our sick of course were forced to remain & a number who could not get over the River.  The adventures of those who did escape are thrilling!

Bad news from New Orleans.  Two steamers have succeeded in passing the Forts and are on their way to the city.  We have some Iron boats above them however which they will have to pass.  I hope they will give a good account of themselves.

The finding of the Court of Inquiry appointed to investigate the causes of the Roanoke Island disaster is that Maj Gen Huger & the late Sec of War Mr J B Benjamin are to blame for the whole affair.  The situation of the defences were repeatedly represented to them by Gen Wise & Col Shaw.  A deputation of gentlemen from the neighboring Counties waited on the Sec & offered to send their negroes there to complete the fortification but to no purpose.  If their consciences have not already done so, the Court has now planted a thorn in their pillows for them.

The affair at South Mills in Pasquotank County grows in importance.  Col Wright’s Georgia Regt repulsed three Yankee ones under Gen Reno, captured their canon, & the powder they had provided to blow up the Locks of the Canal, besides killing & wounding many.  Our loss slight.

 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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March 13, 1862

Came an order last night for one fourth our men hands to work on entrenchments for Col Leventhorpe’s Regt at Hamilton, he having been ordered back there.  He will know the road well I think!  This victory of the Va will unsettle Burnside’s plans greatly.  Wool & himself were to have made a joint attack on Norfolk, he by land, Wool on Seawell’s point.  Wool’s part is now impossible, but what Burnside will do none can tell.  Perhaps ravage the country!  If so, then God help us. 

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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Rose Hill NC

Thursday morning, Feb the 24th 1862

 Dear Father—

I embrace the present as the earliest opportunity of answering your communications of the 18th inst. which came to hand some days since

This leaves us all in the enjoyment of good health & we trust may find that you have all entirely recovered from Measles and are again the vigorous health. When I last wrote I told you that I had joined a 12 mos. Volunteer Company for home defences. The Company are all in New Berne. It is Comp. A placed on the extreme right of 16th Reg – I have not been with the Comp since it went into barracks  I have been detailed by the authorities for special duty as Physician to the families of Company & Community in which I reside Scarlatina – Measles – Mumps – though somewhat moderated in violence – I am at home and will remain unless New Berne is actually attacked – in that case I shall go down & take a hand in the defence.

Our defences around & about New Berne are pretty extensive and considered by military men to be very good. Since the taking of Roanoke Island Gen. Branch has called for 500 negroes to work on the Fort – which they are now attempting to Bomb Proof – If Burnside will give a few weeks time – we will give him one defeat in Eastern Carolina. Branch is also drawing all the troops from Hyde & that section of his division & concentrating these at New Berne. I received a letter from Hornaday several days since – He is at “Wood Brick Yard” 15 miles below New Berne on the R.R. where the Reg. is in Camp. He says they have nothing but pickled beef to eat & says a little Box – will be very acceptable to him. I will send him one soon – he says that he has written to you long since – but had received no answer last week.

I paid Bishop a month since – & Hornaday said he had paid Mr. Granger all right & would pay Dr. Perkins $8 on his bill, out of $10 I loaned him soon.

The Roanoke Island prisoners have all been Paroled – Col. Jordan of the 34th is at home in New Berne  all the others will be home soon – Col. Jordan says Burnside told him he expects to visit New Berne sometime.

Mr. B.F. Biddle requested me to present to you his kind regards & tell you that you must come down again & spend a longer time & so we all think  Mr. Biddle said you would let him have 2 Barrels of Flour – during March and requested me to ask you to start it soon as convenient – said he did not have the money at present but would sell cotton & get it soon.  I too would like to have a Barrel – of course I have some yet but don’t like to get out & depend on the chance in Town – for since there are so many troops there Flour & c are hard to come at  it is worth $11 now.  If you will send me 5 8 or 10 Barrels including Biddle’s – directed just as you did before – I will send & get it sell it & forward you the amount of sales excepting Freight promptly. I’ve heard nothing from Pescud yet but got hard run for guessing & mustered $3700 & sent & got the Package & Bill Receipted. I am collecting a little money & will send some to Friend Henderson & others first opportunity. I will send to your Caree. Cous. Matt Crutchfield is on a visit to us at present – she will spend a little time with Lizzie –

Lizzie & Matt join me in much love to all the family &c

Affectionately

JM Hadley

 

Source: Hadley Collection, Chatham County Historical Association. 

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February 18, 1862

The negroes ordered out came back bringing word that the military were going away.  Just after came our wagons & team, who have been absent more than week hauling their baggage & camp equipage down.  Nelson is full of them, says they are “valliant men & certainly can shoot.”  They brought letters from Mr E telling me it is doubtful whether or not he can come home on the 19th, our Wedding Day, but he will do his best.

            We learn that Suffolk is to be the point of attack, that Troops are being massed there in large numbers.  They have found out now that Roanoke Island is the “back door to Norfolk.” Would that they had taken better care of the “Key” then, for it would have saved us a world of anxiety & unhappiness, to say nothing of the labour.  All hands hauling away thePlantation supplies.  My arithmetical calculations about the cotton are all over now, however, as the last Bale is gone, some of it in the Factory by this time.  The roads worse than ever and the weather not much better.

            Authentic news of the Fall of Fort Henry and the capture of our forces there.  High Water occasioned it.  Our troops outside could not operate at all & the gun Boats had it all their own way.  They were enabled to steam close up & throw their shells into the fort, where they pleased.  There were no casemates, in fact the so called “Fort” was simply a Redoubt of mud & earth.  No wonder our men could not operate.  This involves the evacuation of Columbus & Bowling Green, Ky toNashville,Tenn., the latter being out Flanked by the possession ofFortHenryby the enemy.  The next point of attack is Donaldson, where we are said to have a strong force under Gens Floyd & Pillow.  Beauregard it is rumoured has been ordered out there.  Our Army on thePotomacwill miss him greatly.  Gen A S Johnston falling back fromBowling GreentoNashville,Tenn.

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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February 17, 1862

Came a requisition for one fourth the able bodied men on the Plantationwith Spades, Axes, grubbing Hoes, & all the large Augers that can be found & one weeks provision.  Prayerfully do I send them, hoping that their labour there may protect us here.  Rain still!  The memory of man runs not back to such combined high water in the River, which is all in their favour & greatly against us, as the current is so rapid & the river so wide that our endeavors to blockade it are almost useless.  Moved the Sal, the Gin, and a Loom.  What shall we do for cotton cards?  They are $8 a pair inHalifax.

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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